The One Part of Your Fridge You Really Need to Clean (and How to Do It)

published Jan 14, 2023
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Someone looking inside refrigerator.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When it comes to cleaning the fridge, most of us tend to focus on the stuff we can see — namely the outside doors and the inside shelves and drawers. But when was the last time you took a good look at the parts you can’t see? In particular, when was the last time you cleaned your fridge’s drip pan?

What Is a Fridge Drip Pan (and Why Should You Clean It)?

This tray sits at the bottom of your fridge and collects condensation from the defrost drain. Usually, water in the drip pan evaporates on its own without causing any problems. But like any other appliance, if it’s not working properly, it may start to collect water. Over time, that moisture could lead to potentially harmful (and stinky) bacteria or mold, or leak and cause serious damage to your floor — which is why it’s a good idea to periodically check on and thoroughly clean your fridge drip pan.

Even if there’s no major problem with the tray, it’s still a good idea to clean your drip tray every now and then — probably every two or three months. Here’s how to do it.

Tips for Cleaning Your Fridge Drip Pan

Every refrigerator is different, so we recommend consulting your appliance manual to figure out how to remove, clean, and replace your drip tray. As a general rule, they live at the bottom of your fridge, so you should see it when you pull out the panel on the bottom of your refrigerator. 

After removing the drip pan, empty out any standing water in the sink. Then scrub it out with dish soap and hot water to clean any mineral deposits that may have accumulated. If the tray smells or you want to disinfect it, your best bet is to use a diluted bleach solution, (As a reminder, always use gloves when you’re cleaning with bleach, and never mix it with other chemicals.)

Allow the pan to fully dry before replacing it in the bottom of your fridge — and rest assured that at least one unseen part of your kitchen is squeaky clean!