November 28, 2014

Cool refrigerator makeover tips

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Cool refrigerator makeover tips.
Cool refrigerator makeover tips.

Treat your refrigerator to a makeover that will leave it fresh-smelling and super clean. Not only will people be impressed by your clean and well-organized refrigerator, you’ll enjoy safe food and beverages year-round.

Here's advice on getting rid of fridge odors, cleaning the inside and outside, keeping clear space around it and more.

Create a fresh-smelling refrigerator 

If a cloud of stench engulfs you when you open your refrigerator door—or worse, when you walk past the closed refrigerator—it’s time to take action.

  • Every two weeks, take an inventory of food in your fridge and throw out everything that’s beyond edible.

  • Adequately seal foods to prevent odors from filling the refrigerator. Use ziplock plastic bags to seal the really smelly stuff like onions. Seal pungent foods like spaghetti in glass or plastic containers with a tight lid.

  • If the box of baking soda you put in the fridge isn’t trapping food odors that escape from their containers, try a  refrigerator deodorizer. It’s 50 times more powerful than baking soda, according to the manufacturer.

  • Ice in the freezer absorbs odor from the food in the refrigerator. Throw out old ice monthly and allow your ice maker to produce a fresh batch of clean ice.

  • If your refrigerator has an air filter, replace it as needed to help eliminate odors. While you’re at it, use our  water filter finder and treat your refrigerator to a new one if yours has expired.

  • Place a few sprigs of lavender flowers inside the refrigerator to provide a whiff of pleasant scent as you open the refrigerator door.  Vary the scents that you add to keep people guessing.

Clean up your not-so-secret dirt inside the fridge

You open the refrigerator door, take out what you want, think “man, I need to clean the fridge,” close the door, and immediately forget that the shelves have more splotches than a Jackson Pollock painting. Clean it now, before you forget. Again.

  1. Wipe the shelves with a solution of water and a mild detergent. Dry the shelves completely and use a cloth to polish glass shelves for an impressive shine.

  2. Remove the drawers and wash them thoroughly in sudsy water, using a mild detergent. Dry the drawers and put them back in the refrigerator.

  3. Wipe the bottom, top and sides of the inside walls of the refrigerator to clean off spills and splatters.

Give your refrigerator exterior a face lift 

Dirt and grease can penetrate the cloak of magnets and notes that cover your fridge. Take them all off and clean the outside when you see that fuzzy coat of dust forming.

  • For a refrigerator with a textured paint finish, wipe the exterior with a mild detergent solution. Dry the refrigerator's exterior and polish it with a soft cloth.  

  • For stainless steel refrigerators, use stainless-steel polish or wipes to spiff up the doors and sides.

  • Clean the handles and the water dispenser thoroughly.

  • For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive kitchen cleansing powder such as Bon Ami or Barkeepers Friend. First test the cleanser on an obscure spot to see if it damages the finish.

Help your refrigerator breathe better

Your refrigerator has to be able to give off heat to keep your food cold. Run through these tips twice a year to help it work efficiently.

  • Remove the baskets, catalogs and what-have-you from the top of the refrigerator and dust the top—a long-handled duster is handy. Find someplace else to put the things that were stored on top, because they decrease the refrigerator’s cooling efficiency.

  • Rejuvenate the cooling components to keep your refrigerator operating efficiently.Clean the condenser coils and bottom front grill of the refrigerator to increase air flow under the refrigerator.

  • Pull the refrigerator out and dust the back panel to maximize cooling air flow through the machine compartment.

  • While you have the refrigerator pulled out, vacuum and mop the floor under it.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

May 23, 2016

Diagnosing refrigerator thermistor problems video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

If your refrigerator isn't cooling at the right temperature, the problem could be the thermistor. Here's how to check.

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How to purge air from a refrigerator water dispenser video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Follow the steps in this video to remove air from the water line connected to your refrigerator's water dispenser so the water dispenses smoothly.

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Troubleshooting an Er If error code on a refrigerator video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to fix your refrigerator if it's displaying an Er If error code.