From the editors of Real Simple magazine
Minutes 1 to 3: Unplug the refrigerator. Put on rubber gloves. Empty the ice from the freezer trays into a large cooler. Scrub the trays with water, liquid soap and a sponge. Set aside to dry.
Minutes 4 to 7: Unload the freezer. Ditch anything that has expired or is freezer-burned and covered in ice crystals. Put the rest in the cooler.
Minutes 8 to 11: Remove the drawers and detachable shelves and place them in the sink. Scrub them well with soap, water and a sponge. Set aside to dry.
NOTE: Most freezers defrost every 8 to 12 hours. If yours has more than a half-inch of ice on the base or walls, manually defrost it. Before proceeding to the next step, dip a rag in rubbing alcohol, then cover the ice. Chip away frost with a plastic spatula.
Minutes 12 to 13: In a spray bottle, make a cleaner from 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon dish soap. Shake to blend.
Minutes 14 to 17: Douse the interior with the cleaner. Wipe down the walls and shelves with paper towels.
Minutes 18 to 20: Plug the unit back in. Hang or place an odor fighter in the back. Return the shelves and food.