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so I know they have antibacterial solution to clean, but what can I say its expensive. Currently we use water+soap solution but its not working well. I am looking to clean the inside of fridge/freezer.

Update from comments: I'm looking to mainly clean, mold around the rubbers of the fridge.

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Um... Bleach will kill pretty much anything if you're looking to disinfect. Or were you more interested in removing buildup/spills? –  Adele C Apr 7 '13 at 16:36
    
I think diluted bleach is actually cheaper than soap... –  Aaronut Apr 8 '13 at 0:41
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Of course, cleaning and sanitizing are different activities.... soap is good for cleaning, bleach solution for sanitizing. –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 8 '13 at 0:44
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I'm looking to mainly clean, mold around the rubbers of the fridge –  Pandastew Apr 8 '13 at 1:16
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If the issue is the gasket area, the fact that the fridge is stainless steel might be a red herring (not necessary / distract people into giving the wrong answer) –  Joe Apr 8 '13 at 10:30
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5 Answers 5

If this is a commercial institution, you are going to have to comply with your local codes. Many will require using a certified sanitizing solution, a diluted bleach solution, or similar after cleaning.

In particular in the US, I was unable to find any direct requirements in the USDA Model Food Code, and I don't recall any from 25 years ago when I received health inspector training in one jurisdiction. That doesn't mean there are not such requirements in any given location, even if in the US.

Assuming your location permits, normally you would clean the refrigerator with a mild solution of dish soap, as you have been doing. With thick gloves, very hot water will help make the cleaning more effective. Floors, walls, and so on in a walk in would be cleaned with a solution of your general purpose detergent (back when I was in commercial service, we actually used unscented Tide, which is a very effective cleaner).

If it is possible to empty the refrigerator and turn it off for cleaning (which is not always practical in commercial environments), this doing a thorough job, and makes it easier to clean with hot water.

Update regarding moldy gaskets:

Per JES Restaurant Equipment (emphasis added):

Upon visual inspection you may find that mold or mildew is building up on the gasket which is pretty gross and bad for the gasket. The mold and mildew may seam harmless but over time it will deteriorate the gasket, basically the mold and mildew will eat away at the seal. You can combat this with a simple bleach and water solution, dilute a little Clorox in some water and use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the solution to the moldy gasket. You will notice it start to fade away, once you have cleaned the gasket thoroughly discard the “bleach water”, get some clean water and a fresh clothe and wipe the gasket down again to remove any remaining mildew and bleach solution.

In addition to being unsightly, mold on your refrigerator is almost certainly a code violation that could have drastic consequences.

Your gaskets are also probably fully replaceable, but since you are concerned with cost, this may not be your preferred option. Still, if you can, temporarily removing the gasket may facilitate cleaning it thoroughly.

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HVAC/R tech here, who does a lot of hot and cold side restaurant work.If you are trying to clean mold/mildew from around the gaskets, what I have always used is about a 10% bleach/90% water solution and a scrub brush (not metal bristles). Just spray it down, scrub it away and then rinse with clean water before sanitizing. Commercial gaskets are pressed into place, not glued, so there is not a big danger of messing the gaskets up.

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You need to check your local regs. Moldy gaskets in a restaurant fridge unit can be catastrophic. If they are press-ins, strip them off, clean the stainless with a brush and hot water and detergent followed by wipedown with rubbing alcohol, then potassium sorbate in solution. Wash/scrub the gaskets in hot water and detergent with a rinse in a peroxide bleach followed by potassium sorbate; dry, and refit.

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Another method of cleaning a commercial fridge is to use a bicarbonate solution (5g baking soda/1l water). It's effective at killing germs and it doesn't stain. It will leave a white residue if you do not rinse with water afterwards.

As others have suggested, you can take the gasket out and clean that in a sanitize solution as described here, one teaspoon of bleach per gallon (3.78l) of water.

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Is sodium bicarbonate effective on the mold? While it was not initially clear, this is the core of the question. –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 9 '13 at 23:25
    
I guess so... see this FAQ of a commercial product. –  BaffledCook Apr 10 '13 at 9:27
    
I am not sure that the pH change from such a dilute solution will be enough to kill germs, do you have a source for this? –  rumtscho Apr 12 '13 at 12:30
    
@rumtscho. I had... I'll try to find it. Anyhow, it's a base, and that's all the difference. –  BaffledCook Apr 12 '13 at 17:01
    
@rumtscho. I'm not a scientist, but here are some experimental results. I think it means that 0,5% does have an effect. –  BaffledCook Apr 12 '13 at 17:27
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From the site http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Refrigerator

Wipe the refrigerator inside and outside with a cloth and vinegar and water or baking soda and water solution, rinsing well with a washcloth rinsed clear with water. Soapy water works, too. Clean rubber door closure area too.

Also, from http://housekeeping.about.com/od/ideasbysurface/qt/stainsteeldonts.htm

  • Do not use abrasive cleaners that will scratch the surface.
  • Do not use cleaners containing chlorine. Stay away from the bleach when you clean stainless steel......

Try using weak - ammonia solution: http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Stainless-Steel

This might help: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081212151544AA8OmEB It says about the finish on stainless steel and how to get rid of specific stains.

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I cleaned up your answer a little - be sure to look at the preview while you're writing and editing, and make sure the formatting all actually looks okay before you post. Also, while I think a decent amount of this is good advice, have you tried any of it, or is this just everything you found on Google? Some of these things are probably more effective than others. –  Jefromi Apr 8 '13 at 21:28
    
We use ammonia solution at home and had heard the no bleach advice. so i thought of giving links to those... –  Shaima Apr 9 '13 at 8:08
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