How to Remove Refrigerator Rust

Refrigerators can become an unsightly mess at times. Some people neglect to keep them cleaned out of old food and leftovers, but they can also get rust streaks running down the inside of them. This is due to natural moisture and condensation that builds up when the door is opened and closed, allowing different air temperatures to be trapped inside. Some refrigerators have metal shelves that can cause this problem as well. It really is easy to remove, with just a few household products and some good old fashioned elbow grease.

Remove all of the food from the refrigerator interior. You can store it in a cooler while the fridge is being cleaned, to avoid any spoilage. Throw out anything that is old or outdated as you remove it.

Remove all of the shelves and drawers and set them aside for cleaning later. If they are metal, check them to make sure that none of the coating has come off, causing them to rust. Buy new ones if necessary to help prevent the rust marks' recurrence.

Fill a basin or small container full of hot water and add your favorite antibacterial dish liquid. This needs to be a portable container that can sit on the floor by the fridge or inside it, on the bottom level. Use rubber gloves, if your hands are sensitive.

Sprinkle a small pile of your favorite borax laundry booster product right onto the bottom of the inside compartment. Set your basin of hot water beside it. Dip the scouring pad in the water then into the pile of laundry booster powder to create a paste on the pad. Scrub on the rust spots until they are removed.

Wipe the interior down with the hot soapy water as you work. When you are satisfied that the rust stains are gone, change the hot soapy water to plain hot water. Add about 1/4 cup of baking soda to that water, depending on how big your container is, and wipe the interior down once more. Dry the fridge out thoroughly.

Clean and replace all of the shelving units, and any food you saved. Your fridge is now sparkling clean and odor free all at the same time.


  • Be sure all food has cooled before putting it in the fridge to help with condensation.
  • Don't hold the fridge door open longer than necessary.

About the Author

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.