How to Clean Rusty Refrigerator Racks

Daniel Potter

Moisture created within a typical refrigerator can cause copious amounts of rust to form on metal racks. These racks come in direct contact with food and beverages and should be cleaned often. A clean and rust-free refrigerator will help deter unwanted and unsanitary growth of bacteria.

Refrigerator racks should be cleaned every three months. Rust can be effectively removed from the racks with a commercial cleanser and a solid scrub brush in less than 15 minutes.


To protect hands and fingernails, wear latex dish gloves while cleaning.


Use either Bar Keepers Friend or the C.L.R. product. Do not use both products together.


  1. Remove racks from the refrigerator and soak them in warm water for five minutes. Ideally, place the large racks in the bathtub where they can be easily cleaned and rinsed.

  2. Scrub off any food remnants with an abrasive sponge. Scrub both sides of each rack, and rinse well.

  3. Apply the cleanser to the wire racks, using the amount recommended on the package. Spread the cleanser over the entire surface of the racks with the abrasive sponge. Let the racks sit in the cleanser for five minutes.

  4. Scrub the racks vigorously with a moistened scrub brush. Attempt to remove all rust from the top and bottom of the racks.

  5. Rinse the racks with clean, cool water to remove all traces of the rust cleaner.

  6. Dry the racks with a towel and allow to air dry for 30 minutes. Place the racks back into a clean refrigerator.