Cleaning the refrigerator is one of those jobs that all too often gets pushed way down on the list of household chores. After all, with the door closed no one will notice that it’s been awhile since the last cleaning. But really, if you stop to consider the purpose of your refrigerator, it’s clear that this should be one of the cleanest parts of any home. Anything that stores food for your family’s meals needs to be spic and span! Keeping the fridge sanitary is easy if you follow a regular cleaning routine.
There are a few things you should be doing every day, every time you open the fridge.
-Wipe up spills right away, as soon as you see them. This will save you a lot of scrubbing down the road!
-Everything that goes into the fridge should be covered or sealed. Leftovers should be labeled with the date you prepared the food, it’s not OCD; it’s food safety for the entire family!
-Throw away anything that is obviously spoiled. Anything that you reach for that has changed color, texture or that smells funny should get tossed right away. You don’t want it anywhere near the good food that you have in your fridge!
Once a week you are going to want to give your fridge a little extra TLC, it only takes a few minutes! First check the contents and toss anything that is spoiled or past it’s expiration date. It’s easiest to clean your fridge when it’s emptier, so make a habit of cleaning it right before you go grocery shopping. You can give a the fridge a quick weekly wipe-down too, just use a damp cloth and wipe down the shelves, faces of the drawers and the interior walls of the fridge. You don’t want to use any product with a fragrance because that can get into your food, even changing the taste! Make sure you clean the exterior doors too, the handle especially can be a germ magnet! If your fridge exterior is stainless steel use a stainless steel cleaner and a soft cloth, otherwise a bit of dishsoap in a quart of hot water will do the job nicely. Once a month you can clean the seals on the door with that same dishsoap mixture and an old soft-bristled toothbrush.
The Deep Clean
A couple times a year your fridge should get a thorough deep cleaning. You will want to remove all the food and unplug the fridge. You can put the food into a cooler while you clean. Remove all of the shelves and drawers and let them come to room temperature before you wash them. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of hot water and use a soft scrubber sponge to wash the entire interior of the fridge along with the shelves and drawers. Dry all of the surfaces with a clean towel before replacing the food and plugging the fridge back in.
Dealing with Odors
If your fridge is clean but has a bad odor you can’t seem to get rid of baking soda is the traditional fix. Rather than use a bowl or a dish it’s better to use a plate or even a cookie sheet so that the baking soda can absorb the odor more efficiently. You might also try a plate of coffee grounds or even kitty litter for tough smells!