In the thrilling adventure that is adulting, there are few tasks as awe-inspiring as cleaning out your fridge. It’s like embarking on a journey into the unknown, where you’ll discover uncharted territories, strange creatures, and, if you’re lucky, a few edible relics from the past.
Unfortunately, cleaning out your refrigerator is an important task to keep your food fresh, your fridge running efficiently, and your kitchen hygienic. And what better time to do it than on November 15, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Here are some tips on how to reclaim your fridge’s glory!
Gather your supplies:
- Hot, soapy water (CDC recommendations)
- Make a solution of 1 Tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water (to sanitize surfaces – this step is optional)
- Baking soda (for stubborn stains)
- Soft cleaning cloths or sponges
- Trash bags or compost bin
- Towels for drying
- A new box of baking soda for odor control (The ARM & HAMMER™ Fridge-n-Freezer™ Odor Absorber works well because it is spill-proof.)
Empty the fridge (AKA: Operation Dig Deep)
You may need a strong stomach and a curious nose for this step of your journey!
- Start by taking out all the food and condiments.
- Wipe food and drink containers with hot, soapy water, then thoroughly dry them.
- Place perishable items in a cooler with ice packs to keep them cold while you clean. (If you don’t have a cooler, do not leave these items out of the fridge for more than two hours.)
- Check expiration dates and discard anything that is past its prime or has gone bad.
- Discard the box of baking soda if you were using one to absorb odors.
- Remove and wash removable parts (like shelves and drawers) with hot, soapy water in the sink. (Let the cold glass shelves or drawers come down to room temperature first.)
Clean the interior:
- Use a soft cloth or sponge and your hot, soapy water to wipe down the interior of the fridge, including the walls and door.
- For stubborn stains, make a paste using baking soda and water and gently scrub the area.
- Clean the seals and gaskets: Gently clean the rubber seals around the fridge doors using hot soapy water and a soft cloth. Make sure to remove any debris or crumbs that may be stuck in the seals.
- Sanitize the interior with the bleach solution (this step is optional).
- Dry everything with a clean towel.
Reorganize and Maintain:
- Dry and replace removable parts (make sure they are totally dry).
- Put in your new box of baking soda to help absorb odors.
- As you put food back in the fridge, organize it properly. Keep raw meats separate from other items, and group like items together.
- Use airtight containers or resealable bags to help keep food fresh and prevent odors from spreading. Don’t forget to label items and put dates on them!
- Keep an eye on expiration dates and rotate items so that older products are used first.
- Schedule regular cleaning sessions to prevent a major cleanup. A quick wipe down and organization every few weeks can go a long way in maintaining a clean fridge.
Congratulations! The expedition is finally over. With your fridge cleaned and organized, it’s time for the grand finale – the victory dance. Happy cleaning!