July 27, 2022
Deep Cleaning Your Fridge
When you have finally given your kitchen the deep cleaning it deserves and every surface, cabinet and drawer is sparkling clean, there is one area that has most likely slipped under your radar — the refrigerator.
With half-eaten leftovers, old produce and suspicious food stains, your fridge can quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. That’s why it’s important to organize your kitchen and deep clean your fridges and freezers as well.
This guide to organizing your fridge and freezer will help you clean your refrigerator with ease and efficiency so that you can tackle this chore with confidence.
Clear Out What You Don’t Need
Grab a trash bag and get ready for a major overhaul! The first step to giving your refrigerator a decent cleaning is throwing away everything that you don’t want or need.
Start by clearing some counter space and emptying the kitchen sink so you have a place to soak any containers. Then, throw away any expired or unsightly food sitting in your fridge. Put everything that you want to keep on the counter while you finish clearing out the space.
Remember to check the expiration date on all of your food items, including your condiments. Sauces and dressings that have gone bad are harder to spot than fresh produce because of their colored containers and small printed labels.
If you can’t remember the last time you used a condiment or if you don’t have plans to use it again, you may be better off tossing it to make more room in your fridge.
Remove all of the shelving, drawers and racks to wash later. People often skip this step because it requires extra time and elbow grease. But just like every other surface in your home, the refrigerator shelves and attachments need to be wiped down and disinfected.
Repeat the same process when cleaning the freezer section of your unit once you’ve finished cleaning and organizing your fridge.
Clean Your Fridge Shelves
Now that you’ve emptied your refrigerator, you can move on to cleaning fridge shelves and drawers.
Start by soaking your shelves, racks and drawers in hot soapy water. If your shelves or drawers are made of glass, do not place them directly in hot water or the glass could crack. Instead, place the units in the sink and run your faucet with room temperature water to fill it up, slowly increasing the temperature until you have a steamy, soapy mixture.
Some shelves only need to be wiped down, while others will require some hard scrubbing. If your racks have hard food stains or sticky residue that won’t come off with hot water, use steel wool, a hard sponge or a toothbrush to lift the food splatters from the surface. Finish by using a lint-free cloth to dry the shelves and drawers.
Clean the Surfaces Inside
Now it’s time to scrub the inside of your fridge, including the fixed shelves, walls and door.
It’s not enough to toss out old food and clean your refrigerator shelves. Many of the surfaces inside your fridge and freezer are layered with germs and bacteria, even if you can’t see them. In fact, you may find that foul odors coming from your unit are set in the lining of the walls and bottom of the unit.
The best way to clean your refrigerator is to fill a bucket with hot water and dish soap. Use a sponge to clean the surfaces and a microfiber cloth to wipe them dry. To deodorize and scrub away caked-on food, make a solution using hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda.
Spread the paste onto the food debris and scrub with a small cleaning brush or hard sponge. Don’t forget to clean the inside of the refrigerator door as well.
Repeat this process with your freezer and the exterior of the refrigerator unit. Keep in mind that stainless steel surfaces should only be cleaned with soft cloths and soapy water or stainless steel cleanser.
Organize Your Food
Who doesn’t love an organized fridge? Taking the time to set everything in its place while using dividers, baskets, liners and drink dispensers will optimize your fridge space and preserve your food longer.
Line the shelves of your fridge: Fridge liners protect your food and shelves from leaks and spills. Adding liners will also make cleaning much faster in the future. It is easier to remove and wipe down liners than it is to take out the racks and shelves.
Label your containers: Labels and clear containers make everything instantly look neat and tidy. However, you can add another level of efficiency by labeling your food with the date that you bought it. This will allow you to monitor the freshness of your produce and other items that aren’t stamped with an expiration date.
Clean your food first: Before you replace the food in your fridge, take a few minutes to clean your produce and containers first. The lids to dressings, syrups and sauces most likely need to be wiped clean with a hot cloth. And your fruits and vegetables can be soaked in a solution of salt, water and vinegar before being placed in your fridge.
Everything in Its Place
Most people store their food according to how quickly they plan on using it, letting convenience and practicality dictate their organization. However, to completely improve the appearance and functionality of your fridge, you need to follow our systematic placement guide.
Top and middle shelves: This is where you store medication, leftovers and food that is ready to eat.
Bottom shelf: The bottom shelf of your fridge is where your dairy and meat products should go. The temperature and size of this shelf are perfect for preserving raw meat without risking contamination of other food.
Shallow meat drawer: This drawer is meant for preserved meat, cold cuts and cheeses.
High humidity drawer: The humidity controls along the side of your storage doors play a key role in how long your produce will last. Vegetables, such as peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, corn and carrots require higher levels of humidity.
Low humidity drawer: To keep your fruits fresh for a longer time, store them at low humidity. Every fruit from bananas and plantains to grapes and kiwi can be preserved for weeks at a time if stored correctly.
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