Spring feels like the season made for cleaning. But it’s easy to overlook one of the hidden-in-plain-sight areas that often needs help the most: your fridge. Because it’s used all the time, it’s easy to feel like your refrigerator is just destined to be in a perpetual state of semi-yuck. To make things worse, a cluttered, disorganized fridge can result in foodborne illness and tons of wasted food. These tips will help deep clean and then keep your refrigerator clean throughout the season!
The best way to clean your refrigerator is to take everything out of it, one shelf at a time. You can then wipe down the shelves and refrigerator walls (a 3:1 water/vinegar solution works great), and reevaluate what needs to go back in. Check the dates on everything, throw out out-of-date items and anything you don’t use regularly. That thai curry paste you bought for a particular recipe several months ago but haven’t touched since? Either add it to the meal plan or toss it. Clearing out the clutter makes it easier to keep the fridge clean and see what you do have when you open the door.
Foodborne illness is a real issue. Keep your refrigerator temperature set on or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re not sure how well your fridge’s thermostat is working, invest in a fridge thermometer to double-check that it’s staying cold enough. Make sure that all foods are well covered or sealed, and don’t wash fresh produce until you’re ready to use it. Again, double-check every single best-used-by date and toss anything that’s even a little out of date. Keep in mind, too, that items stored in the door tend to get more warm air than items on the shelves or toward the back of your fridge, so store eggs and milk on shelves, not in the door.
Keeping the fridge clean is exponentially easier when it’s organized in a way that makes sense. For many, that means just keeping less in stock so you can see what you have when you open the door. If you’ve been storing potatoes, onions or bananas in the fridge, relocate them elsewhere; they’ll do best in a cool, dark environment. Turn everything else label out, and make it a point to keep leftovers stored in easy-to-access containers, that way they don’t get forgotten and pushed to the back.
Once you’ve deep cleaned your fridge, it won’t be hard to go through it once a week (or whenever you grocery shop) to dispose of unused/out-of-date items and wipe down shelves periodically. Making it a habit to use as much as possible of the food you already have before stocking up on more will also make it easier to keep clutter out and only essential, beneficial foods in.
If you need help doing a deep-clean (of your fridge or anywhere else), contact Chet’s Cleaning, Metro Detroit’s most highly-respected cleaning service, for help!