When is the last time you cleaned out your fridge? And I am not just talking about throwing out expired items, which some of you probably haven’t done recently, either. I am talking a bucket filled with warm soapy water, a towel, and some disinfectant spray.
November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!
This “national” holiday comes at the perfect time with Thanksgiving and Christmas creeping right around the corner. You will need all the room in your fridge for those turkey day leftovers. I personally love a clean fridge and make it a point to clean ours out every couple of months. Some people dread the task but if you take it step-by-step you might find it is not as bad as you thought.
Throw Out Expired or Moldy Food
Start with removing all of your food from the fridge. As you take each item out, check the date. If it is expired, toss it. If it has mold on it, toss it. Not sure if what you see is mold? Toss it, just in case. If it is close to expiring ask yourself if you are really going to use it before the expiration date. Is the answer no? Toss it. Is the item open and how long has it been that way? If it has been months, you should probably throw it away. Better safe than sorry! Anything that doesn’t get thrown out I always put into a cooler so it doesn’t lose temperature sitting on the counter while I work my way through the cleaning stage.
Remove the Shelves and Drawers & Clean Them!
Once all the food is cleared out you can break down the fridge. Remove all the shelves and drawers from the inside fo the fridge. Cleaning the shelves and drawers is much easier to do when they are out of the fridge. Wipe down both the bottom and top and ensure to get the sides that you don’t normally see. Make sure to allow them to dry completely before replacing them.
Wipe Down Everything
When I say everything I literally mean everything. I start by vacuuming out any crumbs that have been hidden under the drawers for who knows how long. I then wipe down and disinfect every surface inside the fridge (i.e. walls, ceiling, bottom, doors) including the door seals. If there are any shelves that were not able to be removed from the fridge, make sure to clean those as well.
Put Everything Back – But Wipe It Down As You Do!
There is nothing worse than grabbing something from the fridge, like a jar of jelly, and realizing that it is completely sticky on the outside. So, as you are putting everything back into your fridge, give it a good wipe down. Not only will it cut down on germs from the many hands that have touched the item but it will also ensure to remove any leftover spillage from previous uses.
If you use soda racks or any other storage within your fridge, wipe those down before putting them back as well.
Restock and Enjoy Your Nice Clean Fridge!
You likely have far less food inside your fridge than you did when you started this project so head to the store to restock! Organize your fridge with like items together so that they are easy to find when you need them.
Tips for Keeping Your Fridge Clean
- Spill something? Clean it up immediately.
- Check expiration date’s weekly. I typically do our grocery shopping on Sundays so I check expiration dates before I head out to the store.
- Get rid of leftovers after three or four days.
A Little History on National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!
After some googling, it appears that National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day was created in 1999 by the people at Whirlpool Home Appliances. At the time they had a toll-free hotline that people could call for cleaning tips. The more you know!