How To (Really, Really) Clean Your Refrigerator

How to Clean Your Refrigerator

Spring is happening, and we’re spending a lot of time cleaning up in the kitchen right now. We’re even trying to find the best way to clean the refrigerator–which should really be done more than once a year. Having a clean refrigerator is not only vital to your health and that of your family, but it is also a way of saving money.  Knowing what foods are on hand at all times also prevents you from purchasing them again when not needed–and frees up time when creating your next meal.  Following these steps and tips to keep your own refrigerator in tip-top shape all year long…  [photo via flickr]

Gather Necessary Supplies 

In order to tackle the job of cleaning a refrigerator properly, it’s important to have all the supplies needed at your fingertips before diving into the task.

  • Trash bag
  • Paper towels, cleaning rags, sponge and scouring pad
  • Cleaning solution – Warm water with dish soap in a spray bottle will work perfectly for most spills.  Do not use hot water for this task, as the hot water hitting a cold glass shelf can damage the shelf and potentially injure you.  If there are issues of mold, a mild bleach solution may be used.  Just be sure to keep the more harsh chemicals away from your food.
Clear Out Old or Spoiled Food

The first step to having a clean refrigerator is to clear out all food that is old or has already spoiled.  Go through every corner and drawer, looking for these culprits.  Check the dates on foods, do a visual check for spoilage and even a sniff test, if necessary.  If there are leftovers which are still good, see if they can be downsized into a smaller container.  This will open more space in your refrigerator, which allows fewer items to get lost behind larger ones.  Do this as often as necessary.

Remove Food from Shelves and Drawers

Removal can be done all at once or a section at a time.  Start from the top and move down.  This is necessary to address hidden spills.

Apply Cleaning Solution

Spray the cleaning solution and wipe down all the surfaces inside.  If necessary, take out the shelves or drawers to wash them directly in the sink or use a scouring pad.  Remember to not use hot water on them in order to avoid damage and injury.  Dry the surfaces of all liquid before moving on.

Replace Food and Organize

Take this time to reorganize the refrigerator as you place the food back into it.  Inspect every bottle and container for sticky rings on the bottom of them before placing them back into the newly cleaned refrigerator.