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Fresh Fridge, Fresh Start

by Cindy

The Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning your Refrigerator

No matter how on top of life you are, everyone’s refrigerator can use a deep Spring clean. No matter how often you wipe down those shelves, the constant rotations of foods and items can cause bacteria to collect quickly, and if your appliance is set above the target temperature of between 32 and 38°F, your shelves can double as a breeding ground for bacteria. Spring is the season of fresh starts, so give your refrigerator the love it deserves this Spring and allow her new life to begin!

First, after unplugging your fridge, you’ll want to empty it. Sort through everything inside and toss anything that is expired or that you know you simply won’t use — I’m looking at you, two-year-old soy sauce that technically won’t go bad for another year, but you haven’t touched in 18 months. Keep everything you’d like to return to the fridge in coolers. Meat should be kept separately from the other food items to avid cross contamination.

Then, remove all the pieces of the refrigerator that you can. Take out the shelves and the drawers. Fill your sink with hot soapy water and let the items soak if need be. While they’re drying, move on to wiping down the interior of the fridge. The best choice of cloth for this type of cleaning is a microfiber cloth. The cloth is absorbent and leaves your surfaces clean and streak-free. Check out our favorite from RSVP International here. They’re only $3 and they’ll take your fridge beyond sparkling! Dip the cloth in the soapy water and go to town. Wide down from the top to the bottom, and work from the left to the right. You’ll want to continuously rinse out your cloth while doing this to avoid smudging bacteria and nasty-ness around. Then move onto the doors and do the same. If you have a particularly difficult spot, consider adding some baking soda to the cloth which will act as an abrasive surface. It won’t be rough enough to scratch or alter your appliance in anyway, but it will help to get those stuck-on gunk spots up. Always go back over spots where you used baking soda with water to rinse all the small traces of the soda away. Then, with another microfiber cloth, wipe your entire appliance dry.

Now you’re ready to take on the exterior! Clean the hinges and the gasket with a scrub brush. (RSVP International also has great products for this purpose which you can check out here.) Lift the seals on the doors with your fingers and clean underneath and around them to ensure that you are getting the most thorough clean possible. Rinse and wipe dry.

The outside face of the refrigerator can be cleaned with all-purpose sprays and your trusty microfiber cloth. Begin at the top of the fridge and clean in downwards motions. Don’t forget around and behind the handles, or the sides/back/top of the appliance. Before you push the refrigerator back into its corner, take the time to vacuum and dust the floors and walls around it. It collects quickly, and takes two minutes to do a thorough job!

Now, once everything is dry, begin to put the shelves/drawers/bins/etc. back inside the fridge. Consider lining the shelves and things with liners (or even paper towels) in order to make future cleanups easier and quicker.

If you’re interested in the “proper” way to organize your fridge in order to maximize food freshness and use the refrigerators fluctuation in temperatures to your advantage, follow a few of the following tips. Dairy goes in the back of the bottom shelves. This is where temperatures are coldest and receive the fewest changes. Meat should also be placed on the bottom, but away from the dairy and separately packaged in order to avoid contamination. The upper shelves should be reserved for things that are “quick use” items. Left overs, hummus, etc.; anything that is easy to grab and eat should be kept at home here. Your crisper drawers should be separated by fruits and vegetables. Vegetables require higher humidity and fruits require lower, so set the levers accordingly and enjoy how long your produce lasts. Finally, the drawers should be home to condiments, jams, and other things that do not spoil easily. Milk, yoghurt, and eggs should not be placed here as the temperature fluctuations make good foods turn bad quickly.

Before you re-home all your food again, however, you’ll want to give the refrigerator an hour to cool back down before putting anything back in. You want to wipe down each item as you place it back in your newly cleaned fridge in order to hopefully elongate the period of time when your fridge looks pristine!

Now your refrigerator is returned to the glory it once knew, any smells should be resolved, and you know the foods you are housing are up to date and ready for use!

Happy Spring from the team at Anschutz Public Relations!

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