When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator? If it’s been a while, why not start today? November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day—right before the holiday season begins, so you can have plenty of space to store a turkey and leftovers!
This can seem like a daunting task but you can do it in five simple steps:
First, remove everything from the refrigerator. You can keep perishables fresh by putting them in a cooler with ice packs while you clean. Toss out old or expired food in the trash. If you are not sure, remember the saying “When in doubt, throw it out!”. You can also check the FoodKeeper app or website. Recycle glass or plastic containers.
PRO TIP (from the ultimate pro): This is also a great time to take inventory in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Next, remove the shelves and drawers. Allow them to warm up to room temperature before washing to prevent breakage. Wash in hot, soapy water and rinse. Allow items to air dry.
Clean the inside of the refrigerator from top to bottom. Use a clean, dry cloth or towel and homemade refrigerator cleaner (see recipe below). Tough spots may need a plastic, non-abrasive scrubber or soak them with a wet cloth. Use an old toothbrush to reach those hard to reach places, like corners, shelf seams, and rubber door seams. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth or towel. Do not forget the interior doors as well. Some of those shelves can be removed for easier cleaning.
Replace the clean shelves and drawers and put the food back into the refrigerator. Be sure to wipe off the outside of the jars and containers to keep everything clean. Use a clean cloth when working with your food jars to prevent contamination and dry them well.
Now that the inside is clean, remember to clean the outside. Starting from the top, wipe down and clean the exterior of the refrigerator with warm, soapy water. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, you will need a soft rag and vinegar or window cleaner to keep the surface shiny.
You should also vacuum the refrigerator coils seasonally (every three months) to keep it running smoothly. Unplug the refrigerator and move it so you can reach the coils at the back of the refrigerator to clean. Use your owner’s manual for assistance if needed. After cleaning, put the refrigerator back in place and plug it back in.
To keep your refrigerator clean, wipe up spills as they occur and throw out food every week. Add an opened box of baking soda in the back of your refrigerator to eliminate odors and keep the refrigerator smelling fresh. And, if you’re already thinking of getting healthy in the new year, now is a great time to restock your refrigerator with healthier options.
Homemade Refrigerator Cleaner Recipe
- 2-tbsp baking soda
- 1-quart warm water
Dissolve baking soda in warm water. Pour into a labeled, spray bottle. Spray and wipe inside and outside surfaces. Apply a baking soda paste on stubborn spots. Rinse with a clean, wet cloth.