All month we are sharing Cleaning Tips for spring! Spring cleaning usually involves windows, curtain cleaning and moving furniture, but there are other areas that are often ignored like your spice rack or pantry. Today we are tackling the fridge!
Cleaning the fridge, really deep cleaning it’s more than simply tossing the white Styrofoam containers. Here are our tips for cleaning and reorganizing your fridge.
To get started grab a few cleaning essentials such as dish towels, dish soap, a sponge, paper towels, a trash can, some warm water and an all-purpose cleaner (make a simple solution using a gallon of hot water, 1 cup clear ammonia, ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda).
If you can, pull the fridge out from the wall so you can dust underneath and behind. You can unplug your fridge if you want to save a bit of energy while cleaning; just don’t forget to plug it back in!
Grab your trash can and remove everything! Check expiration dates, and throw anything out that is expired or near expiration (if you don’t think you will use within the date). Put everything you’re keeping on a counter or on the floor so you can organize later.
Now that you have an empty fridge, you can remove the drawers and wash them in your sink or bathtub. If you can remove the door bins, take those out too. Some refrigerators have removable shelves, if so, yep – get ‘em out of there! Spray the interior with your all-purpose cleaner and let sit for a few minutes. For sticky messes, take a dish rag or towel and soak in your cleaner. Put the wet rag on the sticky mess and let sit for a few minutes so it can loosen up to make it easier to clean. Wipe down everything, the walls, shelves, shelf seams (that spilled soda is still lurking here) and the door seal.
Put back the drawers, bins and shelves and you are ready to start organizing! This is also a good time to check the thermostat. Refrigerators should be kept at 40° or lower to prevent bacteria growth. The doors are typically the warmest area in the fridge, so keep perishable items out of this area.
Take a quick inventory of what you have left. How many barbecue sauces do you really need? Combine where you can and wipe down the lids, jars and other items that might be a bit sticky. Upper shelves can be for leftovers, drinks, things that are used often and that can be easily found. Lower shelves can be saved for items you will use in meals throughout the week as well as eggs, and ready-to-eat items. Keep your veggies and meats in the drawers, separate of course if you have two drawers! If they are stacked drawers, use the lower for meat, you don’t want to accidentally contaminate your fresh veggies and fruits. Condiments, sauces, salsa, pickles, etc., can be placed in the door(s). Try to keep like items together so it is easy to find and grab what you need. Feel free to add fridge organizers if you want, most stores have lots of space-saving storage items for soda and more! Have you ever considered putting a small lazy-susan in your fridge? It is great for small items like yogurt for quick grab-n-go in the morning!
Now that you are re-stocked, plug it back in (if you unplugged when starting), push it back in place and wipe down the exterior. Depending on your fridge surface, use the correct cleaner. For a stainless surface, use a special stainless cleaner, wiping in the same direction of the grain. An all-purpose cleaner can be used on enameled steel surfaces.
And now you’re done, set back and admire your sparkling clean fridge! The best way to keep it clean is on a weekly basis, throw out old food and check for expired food, and clean up spills immediately before they get sticky and hard to clean. What tried and tips do you have for a clean and organized fridge?