All you wanted was a quick snack, but now you can’t avoid it – something stinks in your refrigerator. Like, really stinks. If you’re not the only person who uses the fridge, you could avoid it, and hope that someone else takes responsibility. Unless you live alone, in which case, it’s all on you to clean it up! The refrigerator is one of the hardest working appliances in your home – and one that often takes a serious beating. It's subject to varied odors, overcrowding, lots of spills, and it's the one appliance that never gets a rest. But for some reason, it’s often the most neglected appliance when it comes to cleaning. Think about it, when was the last time you really cleaned your refrigerator?
Most of us are still spending more time at home due to the pandemic, and many are donning chef hats (and sweatpants) rather than ordering takeout, buying more ingredients, and cooking more than ever. With all this extra activity, your fridge needs more love now than it’s ever needed before. If you’ve ever watched Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you’re probably already on the ball about keeping your refrigerator immaculate. But, if you’re in need of some fridge cleaning motivation (without one of Ramsay’s legendary insults,) here are tips to make fridge clean up easy, and a few reasons as to why cleaning out your refrigerator should be a practice that you incorporate into your regular cleaning routine.
A Clean Fridge is a Safe Fridge
A well maintained refrigerator will prevent you from getting sick. Food poisoning is real – and if you’ve experienced it, you know that you never want it to happen again. Here are a few things you should be doing every day to keep your fridge in tip-top shape:
- Wipe up spills immediately, before they have a chance to dry or get sticky. First, take any food items off the messy shelf and put them into the kitchen sink so you can rinse them off. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe up the mess in the fridge, and then spray with Vital Oxide to kill 99.9% germs and banish any odors. Vital Oxide is safe to use on food preparation surfaces, including the fridge, without rinsing as certified by the NSF. After washing and drying off the stuff that got wet or sticky from the spill, put them back into the clean fridge.
- Make sure everything that goes into your fridge is sealed properly and doesn’t have any leakage; wipe off rims of ketchup bottles, salad dressing containers, and jelly jars before storing them.
- To cut down on food waste and spoilage, store your fresh produce in the fridge properly as soon as you bring it home from the supermarket. Some things you can do include: storing fresh salad greens in a paper-towel lined food storage container, keeping berries in a container that allows airflow to keep moisture down, and storing mushrooms in a brown paper bag.
- Place anything likely to leak, such as wrapped meat, poultry, or seafood, on a rimmed plate.
- Clean and disinfect fridge handles every day. Think about how often your fridge gets opened during the day. If you have kids, that number is probably pretty high! Refrigerator handles can be germ magnets, and should be disinfected daily, along with other high-touch surfaces in your home. It’s easy. First wipe the handles with a damp cloth to remove any sticky finger prints, food remnants, and grease, then spray with Vital Oxide and walk away.
- Check for spoilage and throw out anything past its prime. While some expiration dates seem to be more like “suggestions,” others should be taken seriously. Don’t trust those leftovers that have been wedged near the back. Always remember this simple rhyme: When in doubt, throw it out. While leftovers can be amazing for lunches or dinners the next day, they’re just a waste of space if they remain in your fridge for a few days. Even worse, if they’re not labeled, you might lose track of how old they actually are. When you decide to save the leftovers, make sure you have a plan for them. Also, make sure to label them with the date in which they were originally made. This will help keep you more organized, and free of the dreaded feeling of discovering mold in your favorite Tupperware container. Not-so-fun fact: Food that has expired can start to develop harmful bacteria like shigella, salmonella, campylobacter, or E. coli that can not only give you food poisoning, but can also start contaminating other items in the fridge.
- Wipe doors, including edges, with a damp cloth to remove grease and grime. Then spray with Vital Oxide to disinfect. If you have a stainless steel fridge, be sure to wipe in the direction of the grain for optimum shine. Don’t forget to wipe down the top of the fridge. Haven’t cleaned the top of the fridge in a while? You might want to dust it or vacuum it before wiping. It’s probably pretty grimy up there!
- Take everything out of the fridge. Put sensitive items (like meat and dairy) into a cooler for safekeeping while you deep clean. Check the expiration dates on every single item, and toss anything questionable. Remember the rhyme from above? When in doubt, throw it out.
- Clean the door seals, which can collect crumbs and sticky food remnants, with hot water and Vital Oxide to eliminate any lingering odors and germs. While you’re at it, make sure the seal still fits the door properly, or if it’s time to order a new one.
- Wipe the interior down with a damp cloth, make sure to remove any food spillage or crust. Wipe clean, and then spray with Vital Oxide to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria and eliminate odors. Important: Never use fragranced soap, bleach, or any other harsh products to clean your fridge, because they can leave behind a scent that your food will absorb. Unlike conventional products, Vital Oxide will not leave behind any fumes or harmful residue.
- Soak shelves and bins in warm water in the kitchen sink, and scrub with a scrub brush or sponge if needed. Do not wash shelves or bins in the dishwasher because it can cause damage. After removing all the grime, spray the clean shelves and bins with Vital Oxide to deodorize and disinfect. Let air dry before putting them back into the fridge.
- Put everything back in the fridge, then step back and marvel at your sparkling clean refrigerator!
- Watch an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, and scoff at all those dirty refrigerators. Amateurs!
Jokes aside, regular maintenance is the best way to keep your fridge a healthy environment for food storage and for keeping foul odors at bay. Even so, you may still be plagued with smells from time to time. Find and remove the source of the odor, and then clean and spray the shelves with Vital Oxide to banish odors and odor-causing bacteria for good. Cleaning the fridge couldn’t be easier with Vital Oxide.
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