How to Clean Your Refrigerator
June is National Healthy Homes Month! Do you know all the steps to take to ensure your home is safe and healthy for your family?
A regular cleaning regime can keep your home free of dust, dirt, mold and pests. But did you know your refrigerator should be in this regular lineup?
Giving your refrigerator and freezer a thorough cleaning also can help protect you and your family from food-borne illness, especially if you’ve stored a recalled product inside it. If you find yourself in a situation, such as the recent recall on eggs with possible salmonella contamination, you’ll want to follow these directions from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even if you haven’t stored an item suspected of causing food-borne illness, a regular cleaning can keep out-of-date items from piling up and can reduce bacteria. This task is not hard, but takes a little time. So, set aside a few hours to take care of this household chore.
If you have the owner’s manual, follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning. If you don’t, follow these steps from our Extension publication for general cleaning.
- Remove all food items from the refrigerator and discard anything that is spoiled, out of date or doesn’t have a date.
- Take out removable shelves and drawers and wash with warm, soapy water.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water for washing down the inside of the refrigerator. If you have stored a recalled food item in the fridge, this step will be slightly different. See below.
- To clean the freezer, wipe it down with a soft cloth.
- Replace the shelves, drawers and food.
- Wash down the outside with warm, mild soapy water. Rinse with warm water
And voila! You’re all done.
- Don’t leave refrigerated items out for more than two hours and keep frozen items frozen. Put these items in a cooler if you think the process will take longer than two hours.
- Allow glass shelves to warm to room temperature before washing. The warm water could cause cold shelves to crack.
- An open box of baking soda can help absorb odors inside the fridge.
For more information on cleaning and organizing your refrigerator, check out this information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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