A recent study shows that the salad drawer in an average frost-free home contains up to 7,850 bacteria units per square centimeter. This is dangerous. Although it’s impossible to completely get rid of bacteria in any space, for safe food preparation, it’s recommended that you have no more than ten bacteria units per square centimeter.
Aside from maintaining the right temperature, regular cleaning is one of the best ways to rid your fridge of harmful bacteria. And, no, the cleaning process isn’t hard. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you clean your fridge in 30 minutes or less.
When to Clean
We recommend cleaning when the fridge isn’t full of food. Otherwise, it could take a bit of time emptying and then putting everything back into the refrigerator. So, choose a time when the fridge door says, “there’s nothing to eat in the house.” A great opportunity would be the day before you go grocery shopping.
Remember that you can still clean even when the fridge is full. If you can smell a foul odor or see unidentified shriveled objects on every shelf, then it doesn’t matter if you just went grocery shopping yesterday – you need to clean up. Experts recommend cleaning at least once every 30 days.
What You Need
Before you begin the cleaning, it’s important to gather the required supplies. This way, you won’t have to stop midway to grab something. You’ll need the following;
- Baking soda
- Trash can
- Soft rag
- Paper towels
- Cooler (optional)
- Stainless steel cleaner (optional)
The 5-Step Cleaning Process
1. Make Your DIY Cleaner
Skip this step if you intend to use a commercial cleaner from the store. However, if like many of today’s consumer’s you’d like to use a chemical-free homemade solution, begin by making the cleaner. The great news is that a basic cleaning solution only takes about two minutes to make.
- You’ll need equal parts of white vinegar and water.
- Add some baking powder to the solution in case you need to scrub the shelves. Baking powder is an excellent abrasive.
- Ideally, you want to have the solution in a spray bottle for ease of use.
2. Empty The Fridge
You can empty the fridge all at once or in sections. The better option is to do it all at once. Prepare two areas for setting items down. The first area is for things that need to be cleaned out. These may include leftovers in Tupperware. The other area is for items that eventually go back into the fridge. Any items that need to be discarded go straight into the trash can.
If you have any meat or dairy products, place them in the cooler. This is especially important if the cleaning may take more than 20 minutes.
3. Clean The Contents of The Fridge
If your fridge is in bad shape, then it’s likely that the contents aren’t in a pristine condition either. The milk carton and olive jar are likely to be untidy. You might also have the jelly leaking out.
In this step, inspect every item you intend to put back in the fridge and clean them as necessary. Using a damp rag, wipe down bottles and jars and clean any drips on the sides. Sometimes you’ll need a little TLC to remove caked-in grime. You want everything going back into the fridge to be squeaky clean.
4. Clean The Refrigerator
For thorough cleaning, start by taking out all the shelves and drawers, including the plastic pieces that lay on these. Fill the kitchen sink with warm water and put the shelves in the water. Allow the faucet to run over them for at least two minutes. Meanwhile, spray the inside of the fridge with the homemade cleaning solution and allow it to sit.
While you let the shelves and fridge interiors “soak,” use a toothpick or butter knife to scrape off any pieces of food in the drawer and shelve cracks. Then, finish up by scrubbing the inside of the fridge, the shelves and the drawers with a sponge. Make sure to wipe them dry with paper towels.
5. Put Everything Back
Begin by putting back the shelves and drawers. Then, lay the paper towels in the drawer, and put back the items into the fridge. Laying the items on paper towels makes it easier to clean the fridge next time.
That’s All! Your Fridge is Now Clean
Finish up by wiping the gasket and exterior of the fridge with a soft rag soaked in vinegar. For stainless steel fridges, use the stainless steel cleaner to wipe out any traces of rust. Then, use the vacuum cleaner to clean the coils and base of the unit.