Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! It’s National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!!!
I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this amazing day! (That’s not too sarcastic, is it??)
Anyway, I look at this as one of those necessary evils in life; things you really don’t want to do, but you know it’s a good idea to do them. This is especially true as we head toward Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holidays, when you might be doing a lot of cooking and also need room for a lot of leftovers.
WARNING! Be prepared for some surprises, most often found in the very back of the refrigerator. (“YUCK! What is that?!?!”)
OK, so let’s get into the nuts and bolts of cleaning your refrigerator. (We won’t worry about workplace refrigerators here – they’re often a lesson in grossness.)
Here are some great tips from the Michigan State University Extension:
- Dispose: Start by taking everything out of the fridge. If you think the cleaning process will take you more than an hour, have a cooler handy for perishables. Check dates for expired foods, and start tossing! The United States Department of Agriculture has created a storage chart for recommendations of how long to keep leftovers. (
- Consolidate: If you have two half-empty jars of the same item, combine them to save space. Just make sure one of them has not out lived its expiration date.
- Dismantle: Take out shelves and drawers so you can give the inside of the refrigerator a good, deep cleaning with hot, soapy water. Wipe down the interior, wash the shelves and drawers, clean up all the drippings and spills and let everything air dry before reassembling. (Make sure to wash underneath everything, too!)
- Get the door: Make sure you clean all the pockets on the door, wipe down the seal around the edge of the door and do not forget to clean the handle and front of the appliance.
- Keep it clean: Michigan State University Extension recommends removing any expired food from the refrigerator once a week and placing a container of baking soda in the refrigerator to help control odors.
Also, take this opportunity to vacuum condenser coils and under the fridge, too. (But PLEASE unplug your refrigerator before doing any vacuuming.)
OK, so now that you’ve purged all the moldy, out-of-date stuff from the fridge, it’s time to get better organized, so you don’t have to go through that horrifying experience of undertaking a massive fridge cleaning.
According to the Michigan State University Extension, label and date what is in your leftover containers; this way you know what you are saving for another meal. By doing this, you’ll know exactly what you have in the container.
Consider starting an inventory sheet. This is helpful when it comes to using remaining leftovers and meal planning. Tips like these help reduce waste, save money and keep your family from experiencing a possible food poisoning.
Now, if you’re wondering where the idea for National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day came from, one theory is that a major appliance manufacturer created the day in 1999 to encourage people to clean out their refrigerator in advance of the upcoming holidays. At that time, the company even had a toll-free hotline that people could call into for cleaning tips.
Let us know if you have any tips for cleaning your refrigerator by leaving a comment.
Have a great weekend!