A refrigerator is a kitchen appliance that we simply can’t live without, and it really has made our lives immeasurably easier because we are now able to store food for a longer period of time, right throughout the year, and we are now also able to keep our food fresh and accessible for when the hunger pangs arrive.
Sometimes we don’t even notice how much a refrigerator silently helps us until we see signs of neglect like expired food, bad odors, and spills. For some of us, it is a task we are happy to leave to the professional cleaners because we are wary of food smells, but the secret is actually to take preemptive action before the problem gets too bad. That is, we should clean out our fridges before food has a chance to spoil, and before spills begin to give out a foul odor.
So, how often should a refrigerator be cleaned?
You should carefully inspect the contents of a fridge at least twice a week to ensure that the perishable items don’t stay in it beyond their expiry dates. If they do, they will only contaminate the other items in your fridge, and leave you with an even bigger mess to clean. You need to immediately throw away any moldy food items that you see in your fridge and give your house maids instructions to throw away any expired food they may find in it.
Spills and stains should be removed as soon as you see them. For stains, you can use a mixture of baking soda mixed with just enough of water to make it a paste. Leave it on for a few minutes, and clean away with a cloth. For spills, a mild natural cleaning solution comprising a single part of apple cider vinegar to 3 parts of hot water will do the trick. Just remember that a single spill may leak into, or drip/spill onto the other food in your fridge causing them to spoil faster.
You may have noticed that we suggested only natural products to clean up food and liquid spills. As there are items in the refrigerator that will absorb any odors the fridge is cleaned with, we need to be cautious with the products we use. This means that we also have to use only the amount of liquid we need to accomplish the job at hand, and nothing more.
A few other tricks for keeping your refrigerator clean
- Label your perishable items: before you put any food into airtight storage containers, make sure you write on a label the date when you put it into the fridge (or when it was prepared). You can then use this as a good reference point for knowing when the food has passed its expiry date.
- Take out any removable parts and clean separately: it is important to clean the insides of the fridge well, and in order to do this, and save time while doing so, remove any racks, shelves, and trays and clean them separately in warm water combined with a little dish-washing liquid. Use your sink, and do not put them in the dishwasher. Dry well with a microfiber cloth before replacing them back.
- Use a natural, all-purpose liquid to clean the inner parts of the fridge: wipe your surfaces with a slightly damp wipe that’s dampened with a solution made of two tablespoons of baking soda to every quart of hot water. This will disinfect the area as well as clean it. Try not to use any strong commercial disinfectants as they may contaminate the food.
- Don’t forget to clean the outside of the fridge: many people get caught up in cleaning the inside of the fridge, but you will also need to keep all sides of your fridge clean so that the dust collected on the outside won’t go flying in when the fridge door is opened. You also need to carefully clean the external components like the refrigeration coil and fan seasonally (usually, the user manual will have detailed instructions on how to clean these parts).
- Make sure that you regularly change your water filter: don’t neglect the task of changing your water filter because this needs to be done twice a year on average (refer to your instruction manual for specifics)
- Take preventive measures: there are other ways of removing odors out of your fridge. Put a bit of baking soda, coffee grounds, or activated charcoal at the back of your fridge to effectively deodorize your refrigerator.
This guest post has been provided our friends at Maid Service OKC