Cleaning the kitchen doesn’t just involve wiping the work surfaces and washing the cooker top – it includes the refrigerator, too! In fact, the fridge is one of the most important places to keep clean, as stale food can pollute fresh food products with fungus and bacteria, increasing your family’s risk of contracting food poisoning. The risk is even greater from raw meats and fish that can potentially spread germs like e-coli and salmonella. When cleaning the fridge, it’s important to use the right products, and it’s helpful to work out a schedule that will maintain a high standard of hygiene in your kitchen. Here’s how to clean a fridge:
How to Clean the Refrigerator
If your fridge has removable shelves and drawers, these can be tackled first. Unless heavily stained with food residue, they need nothing more than a good long soak in a basin of warm water and dishwashing soap like Lux Sunlight Lemon. For stubborn stains, consider using a dedicated cleaner designed for the refrigerator, a food-friendly antibacterial cleaner, or even a natural, homemade solution.
You can buy products designed specifically for the refrigerator from most local stores. They often come is spray bottles for ease of use, and are food-friendly – meaning that although you shouldn’t spray these solutions directly onto food, it is generally safe for food to be replaced into the fridge once it’s been cleaned with these products. Alternatively, use a good, all-purpose kitchen cleaner, like Jif Actifizz Summer Fresh, that is food-friendly. Disinfectant sprays and surface wipes are ideal, but stay away from anything with strong chemicals, especially bleach and bleaching products.
Some people prefer to take a more natural approach to cleaning the fridge. Refrigerator interiors can be tackled with a paste formed from baking soda and warm water; or with a white, distilled vinegar and warm water solution. You might consider adding a few drops of lemon juice to eliminate the strong smell of the vinegar. An open dish of baking soda left in the fridge will absorb any strong food smells.
Cleaning the Fridge & Keeping a Schedule
A comprehensive cleaning schedule will ensure that the fridge and its contents are kept clean and healthy. It doesn’t need to be too in-depth, it just needs to contain reminders that keep you up to speed. If you want to keep on top of your refrigerator hygiene think about including the following in your kitchen cleaning schedule:
- Daily Activities. While you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner, take just a few minutes to check the fridge for any spills. The quicker you clean up a spill, the easier it should be to remove. And use an antibacterial wipe or spray on the door handle – it is one of the most germ-ridden places in the kitchen.
- Weekly Activities. Before doing your weekly grocery shop, sort out all the items in your fridge. Food past its use-by-date should be thrown away. If anything is still within its date but you don’t anticipate using it, perhaps give it to a neighbour to avoid waste.
- Less Frequent Activities. For a deep clean, take everything out of the refrigerator, including the shelves and drawers, and give it a thorough scrub and wipe. You can also consider creating a rota for cleaning different parts of the fridge over the course of a month.
How to Maintain a Clean Fridge
Fridge cleaning is easy if you follow these simple tips:
- Reduce the risk of food contamination by keeping raw meats and fish on the bottom shelves of your fridge, so juices don’t drip onto food below.
- Separate cooked and raw food in the same way, for the same reason.
- Don’t allow food to go mouldy in the fridge. It’s not good for other foods, and will encourage the spread of germs.
- Put away ingredients as soon as you have used them – most jars of food and condiments, once opened, should be stored in the refrigerator instead of a cupboard.
- Clean up spills as soon as possible, while they’re fresh. This will make deep cleaning your fridge easier and will keep your food areas hygienic.