According to Google, today is ‘National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day,’ a day to pull out a garbage bag and the disinfectant, and finally do away with the old leftovers and trash that you have been hiding at the back of the bottom shelf for the last few months.
Full disclosure – My husband surprised me while I was away with the band last weekend and did a top to bottom clean out of the kitchen including the fridge, so I’m not ACTUALLY cleaning my fridge out today (I know, I’ve got a good guy). That being said, I’m sure there are many people out there that could use the nudge to dig in and knock this task off the ‘to do’ list. For those of you in the United States, this is the perfect timing to clear out some space before you are inundated with Thanksgiving leftovers later this month.
This may seem like a massive project to undertake, but don’t worry! If you set your mind to it, you can have it done in a single day. Start by putting it on your schedule, setting time aside to get it done. By writing it into your day planner you are committing to making the time to do it, eliminating excuses.
Here are 5 steps to help to clean your fridge from top to bottom in a single afternoon!
- To get started you are going to need a large cooler or 2 (or a second refrigerator if you happen to have two in the house). Empty everything out of the fridge, checking it over for expiration dates and signs of spoilage. Throw out all foods that have gone bad, even those that you are unsure about but are unable to conform (better safe than sorry), and place all the food that is in good condition in the cooler(s) for safekeeping.
- Cut power to your refrigerator either by unplugging it or by turning off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Wait for the fridge and freezer to both return to room temperature before continuing. This will help to protect any glass shelves, as well as making it easy for you to clean any ice build-up out of the freezer allowing it to function optimally.
- Remove the parts of the fridge that you can for cleaning such as removable shelves and crisper drawers. Create a homemade cleaner to clean, degrease and disinfect the refrigerator by combining the following in a bucket of hot water: 1 cup clear ammonia, ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda. Wipe down every nook and cranny of both the fridge and the freezer including the parts that you have removed. If, while cleaning, you come across any major stains bust out the toothpaste! It will break up caked on spills and random staining. An old toothbrush will allow you to get into the smallest of crevices, ensuring that your fridge is spotless from top to bottom.
- Cleaning your refrigerator doesn’t end with the inside. Wipe down the outside, paying careful attention to disinfecting the handles. If you have a stainless-steel unit, vinegar can work wonders to bring back that ‘like new’ shine. Don’t ignore the condenser coils! Using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush remove all dirt and pet hair. Wipe the coils down with a damp cloth. Remove the plastic covering from the bottom of the fridge, vacuuming any dirt or hair from beneath it.
- Once you have completed cleaning every corner of the refrigerator plug it back in. Wait for both the fridge and freezer to return to their operating temperatures. As you go through the coolers putting all of the food back into the fridge take the time to wipe down every item. Make sure you aren’t putting back sticky, food covered items that will only make your fridge dirty all over again.
How often do you clean your refrigerator? Are you the type of person to keep your fridge meticulously organized, or is it a mish-mash of unknown containers?