My Tips for Cleaning the Inside of the Fridge …

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Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it’s important that it’s well organised and working as efficiently as possible.  And because it’s where we do all our food preparation, it’s also important that the equipment and utensils we use are super clean.  Cleaning and getting organised is mostly about creating routines that are simple to follow and that helps us to develop habits.    I’m a creature of habit so it helps me to choose a day of the week to perform regular or routine tasks and that helps me stick to it.  Some weeks other things get in the way but then the following week I’m back on track.  So when it comes to the fridge I have a fairly simple routine that helps me keep my fridge sparkling clean.

 

My Daily Routine …

 

This is as simple as wiping items like jars, containers, dishes, bowls and everything I’ve used before returning them to the fridge.  Wipe items all over paying particular attention to the tops of squeeze bottles, the rims of jars and the sides and edges of containers where you lift and reseal lids.  Any spills that happen on the shelves, wipe those up straight away before they get the chance to harden.

 

My Weekly Routine …

 

 I usually do a large grocery shop once a week, and because this is the time when the fridge has the least amount of food stored, it’s a perfect opportunity to clean the fridge.  Apart from cleaning the fridge, this routine works for me because I get to see items that:

 

  • need to be used up
  • are running low and need to be replaced
  • have expired and need to be thrown out
  • have spoiled and shouldn’t be eaten
  • have been stored in the wrong size container and are taking up valuable space

 

This then helps me prepare my menu plan and shopping list, which ultimately saves me money by reducing waste.

 

So for my weekly clean, I usually start on the top shelf of my fridge and work my way down.  Lift all items from the top shelf and wipe with a damp cloth.  Wipe over each item before replacing on the shelf, throwing out anything that needs to go.  When finished, move onto the next shelf, then work your way down the fridge until you get to the bottom drawer(s).

 

Open the drawer(s), remove any leftover items, evaluate these for freshness (the bottom drawers will most likely hold fruit and vegetables), wipe over with a damp sponge and then replace any items being kept.  Finally, follow the same process with the shelves of the fridge door.  Wipe each shelf along with any bottles and jars and replace on the shelf.

 

This is usually all that is needed on a weekly basis and once you get into the habit you’ll get quicker and it will take you little more than 5 – 10 minutes.

 

My 3-Monthly Routine …

 

Usually every 2-3 months I like to give my fridge a more thorough clean and this is what I do:

 

1.  If you have a second fridge, move as many items as possible there.  If not, move what you can to lower shelves so that you have at least one empty shelf to work on.  This means your food stays cold and refrigerated rather than allowing it to warm up by sitting on the bench particularly in hotter months.

 

2.  Sort and toss as you go any food that is spoiled, won’t be eaten or has expired.

 

3.  Remove each shelf one at a time and wash in the sink in warm, soapy water, rinse well, drain, dry and return to fridge.  Use a non-abrasive sponge to remove any hardened food stains or allow the shelf to soak for a couple of minutes to loosen any tough stains.  Before washing any fridge shelves in the sink, give them a couple of minutes to return to room temperature so that your cold shelves don’t crack or shatter when they are plunged into hot water.

 

4.  Wipe down the inside cavity of the fridge using a paste made from 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon bi-carb soda, apply with a damp sponge and then wipe off with a freshly rinsed sponge.  Chemical cleaners and detergent are best avoided as the smells they leave behind might be absorbed by your food.  Work your way through the fridge, from top to bottom and once clean, replace all shelves in the fridge and return all items.

 

5.  This is also the perfect time to wash any baskets or containers that I may be using to divide up the fridge into compartments.  Wash each basket or dividing container, in the sink with warm, soapy water, rinse and dry well before returning to the fridge.

 

6.  Empty the drawer(s) down the bottom, remove from the fridge, if possible, and wash in the sink.  You may need to use a brush to remove all food scraps that have worked their way into the grooves and corners.  Rinse and dry, reinstall in the fridge and repack.

 

7.  Remove items from the shelves in the door and clean in the same way.

 

Using warm, soapy water made from mild dishwashing liquid is the most economical and cost effective way to clean the shelving and containers.  As an alternative to detergent, there are products available like Hillmark Fridge and Microwave Cleaning Wipes (which I haven’t used personally) that will do a fantastic job as well.  Do be careful though of using anything that is heavily scented as the smell may transfer into your food.

 

Now, the daily clean only takes a couple of minutes, the weekly clean usually takes me as little as 5 – 10 minutes and the 3-monthly clean often takes about 20 – 30 minutes … not long at all and definitely worth it to make sure that I keep my fridge sparkling and hygienically clean.

 

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A couple of other tips …

 

  • Meat and frozen meals are best defrosted in the fridge, so place these on a plate in the fridge to protect the shelves from leaking juices and condensation as the meat or meals defrost.
  • Finally pay attention to the seals around the door and the edges and sides of the fridge door.  These can often get overlooked, but mostly only need a quick wipe with a sponge and warm, soapy water.  Make sure you dry the seals thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent mould from growing.  This is also the time I have a quick look to check that all the seals still fit properly.

 

So tell me, do you have a routine for cleaning your fridge?

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