Can you smell that smell every time you open your fridge? Looks like it might be a good time to roll those sleeves up and clean it out! With the holiday season kicking in, could National Clean Out Your Fridge Day have come at a better time?
The easiest first step is to focus on all of the leftovers that have been forgotten or left behind. Foodsafety.gov is a great resource for referencing just how long those leftovers are good for. With Thanksgiving just a week away, an important item to mention is leftover cooked meat or poultry, which can stay good for 3-4 days refrigerated. Mixed egg and protein salads can stay refrigerated for 3-5 days.
After throwing away (or better yet, composting) any items that you know are bad, the next best step is to empty the contents and organize them accordingly. This may take some time but it is truly the best method to expose your fridges’ nooks and crannies for scrubbing. Take out any drawers, shelves, and bins for easier cleaning and soaking.
If you’re like me and try to keep cleaning cheap and natural, there are great items you can use that are probably sitting in your pantry. Lemon juice and baking soda can be combined to make a paste for cleaning sticky messes and killing mildew. Vinegar, hot water, and a few drops of lemon essential oil can make for a great washing spray. Warm, soapy water is also a classic and simple method to wash everything down.
After spraying and scrubbing, everything will need to dry off before restocking. Do make sure you restock, keeping the golden food safety rules in mind: meats at the bottom, label foods with dates, line fruit and vegetable bins with paper towels, and group like items together. A great tip for those who have large, deep fridges – add a turntable to help you reach for items in the back. And don’t forget – stick an open box of baking soda in the back of your fridge to soak up any unwanted stink and change it every couple of months.
At this point, you’re halfway done with the cleaning process! Next stop: the freezer. You should have some extra room in your fridge now, so when emptying the freezer, place items that need to avoid being thawed into the fridge temporarily. Although it seems like things can last forever in the freezer, this is a myth! Make sure to clean out items keeping the Foodsafety.gov information in mind.
As you can tell, cleaning your fridge is no quick chore. Make sure to leave yourself 1-3 hours of time to complete. Once you’re done, you’ll hopefully have plenty of room for delicious holiday leftovers to come.
Have tips on how you clean your fridge and freezer? Comment below!