Cleaning your refrigerator is as important as cleaning your kitchen platform. By keeping your refrigerator completely clean, you ensure clean and fresh food for your family. Though it might seem to be a strenuous task, a few helpful methods and quick routine clean-ups can ease your burden.
Importance of cleaning your refrigerator
One of the most important reasons for cleaning your refrigerator is that it helps prevent the breeding of germs which is the main cause of diseases such as food poisoning.
Before cleaning, remove all the items from the refrigerator, throw away stale food or food that has passed its expiry date, and unplug your refrigerator.
Steps of cleaning
Wash the refrigerator shelves, trays, and drawers
If the shelves, wire racks, trays and drawers of your refrigerator are removable, hand-wash them in hot water and mild dish soap. The glass components must be allowed to warm up to room temperature before bringing them in contact with hot water or they might crack. If there are stubborn food spills, cover them with a warm, wet cloth before removing them with a non-abrasive scrubber.
Clean the refrigerator interior and exterior
For cleaning shelves and drawers that cannot be removed, and also for cleaning the sides of the internal compartment, use a mixture of 1 part baking soda and 7 parts water. Take a clean sponge, dampen in this solution and wipe the surfaces.
Clean from top to bottom to prevent drips from falling on already-clean surfaces. Use toothbrushes or toothpicks to clean cracks and crevices, such as hinges and hardware. Wipe away the residue with a dry cotton cloth. There should be no residual moisture as this can lead to streaking.
Wipe the exterior with a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner. Remember to clean the top too.
Here are some more tips for cleaning your refrigerator’s exteriors.
Clean the door handles
To remove tough dirt deposits and grease accumulation on door handles, mix ½ a tsp. of dishwashing liquid and ½ a tsp. of vinegar in a bowl of warm water. Dip a sponge in this solution and clean the door handles thoroughly. Remove the residue moisture by wiping with a cotton cloth.
Clean the gasket
The rubber gasket around the fridge door must be cleaned regularly to maintain a tight seal. For normal grime, you can use warm water and liquid dish soap and a bleach-based cleaner for mould. Rinse the gasket thoroughly and pat it dry with a clean towel. Then, to keep the rubber supple, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
Treat stubborn stains
Make a paste of 2 tbsp. vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda. Use this paste to remove stubborn stains by rubbing with a clean cloth. Then, wipe clean with a sponge dipped in plain water. Clean the inner corners of your fridge thoroughly.
After rinsing and drying all surfaces, deodorize your refrigerator by filling an open container with dry baking soda and leaving it on the bottom shelf. This can absorb any future odours that may linger around your food.
Once your refrigerator is clean and deodorized, put everything back.
How to maintain the clean refrigerator
Store food items separately
Reduce the risk of food contamination by storing food items separately. Avoid spilling the juices by keeping raw fish and meat in separate sections of the refrigerator. Also, keep uncooked and cooked foods separately.
Inspect for mould
Mould formation in food items like bread poses risk for other food items. Mix 2 tbsp. of baking soda and 2 tbsp. of vinegar in 1 cup of water. Spray this mix over the mould. Scrub using an old toothbrush and then wipe with a damp sponge. After cleaning, air circulation must be allowed.
Put items in the refrigerator
After opening a new pack of condiments or other spices, remember to place it in the fridge immediately after use. It should not be kept lying outside for a long time.
Treat stains fast
Clean drips or spills immediately as you notice them. This helps in easy removal and will keep your food areas hygienic.
Refrigerator cleaning schedule
With a well-maintained cleaning schedule, you can keep your refrigerator clean and its contents hygienic.
Take some time out while cooking your dinner to check for any spills in the refrigerator and wipe it immediately. Disinfect your refrigerator door handles using disinfectant sprays.
Before planning your weekly grocery shopping, you can sort out all the contents of your fridge. Remove the food that is past its use-by-date. You can avoid wastage of edible food by giving it to the needy if you are not planning to use it.
Less frequent activities
You can give a thorough clean-up to all the contents of your refrigerator, including the removable parts such as the shelves and drawers. You can clean the different parts of the fridge over a month, by creating a routine.
Use a damp cloth to clean every jar or vessel before you keep it in the fridge. This way, the refrigerator will not attract dirt. To remove the stains on your jars, prepare a paste by mixing 2 tbsp. of baking soda in 2 tbsp. of water. With a sponge, rub this on the stain or over the entire surface and then wipe away with a damp cloth.
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