How to Clean Your Refrigerator Inside for Health and Safety Part 1

Keeping a clean refrigerator is important not just for aesthetic reasons, but for health and safety. You do not want to encourage bacteria growth or risking food poisoning. You do not want the food you eat to become contaminated.

You should regularly clean the inside of the refrigerator by throwing out aged or unused foods or produce that were on its last legs or close to expiring. In fact it is a good idea to do a quick reorganizing of the inside of the refrigerator each week before you do your grocery shopping, so you can put away your new groceries in an organized fashion and have the ability to separate the newer items from the old. For example, you may have an open bag of celery but buy another bag of celery, so, you push the older celery in front of the newer celery, so that gets used first. Just like in the grocery stores, you may have noticed that the dates on items are quicker to expire on the front row, than those stocked behind it. I always read the dates on any refrigerated item that is dated. I am one of those people who will reach back further to compare dates so I am buying the item with the longest expiration date. It just makes good sense and makes the product I am buying available for a longer use of time. It’s both economical and safer. In fact, I will not buy something where the expiration date will happen too soon. If I were going to buy sour cream, for example, I won’t buy a container that expires in 3 days. If that expiration date was my only choice, then I will not buy the sour cream at all. I will wait until I find it at another store or another shopping trip where the expiration date is more reasonable, which is generally good for 30 days or more. You would be surprised at how many times you will find items at a major grocery store chain that have already expired and they are still on the shelf. It seems unimaginable, but it happens. It happens more often than one would expect.

The best time to clean the inside of your refrigerator is before you go shopping, so you have less to remove. Approach the cleaning shelf by shelf with first a dry paper towel to wipe any crumbs, and then a warm soapy terry cloth dish towel or wash cloth or sponge to deeper clean. For glass shelves you can then clean and wipe with a Windex type glass cleaning spray. Be sure to remove the drawers that are removable because you would be surprised what falls underneath. You may find a shriveled old mini carrot or a rotted lettuce leaf. Or maybe one of the kids spilled some juice they tried to pour from a pitcher inside the refrigerator and the liquid ran down to someplace you cannot even see. You can’t clean what you can’t see, so make sure you give a thorough visual inspection so you can properly clean all surfaces in the interior of your refrigerator. Pay special attention to the refrigerator door where the rubber seals. The rubber gaskets inevitably attract dirt and can get sticky. Wash it gently with a sponge and dry it thoroughly so you don’t damage the rubber.

The drawers you removed can be brought to the kitchen sink and washed right there with running tap water and liquid dish soap. Then dry them up thoroughly. Once you return everything back to its place, then you can proceed to clean the outside of your refrigerator with a soft damp cloth. You can use an all-purpose spray cleaner if needed.

Before returning food items to your newly cleaned refrigerator, inspect the bottles and give them a good wipe if there have been any spills on them. Evaluate everything you are returning to the refrigerator and view the expiration dates as well, to determine if any jar items are questionable.

Now your refrigerator has been cleaned. That was easy. The hard part comes when you have to move the refrigerator to clean the inner workings. This will be addressed in part 2 of this article.

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