Let’s face it, one of the most dreaded chores on our list of to-dos is the appliance cleaning. The average American works 38.6 hours a week according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. This doesn’t include those who work a second job or overtime hours. This leaves little time for all of our day-to-day responsibilities and time with our families, let alone doing the deep cleaning that has to be done regularly around the home. To optimize appliance efficiency, maintain cleanliness, food safety and food quality, fridges should be cleaned out every 1-3 months and freezers every 3-6 months. There are two main types of bacteria that can grow in one’s refrigerator, pathogenic bacteria and spoilage bacteria. Spoilage bacteria causes food to deteriorate, have an unpleasant odor, taste and texture. This is the most obvious of the two bacteria present if you have rotting lettuce in your produce drawer, you know who the culprit is. Pathogenic bacteria on the other hand doesn’t make itself known. If does not generally affect the taste, smell or look of food, it just makes you ill. Pathogenic bacteria cause food borne illnesses such as food poisoning and is present in the temperature “danger zone” which is any temperature between 41-140 degrees. However, spoilage bacteria such as Listeria Monocytogenes can thrive in cold temperatures. Needless to say, it is important to keep your food storage areas sanitized and clean at all times. Nadia’s House Cleaning is here with a few tips on how to keep your fridge clean year-round with the least effort!
How to Clean Refrigerator
Wipe up spills as they occur– Cleaning up spills right away will help you to avoid a sticky, rotten mess later. Don’t put it off, do it as soon as possible. Especially juices from raw meat! Raw meats should ALWAYS be defrosted in the refrigerator. Do so by placing meats in a covered container on the bottom shelf to greatly reduce risk of cross contamination and spills.
Keep food rotated and up to date– Each week sort through food that should be disposed of. Rotting fruits and vegetables won’t have the chance to become science experiments if you do this. Use by dates are a suggestion to use the product by that date for optimal taste and quality. Expiration dates are not a suggestion, if the product is expired, throw it away.
Clean refrigerator handle 2-3x weekly– Fridge handles are a germ hotspot because they are touched by so many people multiple times a day. Sanitizing your door handle frequently will limit the number of germs and viruses present and keep your family healthier.
Keep front grill clean– To optimize airflow to the condenser, keep your front grill cleaned and free of dust and other contaminants as often as you wipe down the inside of the refrigerator. This will maintain the efficiency of the appliance and keep it cooling at the rate it was meant to. While doing this, clean the condenser coils with a brush or vacuum cleaner, be sure to unplug the refrigerator while you perform this step.
Completely wipe down the inside of fridge every 1-3 months– Depending on the amount of food stored and how many people you have in your home. Your fridge should get a thorough cleaning every 1-3 months. Do this by placing shelving and drawers into a clean bathtub while you wipe down the inside of the fridge with warm, soapy water. After the fridge has been wiped down, use clean paper towels to dry it out. Then return to the bathroom to clean the shelves and drawers. You want to ensure they have reached room temperature before cleaning them, so they don’t crack. Wipe them down with warm soapy water and give them a good rinse, then replace them back into the fridge. When you do a thorough cleaning, put a fresh box of baking soda into the back of the fridge to keep unpleasant odors at bay. Finish by wiping down the outside of the fridge. Freezers don’t need to be cleaned as often as refrigerators. Do so about every 6 months or as needed with the same process.
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