Who has a scary fridge? One that you open the door on, grab what you can easily see and need, and shut the door?
How about we tackle cleaning that fridge today, and maybe we can open it tonight for dinner prep or the well-earned wine or milk for a cup of tea without being slightly anxious. Keeping your fridge clean is not only less stressful anytime you open the fridge but it is also safer for your family.
So add it to the list this week!
Step 1: Assess The Damage
Make a hot cup of something and in the time that it takes the kettle to boil, open the fridge and inspect the damage. What do you find? Mystery mush, lost lunch meat, see-through storage containers that are no longer see-through as they’re growing a garden of white fluffy mould, or bowls of… something, that has multi-hued spots.
Step 2: Be Ruthless and Chuck It Out!
Open the bin up and pull it close. Pull out everything from the fridge and be ruthless. If it’s something you have to think about, something you’re not sure about or something that really has seen better days – into the bin. Check the use-by dates on things that have long shelf life, and bin anything that is overdue for replacement. If it’s the mirin that you used once in 2010 and have kept through 4 house moves and never cooking Japanese in the meantime, it goes in the bin. When in doubt, chuck it out. This applies to any medications or supplements that you have in the fridge as well. Pack up any medications that are no longer needed and return them to your pharmacist for safe disposal, and remind yourself to take those probiotics before they expire.
Step 3: Time To Scrub
Run the sink with hot soapy water and boil the kettle. Pour the rest of the kettle into the sink, then fill a bowl from the sink and grab a Superwipe. These are great for larger jobs (like your fridge) where you are going to need to wipe, rinse and repeat as the double action holes easily pick up dirt and food particles and allow for the cloth to be hygienically rinsed clean for use over and over again.
Take the shelves and crispers out and give them a good clean, including the shelf that the crispers are on. Then wipe down the whole fridge, top to bottom, and dust out the last bits of freeze-dried food. Change the water in the bowl, add a dash of vinegar or vanilla essence, and wipe down the clean fridge surfaces for a fresh, hygienic start. Wipe over the seals, and dry everything with an old tea towel. This will increase the efficiency of your fridge, food will last longer, less colonisation will happen and it’ll smell nicer.
Step 4: Keep Track
Make a mental note of three things –
- stuff you threw out unopened or unused (don’t buy this again unless you’re going to use it that day);
- stuff that you threw out some of, because it was past its used-by date or was growing something (buy a small container of this next time to reduce waste – things like tomato paste, sour cream or cheese);
- and stuff you need to use up (do next week’s meal planning around that last bit of curry paste or chutney).
Step 5: Re-stack and Restock
Put what’s left of your big clean out back into the fridge in an organised way. Maybe the top shelf is for condiments or dairy, the second shelf for meat or leftovers, the next shelf for milk and eggs and bircher muesli and the bottom shelf for the crispers of fruit and vegetables. Keep like with like, line up those little jars of jam into the door of the fridge, hide your chocolate stash in the top of the door.
Step 6: Clean the Outside
Take a cleaning cloth to remove the fingerprints and any grease from the front of the fridge and leave it sparkly clean.
Bonus points if you tackle the top of the fridge, pull the whole thing out and dust the elements at the back, change the drip tray or – and an extra gold star here – if you check underneath the fridge for lost magnets, unpaid bills or dust bunnies.