My Summer of activities are over and I am able to take some vacation time. This is the time of year I usually do my "Spring" cleaning. My list is long, but I really did not have a desire to get started, but an accident inside the refrigerator motivated me to tackle one of the items on my list. A bottle of wine leaked causing the doors to stick.
Regular cleaning of the refrigerator is important to make sure the food you serve is safe and tasty. Spills should be wiped up when they happen and weekly the refrigerator should be checked for leftovers that seem to disappear into the back. Doors and handles should be wiped down weekly.
Many home organizing experts offer tips for cleaning a refrigerator in 5 minutes a day. I believe that even with a good cleaning routine, it is important to completely take apart the refrigerator and clean shelves and walls at least once a year. So yesterday was the day at our house.
Ideally, bring an ice chest or two in to store the food while you clean. Remove shelves and wash with hot soapy water. If you have food residue that does not remove with soapy water, scrub with a baking soda paste. Don't forget the shelves in the door.
After shelving is clean, wash the inside of the refrigerator with warm water and baking soda. Don't forget to rinse! This will help your refrigerator smell better too! Pay attention to the seal around your door. Wash with hot soapy water. If mold is starting to form add a little bleach to your water.
When dry, put your shelving back in and then start putting the food back. Wipe the bottles of condiments with a damp rag. Be sure to check the dates and throw out all expired items and of course any old leftovers.
Once your refrigerator is clean, help keep it that way by defrosting food on a tray and setting up a schedule to clean a shelf every few days.
After you finish the refrigerator portion, move to the freezer, following the same steps. You may need to turn off the freezer while you are wiping down the inside, so your water does not freeze on the sides. Be sure to check the food for freezer burn and rotate older food to the front or top to be used right away.
The final step is to wash the outside of the refrigerator with warm soapy water or an all purpose cleaner. Then stand back and enjoy your shiny new refrigerator! It is worth the effort. Ours is done just in time for a weekend of cooking and storing food with chile.