Spring Cleaning Tips for your Refrigerator and Freezer (features a Free Printable Inventory Sheet)
As we ease into spring, now is an ideal time to give your refrigerator and freezer a good cleaning.
CLEANING THE REFRIGERATOR
1. Dispose of old food and condiments
It's easy for items to be tucked in the back of shelves and forgotten. Place fresh food and any jars or bottles that have not expired into cooler bags. Be sure to dispose of the rest. The general rule is if it's questionable, don't risk it. You can rinse the empty jars and bottles for recycling.
2. Wash the shelves, baskets and drawers
Months of moving different foods in and out can leave spills and residue. Be sure to remove all shelves, baskets and drawers and wash in the sink with soapy water. For tougher spills, try using baking soda. Scrubbing with baking soda safely scours away residue. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water to wipe the walls inside of the fridge. This will refresh the interior and eliminates the need for harsh chemicals.
3. Wipe the gaskets, hinges and exterior
Warm air is the refrigerator's enemy. Ensuring the gaskets and hinges are clean will help tighten the seal and keep your food fresh. Use a scrub brush and soapy water to gently wipe the gasket seal. Scrubbing too hard may peel it away from the door, so carefully use your fingers to clean between any ridges. Do the same with the hinges and wipe them dry. You may also gently wipe the exterior on all sides. Be careful not to use harsh chemicals as this can disturb the finish
4. Clean the coils and area around the refrigerator
Dirty and obstructed coils can negatively impact your refrigerator's performance, and even damage it. Use a duster to carefully remove any debris from your coils. (These are usually on the back or under your refrigerator.) Additionally, make sure to sweep or vacuum the floor underneath and around your fridge. This will keep your newly cleaned coils running more efficiently.
5. Replace shelves and organize
Once you've replaced the clean shelves, baskets and drawers, you have an opportunity to get organized. Try to place similar foods in the same area of the fridge. You can also purchase inexpensive plastic storage bins to keep foods sorted.
CLEANING THE FREEZER
1. Defrost the freezer
Ice can build up over time and impact your freezer's performance. Unplug the freezer. Make sure you place any food in cooler bags so it doesn't spoil during the process. Place a towel or bin under the freezer to catch the melting ice. You can expedite the process by placing a bowl of boiling water inside the freezer.
2. Wash and clean the shelves and interior
As the freezer defrosts, use a rubber spatula to gently chip away any ice. Remove all shelves and clean in a similar fashion to the refrigerator. Once the freezer is done defrosting, you can wipe the interior just like you did with the fridge.
3. Replace shelves and organize
Freezers are generally used for longer term storage, and it's easy to forget what's being kept inside. Use this handy freezer inventory sheet to keep up-to-date with what you're storing. You can also use inexpensive bins to store similar foods. Open bulky boxes and place the items in the bins to save on valuable shelf space.
The refrigerator and freezer often go overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Following these steps is a simple process that will help keep your appliances running efficiently and prevent issues down the road. It can be a task, but it is time well spent.