6 Simple Strategies for Quick & Easy Fridge Cleaning

how to clean your fridgeHave you ever opened your fridge, been hit with an unpleasant smell, and suddenly wondered when the last time you gave that sucker a good cleaning was? If so, you're not alone. Keeping this major appliance in tip-top shape might seem like a daunting task, but following a few simple strategies will keep you on track!

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Cleaning expert Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, shares six easy ways you can keep your fridge its freshest.

1. Baking soda is your fridge's best friend.

Don't underestimate the importance of baking soda!

"Change your box of baking soda every three months to keep odors at bay," Maker says. "It's an easy strategy to keep your fridge smelling fresh and your food tasting good."

The cleaning guru explains that because baking soda absorbs odors and flavors, you don't have to worry about the aroma of something like a roast smothered in dry rub permeating all your other items. 

2. Wipe up spills as they occur.

If you've ever defrosted a chicken and forgotten to put it on a plate first, you're probably familiar with that gooey, bacteria-filled juice that escapes during the thawing process. Rather than let it pool there indefinitely (yuck!), wipe it up immediately, Maker says.

"If someone has gotten overzealous with the milk or ketchup, give it a wipe as soon as it occurs. Tackle touch-ups as they happen. This prevents shelves from becoming grimy and gross," she notes.

3. Clean the bottoms and sides of bottles.

Before you put away that barbecue sauce or maple syrup, wipe down the sides and bottoms of the bottles, as these are often the biggest culprits when it comes to keeping your shelves clean.

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4. Don't neglect the produce drawers.
 

Maker says each time she brings new groceries into her home she takes a moment to go through her produce drawers.

"Pull out all the unsavory items and throw them away," she advises. "Sometimes a green pepper or kale goes uneaten and dies at the bottom. These things smell, turn brown, and can become liquidy. It's better to just stay on top of it."

Maker advises lining your produce drawers with paper towels, which can absorb spills should they occur.

"It's a little tiny thing that can prevent a major scrub down," she notes.

5. Pull out everything for those big cleanings.

When it comes time for the serious scouring, remove everything from the fridge and sort through what's going and what's staying, Maker says.

"Open jars and see how everything looks and smells before putting it back," she says. "Then, you can use an all-purpose disinfecting spray to clean the insides while your shelves are soaking in soapy water. Put everything back in an organized manner and ideally it'll stay that way."

If you want to make your own cleaning solution, Maker recommends using three parts water, one part rubbing alcohol, and a squirt of dish detergent.

6. Don't forget the top and bottom.

The top of the fridge is a popular spot to store everything from cookbooks and cereal boxes to small appliances and bakeware. Unfortunately, it's also a major dust collector. 

"Pull items down a few times a year and wipe them and dust the top," says Maker. "You'll also want to unplug your fridge and vacuum the coils. It just takes a few minutes but it makes a big difference."

"Dust collects where the fan is," she says, "And if you’re sucking in air, the motor has to work harder. It may make a loud hum. Even if you have an energy-efficient model, it's not as efficient as it could be if the coils are full of dust."

While constant cleaning isn't always fun, if you stay on top of regular maintenance, you can get away with doing a major cleaning just twice a year, says Maker. Happy cleaning! 
 

 

Image via andrey_popov/Shutterstock

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