A beautifully clean refrigerator is not only rewarding but it can become a “motivational guilty pleasure.”
A few steps taken daily, followed by a deep clean at regular intervals will ensure you always have a hygienic refrigerator and are subsequently motivated to fill it with wholesome, healthy food.
Like with most things, the key is in the preparation and planning to make the process is as efficient as possible and avoid food wastage.
Here are a few tips that will help point you in the right direction.
Empty all food items from the refrigerator. Bacteria can multiply quickly at room temperature so put dairy products, meat and other food that needs to be kept refrigerated in a cool bag packed with pre-chilled cool bag blocks. It’s a good idea to do the deep clean the refrigerator before you do your weekly shop when there will be less food in the refrigerator anyway.
At the same time, check the dates on food, make sure food is not past it’s best, that is past it’s use by date.
Wash shelves and drawers
Take out the salad drawer at the bottom of the refrigerator and all the removable shelves.
Wash the shelves and the salad drawers thoroughly with washing-up liquid and hot water. Take care if the shelves are glass, it’s best to let them reach room temperature first to reduce the risk of them shattering in very hot water.
Use a small brush to collect any food residue that has collected in the join between the surface of the shelf and the shelf surround. Rinse the shelves and salad drawers with clean water, then allow them to dry naturally on the drainer or dry with a clean tea towel and put them to one side if your drainer isn’t big enough.
Wipe down the interior
Now you need to turn your attention to the inside of the fridge itself. Avoid using hot water at this point as it can raise the temperature of the refrigerator and this will delay how quickly you can get your perishable food back in. Instead, apply a mixed solution of sterilising fluid to a cloth with cold water, and use this to wipe down the interior.
Remember to pay particular attention to the grooves on the sides of the fridge interior where which the shelves rest, as they can be hotspots for dirt. A cotton bud is a handy tool for getting old food out of these. Cotton buds are also useful for fiddly places, the drop hole at the back of the fridge can become blocked and in some cases covered by ice. Dry the inside of the refrigerator thoroughly using paper towels or a clean tea towel.
Clean outer surfaces
These areas are equally as important as inside. Don’t overlook areas outside the refrigerator such as the handle and door surround, where germs can build up through frequent contact with hands. If you have a fridge freezer with the freezer at the bottom. Use a hygienic wipe to clean down and then use a fresh corner of the towel to dry the door seal afterwards.
Allow to cool down
Replace the shelves and salad drawers. Check the thermostat. If you have a built in thermostat wait until the temperature inside the refrigerator falls to 5°C or below before replacing the food. (It is possible to purchase a stand alone thermometer that can sit inside the refrigerator) If your refrigerator has a fast-cool function, use it to speed up the cooling process.
Once you have completed these actions you will feel an immense sense of satisfaction, completely revitalised with a beautifully clean refrigerator that is ready to be filled up with goodness.