It's that time of year again. The sun is out, and we are no longer suffering from the "winter-blues". Spring Cleaning makes you feel a little like Cinderella, minus the singing animals- unfortunately. One of the most overlooked things to clean is your fridge. However, it is the most important thing to clean because everything in there will be consumed by you or your family. Improper refrigerator maintenance can lead to food-borne illnesses, if you're not careful.
Step 1: Keeping it clean
One common mistake people may make is the type of cleaner they use to clean they're fridge. It is best to steer clear of chemical cleaners, instead make your own solution. You can either combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every cup of water or combine a mild soap with water to clean your shelves and bins. To absorb odors, put an open box of baking soda in the fridge. Remember to replace it every one to three months!
Step 2: Throw out old condiments
Throw out nearly empty jars that you haven't used in the last few months, almost finished bottles, and items that are past the expiration date. For the condiments you are saving, make sure to open them and wipe off any dried residue.
Step 3: Limit the amount of food stored in the door
The door is the warmest part of a refrigerator. The door is best used for storing jellies, and condiments. Since the door gets warmer when you open the fridge, avoid putting dairy products in the door storage. Instead, place your dairy products on the top or middle rack. Go ahead and skip the ready-made egg container on the side of the door; eggs are best kept in their original container and placed in the main part of the fridge.
Step 4: Properly thaw your meat
This is a very crucial step. When you are thawing out your meat, make sure you place your meat on a plate or bowl in the fridge. The juices will leak from the meat, and can contaminate your ready-to-eat foods.
Step 5: Properly store leftovers
Keep your leftovers fresh by properly storing them. Wrap them in plastic wrap, and place them in a Ziploc bag. If you use aluminum foil, make sure to label the package. Toss any uneaten food within five days. Keep leftovers in the front so you do not forget about them. To prolong the life of open hard cheeses, wrap it in wax paper and place in a plastic bag.
Follow these steps every four months to keep your fridge fresh, and uncontaminated.