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How Clean is Your Fridge?

Mikayla Borchert

Benovate’s Expert Blogger

By: Mikayla Borchert

Benovate’s Expert Blogger

5 Reasons Why and How You Should Clean Out Your Fridge

It seems like almost every day is some sort of holiday. This week, celebrate something more practical than National Cupcake Day with a chore that we often forget about—cleaning your fridge. Because really, can we cook clean meals when we store our ingredients in a dirty drawer? November 15th is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, and with the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to get your kitchen in tip-top condition.

Why to Wash

A dirty fridge goes beyond being inconvenient. It can actually put your health at risk. Here are four reasons to always keep a clean fridge.

1.  It’s important to consistently check expiration dates on the items in your fridge, otherwise you run the risk of eating something rotten by mistake. Illnesses like food poisoning and salmonella are nothing to take lightly.

2. Containers often leak or spill, and that residue can cause serious bacterial growth on your refrigerator itself. Wiping up the spill with a paper towel may seem good enough in the moment, but removing the shelf and washing it with soap and water is the best way to keep things safe and clean.

3.  Have you ever found moldy fruit, cheese, or questionably brown vegetables buried in one of your drawers? It’s best to dispose of them right away. Cleaning your fridge regularly helps to ensure that you catch those items before they spread.

4.  On a similar note, always store produce and meat in separate parts of the fridge. Sometimes we forget about this step, so make sure to double check while you clean your fridge. You don’t want the bacteria from raw chicken to get on your fresh head of lettuce, and isolating your raw ingredients prevents cross-contamination. You can also prevent this by washing cooking utensils between ingredients.

5.  The fridge can just get dirty. It holds in all of the particles from your groceries, so its surfaces need to be wiped down well and often. You wouldn’t eat off a dusty plate, and you should hold your storage space to the same cleanliness standard.

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Refreshing the Refrigerator

Now that you know why it’s so important to honor Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, here are some suggestions for how to achieve the most hygienic fridge possible.

1.  Start by checking the temperature of your fridge. If you don’t have an exact thermometer, you can buy one designed for appliances at the grocery store. Your fridge should be no higher than 40° F, and your freezer should be no higher than 0° F.

2.  Sort through all of the food. Discard everything that is expired, doesn’t have a date, or that you won’t ever use. Never taste an item to test its safety; when in doubt, toss it out!.

3.  Remove everything from your fridge, but be sure not to leave it out for longer than two hours. After two hours, the bacterial growth can become a health risk.

Sort and Discard

Never taste an item to test its safety; when in doubt, toss it out!

4.  Washeach shelf and drawer with soap and water. You want these to be as clean as the dishes you eat off of. Wash the inner walls of your fridge, paying special attention to any cracks and creases. Start with a vacuum if necessary.

5.  Clean under the fridge; crumbs and droppings often end up under there. Don’t forget to clean the top too; you don’t want any dust falling down when you open the door.

Once you’ve finished all of these steps, go ahead and return everything to your fridge. Now is the time to adjust the height of your shelves, so take a moment to think about how you want to organize things if it wasn’t set up quite right before. This can make a world of a difference in your cooking and your cleaning.

In order to prevent foodborne illnesses for you and any guests you might be serving, make sure to clean your fridge throughout the year, not just on November 15th.

 

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