Get a Clean, Fresh-Smelling Fridge in 20 Minutes
You know that feeling when you get into a freshly made bed lined with crisp, cool, clean sheets and fluffed pillows outfitted in dryer-warm cases? There's nothing like it. And although it might seem like a stretch, peering into the innermost corners of a newly spanking-clean refrigerator is a similar experience.
The reward of a having a clean fridge is worth the 20 elbow-greasing minutes required. It's a chore, yes, but a necessary one that will lead to a fresher-smelling kitchen, better tasting food and a feeling of accomplishment. Why not start your spring cleaning in the kitchen?
While you should probably not delay the task any longer, if you've just done a big grocery shop for your family, wait until you've started to clear some room in the kitchen workhorse. The cleaning job is far easier to tackle when your fridge and freezer are starting to look bare and your partner's starting to get that confused, head-scratching "what's there to eat?" look.
Once you have a less-than-packed fridge, you can commence with the scrubbing. Follow these guidelines and delight in your "new" appliance:
1. Start With a Clean Slate
Start by emptying out the contents of the fridge and freezer on a countertop or kitchen table. Take everything out, but don't be pokey about it. Place removable shelving and drawers in the sink for cleaning. Dried spills will require a little more effort, so avoid this problem in the future by wiping up messes immediately. Liquid dish soap, a sponge and rubber gloves for tough jobs is all you really need.
2. Take Inventory
While the shelves and drawer air-dry, quickly assess the food items in front of you. Check for expiration dates, funky smells or past-their-prime leftovers and toss anything that's gone bad.
3. Soap and Water
Wipe down the inside of the fridge and freezer with a warm, soapy sponge. Try a fresh-scented soap for a sweet-smelling fridge. Get in the nooks and crannies, wiping away any stray onion peels or sticky juice spills.
4. Load it Back Up
Start with the clean drawers and shelves and then move onto the food items you've deemed suitable for return. Place a fresh container of baking soda in the back of the fridge, or try putting a canister of used coffee grounds in a corner to help with natural deodorizing.
The deep cleaning take-everything-out approach needs only to happen seasonally, but to keep the task at approximately twenty minutes, you've got to commit to regular maintenance. That means checking for spoiled produce or other items on a daily basis, cleaning up spills as they happen, and only placing leftovers in the fridge in appropriate air-tight containers.
Inspired enough to get the rest of your home up to snuff? Check out the deep cleaning tips featured in the slideshow above.
By Stacey Gawronski