The fridge can get crowded, especially approaching the holidays. Here are 4 ways to keep the refrigerator clear and clean to make large scale meal prep easier.
The holidays are right around the corner, which means your refrigerator will soon be overflowing with everything from pies to turkey to veggies. Take advantage of that narrow window of time before the holidays and give your fridge a deep cleaning. Here’s how to get your fridge squeaky clean now, and to create a new routine to keep it that way throughout the year.
1. Do regular inventory checks
You can’t clean the fridge without getting an idea of what’s hiding inside, so start by removing absolutely everything. As you remove the contents, place items in different groups to designate food to keep, items past their expiration, and storage containers to be cleaned out and reused.
Before moving anything back into the fridge, wipe down containers to make sure they’re not dripping, leaking, or otherwise making your fridge situation worse. Once a week, make a point of inspecting the contents of the fridge, keeping an eye out for expired food and leftovers past their prime.
2. Use homemade, chemical-free cleaners
When it comes to chemicals, the fewer chemicals you use near your food, the better. Rather than using a store-bought cleaning solution, keep it simple with a homemade cleaner. Mix a solution of about two tablespoons of baking soda per quart of hot water, and use the solution to clean the interior of the fridge.
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Remove bins and shelves if possible, and soak them in a larger bath of this solution. For persistent stains and caked-on food, a more concentrated version of the homemade cleaner works well. The baking soda is great for removing residue and absorbing fridge odors.
3. Create a system for food organization and storage
Every fridge needs an organization system to prevent food from disappearing and spoiling. First, get to know the optimal location for each type of food. Eggs often store best in designated areas in the fridge, while fruits and veggies keep the longest in separate bins.
Do your best not to pack food tightly in the fridge, as food typically keeps best when cool air can flow around it freely. Don’t hesitate to adjust the shelves so the space works for your needs, making more room for fresh veggies, beverages, or leftovers as necessary. If your current fridge just can’t store everything comfortably, consider upgrading to a new energy-efficient fridge.
4. Perform Regular Fridge Maintenance
Now that the fridge looks great, don’t let it return to its prior state. One of the easiest ways to maintain your fridge is to make sure the items inside are neat and clean when you store them. Make an effort to wipe down jars, bottles, and reusable containers before returning them to the fridge in order to limit spills and messes.
If you do see a spill in the fridge, clean it up right away instead of closing the door and dealing with it later.Wipe up any spills inside, and wipe down the exterior to keep a handle on fingerprints, food stains, and smudges.
Freshening up your fridge
By keeping the inside and outside of the fridge neat and clean, you’ll ensure it serves you well during the holidays and beyond. Give the fridge a deep cleaning once a month or as necessary, and you’ll keep it looking and smelling fresh year-round.