How To Clean and Sanitize Your Refrigerator: A Guide

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Your refrigerator is likely one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen. Maintaining a clean fridge is crucial for preserving the freshness of your food, preventing the accumulation of germs, avoiding cross-contamination, and preventing the growth of mold and other unsightly messes. If you’re seeking guidance on how to effectively clean and sanitize your refrigerator, continue reading to gain valuable insights.

Conducting a Thorough Cleaning
Ensuring that every part of your fridge is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized involves performing a deep clean. It is advisable to undertake this process at least once a month, making it easier to clean rather than waiting until stains and odors become intolerable. Here are the steps for a routine deep cleaning:

  1. Inspecting Food Items:
    Remove each item from the vissani freezer refrigerator individually for inspection. If you have a cooler available, fill it with ice to temporarily store edible items while you clean. Wipe off any sticky or stained jars, bottles, or containers with a damp towel. Discard items with leaks, foul odors, signs of spoilage, or those past their expiration date.
  2. Taking Care of Refrigerator Components:
    Remove all detachable shelves and drawers. Cleaning them outside the fridge allows for a more thorough cleaning. In a sink or bowl, create a mixture of soap and warm water. Hand-wash each object with a sponge, ensuring a comprehensive cleaning. Rinse thoroughly to eliminate any dishwashing liquid residues. Before reassembling shelves and other removable parts, ensure they are dry, and the interior of your refrigerator is thoroughly cleaned.
  3. Completing the Interior Cleaning:
    With food items and removable parts removed, proceed to clean the interior. Standard multipurpose cleaners are effective, but consider using organic or edible cleaning solutions if you are concerned about traditional cleaning products interacting with your food. For instance, you can create a safe alternative by filling a spray bottle halfway with two teaspoons of baking soda and a quart of hot water. Spray the interior of the fridge, including walls, built-in shelving, and the door, with the cleaning solution. Wipe down surfaces using a microfiber towel, sponge, or a gentle cloth. Stubborn spots can be targeted with a scrub brush and hot water. Ensure everything is dry by using a clean towel once the cleaning is complete.
  4. Eliminating Odors:
    When unpleasant odors persist, a deep clean is often the best remedy. Alternatively, try placing an opened box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb odors. If the smells have permeated the evaporator coil, located on the freezer’s rear wall, you may need to clean or replace it to eliminate the odors.

A well-executed deep clean will not only maintain the hygiene of your refrigerator but also contribute to the longevity of your food and the overall freshness of your kitchen.

Pay attention to the cleanliness of the exterior of your refrigerator. Use a multipurpose spray to wipe down surfaces, knobs, and the edges inside the doors. However, be cautious if you have a stainless-steel refrigerator, as a multipurpose spray may leave streaks or hazy patches. In such cases, first, wipe the exterior with the multipurpose spray and then follow up with a stainless-steel appliance polish to maintain a spotless appearance.

Addressing Recalled Food
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, certain fish, and processed egg products. In cases where these products are deemed unsafe for consumption, the FSIS issues recalls based on various sources of information, including consumer complaints and alerts from manufacturers or distributors.

If you discover recalled food items in your fridge, it’s essential to dispose of the affected food and thoroughly clean your refrigerator. The CDC has provided guidelines for handling such situations, which include similar steps to those mentioned earlier. However, following a specific order is crucial to safeguard yourself and others who may consume food from your refrigerator. The guidelines are outlined as follows:

  1. Dispose of the recalled item and any other foods that may have come into contact with it. Place the discarded food in a sealed bag within your garbage. If you stored the food in a reusable container, wash it in hot, soapy water before reusing.
  2. While cleaning, empty the remaining contents of your refrigerator onto a counter or table. Remove shelves, drawers, and any other detachable components. Foods that need refrigeration for more than two hours should not be left unattended.
  3. Hand wash shelves, drawers, and other detachable components with hot, soapy water. Pat them dry with a clean towel. Avoid running cold glass shelves or drawers under hot water to prevent cracking; let them reach room temperature first.
  4. Clean the interior of the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water, followed by a wipe-down with clean water to remove soap residues. Sanitize the refrigerator with a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water after the initial cleaning with hot, soapy water.
  5. Replace shelves, drawers, and other detachable components, along with any items removed from the fridge. Before returning food and drink containers to the clean refrigerator, wash them with hot, soapy water.
  6. After completing the cleaning process, wash your hands with soap and water. Wipe down kitchen countertops that were in contact with food, drinks, refrigerator components, and cleaning products using hot, soapy water. Wash any towels used to dry the refrigerator before reusing them.

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