Have you ever come home from your favorite local farmer’s market and started to put your new food items away… only to realize there’s no room left in your refrigerator for any of the fresh food you just purchased and there’s a distinct stink of leftovers coming from deep within?
A messy fridge can make your entire kitchen feel less appealing. Meanwhile, did you know that keeping your refrigerator clean and organized can help you reduce waste and be more green?
It’s true! You’ll also have more food spoilage and waste if your refrigerator is disorganized and unclean. A disorganized fridge makes things difficult to see and find, meaning you might easily forget about those leftovers in the back until they’re not safe to eat anymore. Plus, any mold or spoiled food pieces left on your shelves or in drawers can cause other foods to spoil faster, too.
Meanwhile, an overstocked fridge can actually lead to poor air circulation, making different pockets and levels of cold within the appliance. These inconsistent temperatures can cause food to spoil faster, and lead to even more excess food waste throughout the year.
Get your kitchen back in fighting shape – and help make your household more environmentally friendly – with these easy tips for cleaning and organizing your fridge:
Getting Ready: How to Prepare to Clean Your Fridge
It’s extremely important to keep things cold while you’re cleaning out your refrigerator. To prevent food from spoiling while you’re scrubbing, fill a tub or cooler with plenty of ice and fill it ⅓ of the way with water. Place any perishable items in it while you’re cleaning. If you have something that can’t get wet, wrap it in a recycled plastic bag first.
To prevent lingering smells from food you will toss out, plan ahead to clean out your refrigerator on garbage day (or as close to the date of your usual trash pickup as possible). If you have a composting service near you, you can order an extra bucket in advance and plan to clean your fridge on a compost pick-up day – or fold a fridge cleaning into your usual composting schedule.
How to Clean Your Refrigerator
Once you’ve removed everything from your fridge, it’s time to start scrubbing. Most appliances will have shelves that can easily slide in and out, and some easily fit into the dishwasher. Otherwise, you can wash them in the sink with a sponge, mild detergent, and warm water. Wear gloves to protect your hands – especially if you’re also going to be sanitizing surfaces with a more powerful disinfectant.
Sometimes, you’ll have to remove stuck-on stains from shelves and drawers. In addition to soaking them, you might try creating an all-natural paste of sea salt, baking soda, and lemon juice. Apply it and scrub it with a sponge or microfiber cloth, then rinse with warm water.
Be sure to wipe down the walls inside the refrigerator, and use a damp cloth to remove any crumbs or dirt from the gasket around the door.
Keeping Your Fridge Clean for the Long Haul
To keep your fridge clean after you’ve spent all that time wiping it down, you’ll want to prevent spills and messes from happening later.
One way to keep things clean? Try lining the drawers of your refrigerator with a clean white dishcloth, and wash it in a hot cycle every two weeks. You can also use machine-washable silicone mats on the shelves to capture and prevent residue from any future spills. To capture unwanted odors, leave a small container of baking soda open in an out of the way section of your refrigerator.
Be mindful about putting things back as neatly and swiftly possible. Tighten up the lids on your jars, and try not to overload your fridge at any one time – since the more clutter you have, the more likely it is that an accident will happen. At the same time, make it a point to keep your refrigerator organized and tidy.
How to Organize Your Refrigerator
Did you know that Americans spend more than $1,300 every year on food that goes to waste? An organized fridge prevents waste. Not only is that good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet, too.
Despite your best efforts, your refrigerator will always have some differences in temperatures. That’s why it’s important to know how to organize your fridge to keep things neat, and prevent perishable items from going bad. The most important thing is to keep your fridge evenly stocked.
The door is the warmest part of the fridge, so it’s best to keep only condiments and less-perishable items in it. Despite what you may have seen growing up, this means that it’s often best to not keep your eggs and butter in the door!
An ideal organizational map for your fridge might include meats at the bottom, eggs and butter on the middle shelf, less-perishable items like dressings and condiments in the door, and leftovers on the top – where you can see and remember to use them before they go bad. Be sure to store fruits and vegetables in separate drawers with the correct humidity settings. Regularly check the temperature setting on your fridge, to make sure it hasn’t been jostled up or down over time.
Bins and baskets can help you organize your fridge and even out the placement of foods to avoid uneven temperatures. To keep things even organized, consider using small clear glass or plastic bins to store similar items, such as meats or fruits. You can even use a space saving drawer that slides onto the shelves and hangs underneath, providing additional enclosed storage for things like cheese sticks, bags of carrots, or yogurts. Label items with expiration dates, or use a color-coded system denoting different groups of items (for example, red for compostable, and blue for non-compostable – whatever works best for your household).
How Sweeping Dimensions Can Help
Looking for help keeping your kitchen clean and sanitary? Curious about what other environmentally friendly steps you can take to make sure your household is sustainable and energy efficient? We’re here for you.
At SDCS, we always make a sweeping effort to make life less stressful!
With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products.
We’re so confident that you’ll love our service that we offer the Sweeping Dimensions guarantee! If our cleaning services should ever fail to meet your expectations, you can call us within 24 hours of your cleaning and we will send out a supervised crew to correct anything that needs attention.
Ready to get one step closer to the clean and functional kitchen of your dreams? Get in touch today for your free service estimate!