clean fridge

Let’s be honest, we all need a little extra motivation to spring clean our fridge. National Clean Out Your Fridge Day (Nov 15) is the push we need to get it done. Whether you’re making room for your almond milk collection or just want a clean fridge for your sanity, here are six practical things to do today.

Step 1: Remove your expired food and drinks

Guys, eating expired food and drinks is a bad idea – it goes without saying. Consuming something spoiled has the potential to taste awful (at the very least), but it could also cause you some serious health complications. Use today as an excuse to ditch any offending items that have expired or are existing well beyond their suggested consumption date.

The best-case scenario is that you don’t have a lot of expired items in your fridge. If you do, you’ll probably feel a little guilty about the food waste but use this time as an excuse to reconsider your purchasing habits. Sometimes all it takes is for you to see all your expired food to inspire you to buy and eat your food more responsibly going forward.

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Step 2: Clean your empty fridge!

Now your expired and unwanted food is gone, take this opportunity to give your fridge a thorough deep clean. To do this, you’ll want to use a cleaning agent that’s safe to use in fridges. As a chemical cleaning alternative, why not opt for more natural ingredients? Hot water, lemon juice mixed with baking soda or saltwater can all help.

The end result: Your fridge will have a bright, shiny, new appearance and you’ll have cleaned out any built-up gunk and bacteria that are living on the shelves. Win-win!

Step 3: Deodorise your fridge

‘Podbody’s nerfect,’ right? Many of us have experienced a stinky fridge in the past. Thankfully there are several inexpensive and simple ways to combat existing odours in your fridge and keep your appliance smelling sweet.

You can pick up fridge air filters that use baking soda to maximise on freshness, but you can also use freshly ground coffee or even cotton wool soaked in vanilla extract! You should find any of these methods will help to improve the freshness of your fridge.

Step 4: Check out your fridge efficiency

Get the most out of your fridge by running a little audit for space, temperature and efficiency. Check the area around your fridge and make sure there’s space for air to circulate. How are your door seals looking? Insert a piece of paper in different positions around your fridge door. Does the paper pull out easily when the door’s closed? You could be losing cold air through gaps and might need to replace the seals.

It’s worth buying a little fridge temperature gauge if your fridge doesn’t have one inbuilt. For optimum efficiency and to meet food safety standards, keep your fridge below 5 degrees and the freezer below -18C. Remember that this might vary, depending on types of food and produce you’re keeping in the fridge. Where possible, check the storage directions on product labels. Your fridge has a number of sections and these can all vary in temperature.

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Step 5: Tackle the freezer cleanout

Okay, okay, we know it’s not National Clean Out Your Freezer Day but your freezer is usually attached to your fridge and needs a little TLC to stay super fresh. Back we go to step 1! Chuck out your expired foods and clean out yo’ freezer too.

While you’re working on your freezer, keep frozen food frozen or cool – especially meats. If possible, keep your frozen items in an esky/cooler to help them maintain their frozen state while you do a deep clean. This is especially important if you’re looking at spending some serious time defrosting.

Step 6: Defrost your freezer (where applicable)

If you’re looking at an ice-build up that’s greater than 1cm, you need to defrost your fridge. This icy build-up means your fridge is working overtime to keep a constant temperature. To defrost your fridge:

  • Move the contents of your freezer to another freezer or to a cooler
  • Put towels down to absorb the water
  • Turn off your freezer and leave the door open for up to 24 hours
  • Wipe out your freezer with warm water and baking soda – it’ll help absorb any odours
  • Close the door to your freezer, restart and allow it to reach the optimum temperature

Follow these steps to practice good food safety and fridge cleanliness! It’s good for your health, but it’s also good practice to keep your fridge organised and check that it’s working properly.

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