A major key to eating healthier is making more of your meals at home, and whether you opt for deliveries of food-prep kits or do the grocery shopping the old fashioned way, the fridge is where it all starts. Chances are you’re going to be much more excited to make dinner the end of the day (instead of popping open Postmates) if you’ve got a sparkling fridge stocked with fresh ingredients instead of a scary black hole of ancient hot sauce containers and stinky splotches from that one time the kimchi leaked. Here, we share a few of our favorite refrigerator refreshers to help inspire a spruce-up at the heart of your kitchen.
Wipe your bottoms. Specifically, the bottoms of your jars! Stains pile up fast if your salad dressing or jam bottles leave rings on the shelves, so give containers a quick wipe with a wet towel or sponge before you put them away to make sure you’re not spreading a Sriracha-colored mess. For jars that seem to stay tacky (like honey or maple syrup) you can store them on a piece of paper towel to protect the shelf.
Save an old toothbrush for hard-to-clean spaces. Somehow, every fridge was designed with a few impossible-to-clean places where spills accumulate and sponges can’t reach. An old toothbrush can get where bigger tools can’t, but be sure to keep it far away from the ones that actually go in your mouth!
Don’t forget the door seal. While it may not attract as much attention as the rest of the fridge, regularly wiping up any gunk or dust the builds up on your door seal will prevent air leaks and keep your fridge running well for longer (and save money on your energy bill).
Defrost meat in a bowl, not on the shelf. We hate to break it to you—a wrapping of butcher paper won’t stop those juices from leaking out of that ground beef you’re defrosting for taco night. Preempt contamination and drippy messes by popping that meat in a bowl that’ll be easy to clean in the dishwasher.
Use up food before it spoils. Make a fridge-cleanout meal once a week to use up anything like leftovers or veggie ends that could be close to spoiling and dirtying the fridge. Think big pots of soup, a simple frittata, or eclectic stir fry.
Designate the tasks you tackle daily, weekly, and monthly. Get in the groove with a fridge routine that ensures you’ll never need to be embarrassed about party guests opening that door.
- Daily: Okay, you don’t really need to clean your fridge every day, but a little bit here and there goes a long way towards keeping things shiny. Clean up any spills as soon as they happen, and toss out any containers that have been lingering a bit too long the first time you notice them to avoid a nasty surprise when you do a deeper clean later.
- Weekly: A quick wipe-down one day a week is super satisfying and easy. We keep a container of Sweet Mandarin Cleaning Vinegar wipes handy for this task to re-up the freshness vibes inside our fridge in mere minutes.
- Monthly: Schedule a once-a-month (or at least once a season) full fridge clean to toss any expired condiments, let go of long-gone greens, and reorganize what’s left. Take everything out of the fridge (yes, everything, from the food to the shelves to the drawers) and wipe down every surface. If you’ve got a small kitchen sink, spraying down shelves and drawers in the shower (or soaking them in a sudsy warm bath) can be a great idea.
Choose products you can trust. A happy fridge isn’t just about how you clean it, it’s also about what you clean it with. Unlike processed foods in bottles and boxes, foods like fresh fruits and vegetables have a habit of picking up smells from whatever they’re sharing space with in the fridge, including anything you use to wipe down or spray away gunk on shelves, in door cubbies, or in the depths of the produce drawers. Our cleaning products are safe for food contact surfaces including counters, high chair trays, and fridge shelves, so you can battle odors, spills, and stickiness without getting harmful chemicals near your food. Plus they smell pretty awesome, too!