Timely tips for cleaning refrigerators and freezers

Cleaning your fridge or freezer does not have to take all day. In fact, you can do it rather quickly once you have established a routine and applied a simple method to it.

Cleaning the fridge should be a quick and easy process, however the greater the gaps between doing this chore, the longer it will inevitably take. While many people clean their kitchens on a weekly or fortnightly basis there are some busy homes where the fridge is sometimes left as an afterthought and can be neglected for weeks on end.

Keeping the fridge clean is important not only for the obvious health advantages, but it will also help the fridge to keep running at optimal performance. The long term financial benefit means fewer repairs and your fridge will have a longer lifespan.

Cleaning the fridge shelves

Cleaning the fridge shelves

Start with removing the shelves to clean them. While you may wipe down the shelves in Situ on a day to day basis, to clean them properly they should be removed. You don’t have to empty the fridge completely. Start with the top shelf and close the door while you clean the shelf. This way should anything spill over onto lower shelves you won’t have to repeat the cleaning process. Additionally, food will remain fresh while you are undergoing the process.

Use an all-purpose disinfectant and remember you may have to remove the protective lip at the front of the shelf to get all the grime and dirt removed. Alternatively, if you prefer to use a natural cleaning product try using some white vinegar in a sprayer bottle.

You may think that because the fridge does have a slightly humid environment you don’t need to dry the shelf off. In terms of sanitation and hygiene it is advisable to dry the shelves thoroughly before returning them to their place.

Repeat this process with all of the shelves.

Cleaning the fridge drawers

Cleaning the fridge drawers

In a similar fashion to the way that you cleaned the shelves only remove one drawer at a time. If possible, transfer refrigerated items from one drawer to the next to keep them cool during the process. Remember to close the fridge door.

With each drawer place them in the sink and fill them with warm water. Add a little dishwashing liquid and ensure the liquid disperses while the water is still filling the drawer. Leave the drawer filled with water for about ten minutes. This will dislodge any hard or sticky residue from the drawer.

After ten minutes firmly wipe the inside of the drawer being sure to dislodge or remove any hard particles and ensure the drawer is clean all over. Be sure to dry the drawer thoroughly with a dry clean cloth. The importance of ensuring that the drawer is dry cannot be emphasised since the air in the drawer circulates in a very small space and fridges are naturally humid environments.

How to ensure that the fridge is clean

Certain bacteria can live in environments that are close to freezing. For this reason, when you clean the fridge there are a few simple things that you can do to make sure that the clean ensures maximum possible hygiene. First, ensure that both sides of the shelves are cleaned. It is easy to forget that although the underside of the shelf does not come into contact with food, it can still harbour the growth of those nasties that we want to keep out.

Spatter that has landed anywhere because of dripping poultry and meat can cause life threatening illness if it is not cleaned properly. For this very reason cleaning the inside walls and the top of the refrigerator are equally important. As you work your way through the fridge from top to bottom, clean the side walls too as you remove and replace the shelves.

Cleaning the Freezer

The freezer is a much easier cleaning task than the fridge. Because frozen items take several hours to defrost, they can be taken out and place in a cooler bag. When placed next to each other frozen items will remain frozen for longer. Taking everything out of the freezer means that it will take less time to get through the whole freezer.

Start by wiping the individual shelves clean and if they can be removed, do so to make the task quicker. Where there may be frozen pieces of food or ice use a plastic spatula to dislodge the, never use a metal spatula as this will damage the freezer.

Wipe the interior walls of the freezer and repack the freezer.

Clean the handles

Whether you open the fridge by using a handle or a grip just above or below the fridge door, be sure to make sure this is also cleaned. We transfer most of the germs in the home using our hands. By remembering to clean your hands before and after each meal preparation, you will also reduce the risk of germ transfer.

If you have required a recent repair, it is also a good idea to clean your fridge thoroughly especially if the thermostat was faulty or the fridge stood for a time without being turned back on. A good repair technician would be able to advise you how soon after moving your fridge you should turn it back on again. Companies such as Repair Aid offer advice to their customers after a repair and will be able to guide you in preventing any unnecessary further problems.

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