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How to clean a refrigerator

Odor free for a healthier you

The kids need your attention; your spouse asks, "what’s for dinner?" You open the refrigerator and are met with a horrible smell. When was that chicken left in the fridge to thaw? Was it three days ago? Last week?

Did you know that not cleaning out your refrigerator on a regular basis could actually make you sick? So, when should you clean your refrigerator and how often? Experts agree you should conduct a thorough cleaning once a month. Follow this step-by-step guide to a cleaner fridge and help your family keep away from food borne illnesses.

Woman cleaning refridgeratorStep 1: Preparation

First, find the temperature control and turn it to the "off" position, this way your refrigerator won't be making cold air while you are cleaning. Your refrigerator will be open for some time, so this eliminates the need to use more electricity than necessary.

Step 2: Removal

Remove all contents before you start cleaning. Toss any old or expired food into the trash. Remove the food that is still fresh to a cooler with ice in it to keep food cold while you clean. Take out all removable compartments such as trays and drawers. Immediately transfer them to a clean sink with soapy water and wash them. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Step 3: Start cleaning

The simplest way to clean the main compartment of the fridge is simply to use warm, soapy water and give each surface a thorough wipe. Depending on what you have on hand, solutions of vinegar and water or a baking soda and water mixture work well.

Make sure you prevent cross contamination and remember not to use the same sponge or cloth for cleaning the outside as you do for cleaning the inside of the refrigerator. Start from the top of the fridge and work your way down; this way, any drips from the cleaning solution will fall to the bottom and not into the areas you are cleaning.

Step 4: The down and dirty

Dry the interior well and replace all the shelves and compartments. Leave the door open for 30 to 60 minutes before replacing the contents and don't forget to turn on the temperature control.

For the outside of the refrigerator, you can use the same solution. Don't forget to clean the rubber molding. Clean molding will help to keep a good seal, keeping the cold air in and warm air out.

Enjoy your newly clean and healthy refrigerator.

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