The refrigerator is the backbone of the kitchen, and this essential appliance deserves attention on a regular basis. With Thanksgiving around the corner, get ready for the celebrations by preparing your refrigerator for the holiday feast and all the anticipated leftovers. Make an effort to acknowledge National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day on November 15th this month. Clean your refrigerator in 3 easy steps to ensure a safe and healthy Thanksgiving!
Step 1 – Empty your refrigerator and place all items on the counter or table while you clean.
- Depending on space, either empty out the entire refrigerator at once or go shelf by shelf, starting at the top and working your way down.
- Repeat this process for the refrigerator doors. This is an important area that tends to hold a lot of “forgotten” items.
- Remove shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts in preparation for Step 2.
Step 2 – Wash, Clean & Sanitize!
- Let cold shelves and drawers come to room temperature before washing as cold glass can crack with large temperature changes. Then wash shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts by hand with hot, soapy water.
- Wipe the inside of the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water; then wipe with clean water to rinse off soap. Don’t forget the inside of the door! Dry with a clean towel.
- To sanitize, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water. Using a clean rag, give it a quick wipe and allow the refrigerator to air dry.
- Make sure the removable parts are completely dry before putting them back in the refrigerator.
Step 3 – Put food away, organizing along the way.
- Check all foods prior to replacing food back in the refrigerator.
- A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
- A “Best if Used By/Before” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.
- Throw away all expired food, anything that looks suspicious and toss anything you will not be using.
- Be sure to wipe off the tops and/or sides of containers with a clean cloth to remove any food debris if needed.
- Avoiding the over-crowding in your refrigerator to allow proper space for air circulation and maintain the required temperature.
- Do not leave refrigerated food out for more than 2 hours.
- Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below to prevent any harmful microorganisms from growing.
Now that your refrigerator is clean and organized, take inventory of what you have and what you need for the upcoming holiday. Chances are – with your cleaned out refrigerator, there will be plenty of space for all the Thanksgiving fixings.