Tips to keep your refrigerator clean and sanitary

Many Filipino households consume home-cooked meals on a regular basis. A typical meal can be longganisa with egg for breakfast, pritong bangus for lunch, and a hot bowl of nilagang baka for dinner. And when food is cooked regularly, there’s bound to be leftovers in the fridge. As such, homemakers often simply reheat leftover food to serve it for their families’ next meal.

Cooking often helps families save more on food costs. It allows homemakers to stretch their budgets by planning delicious and filling meals. That said, a lot of cooking requires buying and storing food properly in a top-quality refrigerator from a trusted appliances store. With all the planning and cooking, however, you might not have the time to clean your fridge or keep track of its contents. There might be wilting vegetables in the produce drawer, spilled juice and crumbs on a door shelf, and some leftover pancit from last week’s dinner that has toppled within one of the main compartments.

If you haven’t cleaned your refrigerator in a while, now is the time to do so. Regular cleaning prevents bacteria and mold from thriving in your fridge and contaminating your food, and it also keeps your appliance from getting sticky and smelly all over.

To help you keep your unit clean and avoid potential health issues, here are five ways you can ensure that your refrigerator is always spotless and sanitary.

Wipe spills right away

Perhaps you spilled milk or sauce in your fridge the last time you opened it. Instead of wiping it later, get a clean rag or paper towel and wipe the spill right away. Attending to messes immediately ensures that you won’t forget to clean them later. After all, the longer a spill stays in your fridge, the more it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. It can also leave unpleasant odors in your fridge. Spilled milk, for instance, expires and will eventually smell sour. As such, it’s best to clean it immediately before a bad odor develops in your fridge.

Wash sticky food containers

It’s important to wash the outside of food containers and bottles if their contents have spilled. Things like ketchup bottles, mayonnaise jars, bagoong containers, and other sauce bottles usually get sticky after they’ve been used. This happens when food or sauce gets into your hands while you’re holding the jar or bottle. Before returning them inside your fridge, make sure to wash off any sticky sauce and food remnants. When containers are clean, it helps minimize bacterial growth and odors in your fridge.

Remove fruits and vegetables from plastic bags before storing

When you buy fruits and vegetables, make sure to take them out of the plastic bag before putting them in the produce drawer. Plastic can pack fruits and veggies too tightly, which can make them rot faster. Instead of plastic bags, you can place fresh produce on a plastic tray or inside a mesh bag to let them have space to breathe when you put them in the crisper. That way, you can keep them fresher for longer.

Another good reason to remove fruits and vegetables from plastic is to keep track of your refrigerator’s contents. This helps you see them right away when you open your crisper. When you can see them, you’re less likely to forget about eating or cooking any product that you might already have in your fridge,

Get rid of leftover food regularly

If you tend to store leftover food every week, you should check your fridge as often as you can. This can be thrice a week or every other day, as long as you keep track of leftovers. Doing so will help your household avoid food poisoning. You’ll also get rid of foul odors that tend to come from spoiled food.

Once you know that certain leftover food is about to go bad, dispose of it right away. Some Filipino dishes that might spoil after several days in the fridge are pancit palabok, kare-kare, ginataang manok, and laing. Since these food items don’t keep long in the fridge, you should prioritize consuming them within one to two days. Generally, for stews and soups with vegetables and meat or poultry, you can store them in a fridge that’s 4.5 °C (40 °F) or colder for three to four days. Beyond that, you should get rid of them.

Deep-clean fridge regularly

To deep-clean and sanitize your fridge, remove all of its contents as well as the drawers and shelves within. Place the food items in a cooler to keep them cold and fresh while you’re doing the cleaning. Next, using a clean towel dipped in warm soapy water, wipe the inside of the refrigerator, the shelves, and drawers thoroughly. Make sure to get hard-to-reach spots, especially at the back of the fridge. Once that’s done, you can sanitize the refrigerator’s surface by wiping it with water and liquid bleach solution (1 gallon of water to 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach). When the surface is dry, you can put back the shelves and the contents of your fridge.

The more you buy groceries and cook, the more often you should sanitize your fridge. While some food safety experts might suggest you do this every week, it is usually not practical if you’re busy with other chores. Instead, you can clean and sanitize your fridge every other week, or at least once a month. You should also prioritize deep-cleaning your fridge if your household experiences a brownout for more than two hours. Food items in your fridge could spoil by then, so you must check all the food and clean the fridge thoroughly to be safe.

Keeping your refrigerator clean is important for food safety purposes and for ensuring a long service life for your fridge. After all, you wouldn’t want to go looking for new appliances for sale soon just because your unit conked out due to poor maintenance. We hope you can try the tips mentioned above to keep your refrigerator clean and sanitary.

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