How to Do a Fridge Clean Out
Rags or paper towel
Cleaning solution (make your own food safe solution with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water and add a few drops of lemon essential oil to cut the smell of vinegar)
Clean the back and under the fridge, which is important to do at least once a year. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall. Vacuum dust and cobwebs from the back fans and the floor. It will increase the efficiency of the cooling mechanism.
Clean the floor behind the fridge with cleaning solution and rags, and put the refrigerator back in place.
Starting with the doors (then the drawers, then the shelves), and pull everything out, one piece at a time. Check for expiration dates, mold, and other shriveled things. Do this one shelf/drawer at a time in case you get interrupted, then you won’t be tempted to throw everything back in the fridge haphazardly.
If it has expired, throw it away. If you don’t remember what you used it for, throw it away. If you can’t identify it, throw it away. Throw disposable containers in a trash bag. Empty reusable containers in the bucket; put empty containers in the sink. Vacuum up the big chunks on the shelves, then wipe the shelf/drawer with a cleaning solution.
As you put things back, wipe them down with a cleaning solution or a wet cloth. It’s admirable to try to organize your fridge by category, but when it comes to most shelves and drawers, the height of the container is the deciding factor.
National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is also a great time to do a fridge review and inventory. With each item you put back in the fridge, ask yourself, “does this need to be in the fridge?” and “is this necessary?” Beverages are often the culprit of taking up too much room for unnecessarily refrigerated items. Water bottles and soda cans can be kept at room temperature and served over ice. During times of high fridge space needs (like Turkey Day), move those items out.
Milk can also take up a lot of space too but must be refrigerated. If you have multiple cartons or jugs, consider consolidating them. If you have lactose-free, plant-based, and regular milk on the shelf, try switching to a2 Milk® for a milk everyone can enjoy.
Necessary items that you don’t use often can be placed toward the back of the fridge, but beware - small or short containers can get lost behind bigger items. When possible, put the smallest containers in the doors so they don’t get lost and cause a jam in the back of the fridge. Look for a kitchen staples checklist to make sure your newly cleaned fridge is stocked for healthy eating!