You did it! She successfully cooked a Thanksgiving meal, entertained her family and friends, and cleaned the entire house afterwards. But when one big party is over, there’s usually another just around the corner. If you’re preparing for your next meeting in December, you probably have a lot of prep work and potential stress ahead. Freshening up your fridge is one of the ways you can help relieve stress and start your next vacation off right, and knowing a few fridge cleaning tricks can make the process much easier.
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but a dirty fridge full of expired produce and old-fashioned leftovers can make cooking difficult. When your fridge looks filthy, smells funny, and is chock full of old food buried in the bottom, your situation becomes even more challenging, especially if you’re expected to plan the next big holiday party.
To help you start tackling the clutter in your fridge before your next hosting commitment, we’ve rounded up some easy fridge cleaning hacks to try. And once you’re done with that, try your hand at a Christmas dessert with these 9 Secrets to Baking the Best Cake Only Pastry Chefs Know.
Take everything out, use a vacuum cleaner and clean the interior
This is the first and most important step in cleaning your refrigerator. While wearing a pair of rubber gloves, get everything out, and we mean everything. Take a garbage bag and throw away the things that have gone bad, then set aside the items you intend to keep and put them back.
Next, grab a handheld vacuum or vacuum attachment that can fit into small spaces to pull out small crumbs and other debris that may have gotten stuck in crevices. It might seem weird and feel weird to vacuum your fridge, but this is the best way to get all those nasty particles out of those hard-to-reach places.
From there, you can delete everything. Which cleaning products you use depends on your personal cleaning preference, but you’ll want to use more than water if you can. That way you can eliminate some of the odors and get rid of as much germs and lingering debris as possible. You can try disinfecting wipes, such as Lysol or Clorox, and also use an all-purpose spray. For a more natural alternative to these cleaners, you can also fill a spray bottle with hot water and vinegar at a ratio of three to one.
Eliminates the bad smell
Even after you have cleaned the refrigerator, there is still a chance that some unpleasant odors may linger. As you begin to organize and put things in place, it’s a good idea to use a natural deodorant to not only eliminate current odors, but to prevent more in the future.
One of the most common tricks for this is to use baking soda. You can buy your own little box and leave it open on the shelf, or you can grab a bowl and add a few scoops to leave in the fridge. This will naturally absorb some of those remaining odors.
Another lesser-known trick is to dip cotton balls in vanilla extract and place them in a container on a shelf in your refrigerator. This will add a nice subtle layer of warm vanilla smell to help counteract the lingering food smell.
Use storage bins to organize
When you’re ready to put things back in your fridge and restock the items you need, it helps to have an organizational plan. And one of the easiest tricks to clean and organize your fridge is to place a few storage bins on the shelves to clear some of the clutter.
You can use these storage containers to divide and organize food by type, separating fruits, vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, etc. Not only will you appreciate the aesthetic appearance of your refrigerator’s interior, but it will also make things easier to find when you’re cooking and give you more peace of mind when you need a drink in a hurry. .
Grab some spill guards for the shelves
One of the most annoying things to happen in your fridge is when you’ve gone to the trouble of cleaning everything, only to have some unwanted spills from all the liquids inside.
A great and affordable cleaning hack to avoid unnecessary spills is to buy some shelf liners. These can easily sit on top of shelves and catch unexpected spills or drips, making the cleanup process much easier.
Designate a ‘goes wrong’ section
This may be one of the most underrated fridge cleaning hacks out there. Once you’ve purchased a few organizing bins, try designating one as your “going away soon” section. This can include everything from sauces, produce, dairy, etc. That way, things won’t be so easily forgotten and rot in the back of the fridge, and you’ll have these items in mind when you open the door each time.