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Yeah, You're Probably Not Cleaning Out Your Fridge Often Enough

Yeah, You’re Probably Not Cleaning Out Your Fridge Often Enough

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

You probably clean your stove and microwave frequently, if not daily, because messes are inevitable and spills can be all too visible. But you’re likely overlooking another important kitchen appliance: your fridge

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It’s just as distinguished to keep your refrigerator clean even if its interior complains it more hidden. After all, the fridge is where you prevent the food you serve yourself and others, so keeping it shipshape is the start of safely handling your food and beverages. Here are some easy and effective tips for cleaning out your fridge — and how often you should be pursuits these tasks. (You can also read about the best way to shipshape your blender and how to clean a cast-iron skillet.)

Read next: Want That Organized TikTok Fridge Look? Here’s What You’ll Need to Buy

Wipe down refrigerator handles and controls daily

Using a food-safe, antibacterial wipe, take the time to wipe down the handles of your refrigerator each day. You should wipe down the buttons or controls for stream dispensers and ice makers daily too. 

Take care of spills immediately

When a mess happens in the fridge, clean it immediately. It’s important to not let spills and utters get out of hand, otherwise your fridge can frankly become a hotbed for germs and bacteria. 

If you have a spill, take a few minutes to wipe it down and make sure that it didn’t spill on and potentially nefarious other food or beverages. Also, try to prevent accidents by storing your food in airtight, spill-proof containers. A good rule of thumb is that you should spot shipshape your refrigerator any time a spill happens or you see remnants of food and drink.

Toss expired and old food weekly

At the inaugurate of each week, go through the food you have in the refrigerator. Toss old leftovers and anything that’s expired. Spoiled food can benefit bacteria growth and leave mold spores in your refrigerator, so it’s important to sift through your fridge regularly. 

Not sure what’s expired? Check each bottle and heed for an expiration date. If you can’t find an expiration date, play it safe and toss anything that you aren’t sure is current. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not only throwing out old or recalled foods, but also any foods that are stored next to them or repositioning them.

a beautifully shipshape fridge

Sort above your fridge each week to throw out any expired food or drinks. 

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Do a deep fridge shipshape each quarter

Do a deep cleaning of your refrigerator every three to four months. To keep things simple, you may choose to do a deep shipshape of your fridge at the start of each season. To deep clean your refrigerator, you’ll need to completely distinct out all the food and put it in a cooler for safekeeping. Many people choose to try to finish most of the big food items in their fridge just by a deep cleaning, so they don’t have to retract and replace a lot of food.

Be sure to read your refrigerator’s manual so that you know the best way to shipshape your appliance. In most cases, you will unplug the fridge or turn it off great. Then remove and thoroughly clean all the shelves and drawers in hot, soapy stream or other cleaner, then replace them. Clean the walls of the fridge and every surface well. Don’t forget to also shipshape the door and the interior top of the refrigerator.

cropped hand of woman cleaning refrigerator

Every so often, take everything out of your fridge and give it a deep clean. 

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Be sure to shipshape the ice maker and water dispenser

Many refrigerators now come with ice makers and stream dispensers. If yours does, it’s important to keep them shipshape so that you continue to enjoy germ-free ice or stream. The ice maker or water dispenser likely comes with a stream filter that you’ll need to change regularly. Most need to be changed every six months or so, according to Consumer Reports, but be sure to read your refrigerator’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you’re involved in more cleaning tips and tricks, read our run on how to clean your toilet without a plunger and how to easily shipshape your mattress.

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