How To Clean Out The Refrigerator Quickly

Do you dread starting the obligatory monthly refrigerator cleaning? Try these tips to make it go a little faster and easier.

You know it's time to clean out the refrigerator when the odors inside reach you before opening the door. Or perhaps you pull the handle and last night's roast falls out. It may be that you peer in the freezer for several minutes, unable to locate the entree you had planned to thaw for tonight's dinner.

Whatever prompt you may receive, cleaning the refrigerator is one of the least favorite household chores for many people. If you want to get it over with as quickly as possible, try these tips:

1. Set aside a thirty-minute chunk of time when the kitchen will be deserted so no one will get in your way as you scurry between refrigerator and sink or trash can. Get your cleaning materials ready before you start. A sponge or soft cloth, mild soap or detergent, and a gentle mixture of bleach water (read the bottle for directions) should do it. Grab paper towels in case of a spill.

2. Clear the sink area so you can rinse and wash detachable refrigerator parts. Also clear a counter area or stove top near the icebox so you can temporarily set refrigerator containers there as you move things around.

3. Starting with the top rack, quickly sort each item to check its expiration date, size, fill level, and frequency of use. Larger items like gallon-size milk jugs typically should go in the back of the shelf so shorter items can be placed in front for easy viewing. If a milk jug is nearly empty and you can use that space, pour the residue into a cup and drink it or save it for the kids.

4. Remove all items from the top shelf and set on the nearby counter. Wipe the shelf clean with the soft cloth. Then re-wipe with the bleach water, rinsing it off after a moment or two. Do the sides and back of that area next, using the same steps.



5. Discard expired items or leftovers that are unlikely to be eaten. Replace usable items, largest in the back, smaller in the front.

6. Move to the middle shelf and repeat the process. You may need to place condiments in the door shelving or decide to freeze leftovers that are ready to spoil.

7. Do the bottom shelf next. Remove produce drawers and wash thoroughly in the sink. Wipe the exposed area beneath them and apply the bleach water, rinsing it afterward. Replace items in similar order as other shelves. Toss out produce that is turning moldy or wilting.

8. Clean the door shelves after removing condiments and smaller items. Wipe the door's inside and edging before replacing items, discarding dated or unused foods.

9. Closing the door, wipe down the outside of the refrigerator on all sides. Unplug it briefly and vacuum the coils if they are exposed or the back of the unit, if not. If moveable, pull it out and sweep or vacuum beneath.

10. Clear items off the top and wipe that, too. Rinse cloth and empty used water--voila! You're ready to enjoy fresh food from a fresh storage area.

In a matter of minutes you will be able to complete an unwelcome task that will free up more time to do things you enjoy.

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