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How to properly spring clean your fridge and freezer

Did you know that a simple water-vinegar combo is all you need to break down those dried-out food spill in your fridge? Read on for more tips. 

When last have you thoroughly cleaned your fridge and freezer? It’s time to remove all evidence of those hidden spills and drips for healthier food storage.  

For your fridge  

  1. Remove all the fresh produce, jars and containers, storing them safely to the side. 
  2. Take out any removable drawers or ledges. Wash these separately in the sink with hot soapy water. Rinse them very well and leave upside down to air dry. 
  3. Give the inside of the fridge a quick wipe-down with kitchen towel to remove any loose bits. 
  4. Mix together a ratio of 3 parts hot water with 1 part vinegar. Using a vinegar solution is safer than a chemical-based cleaner and the acid in the vinegar works well to break down food. 
  5. Place solution into a spray bottle or dip a cleaning cloth straight into the solution. 
  6. Wipe down the inside of your fridge, getting into the nooks and crannies. This might take some scrubbing, depending on the state of your fridge. 
  7. Make sure to regularly rinse your cloth to remove the dirt.  
  8. Do a final wipe to remove any lingering dirt, then place all the drawers back. 
  9. Take time to wipe down all your jars, bottles and tubs with a cloth to remove any lingering sticky food streaks.
  • When restocking your fridge, place the newest jarred goods at the back of the shelf, and those closest to expiring at the front. If it helps, place a sticker with the item’s expiry date on top of the container.
  • Meat should always be refrigerated on the bottom shelf of your fridge, away from fresh produce. This way any juices that leak do not contaminate your fruit and vegetables.  

For your freezer  

  1. Remove all food from the drawers and place in a safe spot until needed. Place meat and perishables in the fridge. 
  2. Leave the door open for 10-15 minutes. This makes it easier to remove the ice and frost to get into all the nooks. 
  3. Take out freezer shelves and wash in hot soapy water, rinsing well and setting aside to air dry.
  4. Using a sharp-edged rubber or plastic scraper (not steel or metal) remove the ice build-up from the shelves. Add to a bucket and discard down the drain. 
  5. Use the same vinegar solution as mentioned for the fridge to wipe down your freezer. Cleaning may take longer due to the cold temperature. 
  6. Once thoroughly cleaned, place the drawers back and return frozen goods to the freezer. 
  • If you find broken freezer bags, packets or tubs, transfer these to new containers to keep the food safe from freezer burn (this is when the cold pulls out some of the moisture in the food).
  • Pack like with like on each shelf and arrange according to use-by date. 


Words by: Sjaan Van Der Ploeg 
Photographs: Fresh Living Magazine, Shutterstock 

Also read: How to spring clean your pantry

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