The end of the summer is a perfect time to declutter your fridge. All those impromptu barbecues, ice cream parties, late night fast food runs, TikTok recipe experiments, and leftover vacation foods have probably filled your refrigerator with all kinds of random items. If a funky, unidentifiable odor is emitted each time you open the fridge door, it’s definitely time to do some clearing out. Follow our step-by-step guide and in a few hours, your fridge will feel spacious, clean, and fresh. Just in time for the busy holiday season that is just around the corner!
- Clear it all out. Make space on your kitchen counters and kitchen table, so there’s a place to put all the contents. Then take everything out of your fridge. If it’s a hot day, you can bring in a large cooler and put more perishable items inside (e.g., dairy, mayonnaise, and eggs).
- Pull out everything in your refrigerator that is a separate item: shelves, crisper bins, deli drawer, egg bin—wash with dish soap and warm water, and set it in your emptied dishwasher or on your kitchen counters to air dry. If it’s something that doesn’t fit in the sink, spray down and wipe well using the supplies in #3.
- Wipe down every visible surface in your fridge’s interior. We like a non-toxic mix of 3 parts hot water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle. This, along with a good microfiber cloth and a non-abrasive scrubber sponge, will get your fridge’s interior de-grimed, degreased, and smelling fresh.
- Once everything in #2 and #3 are clean and dry (you may have to hand dry them), replace all the parts back into the refrigerator.
- Methodically replace the food back into your refrigerator.
- Always check the expiry date; toss anything that’s past that date.
- Organize and replace items by group, such as all condiments in the left door, all dairy and deli in the deli drawer, all liquids on the main shelf.
- Repeat steps #1-5 for your freezer.
- We all have those items that have been in the freezer too long and are past their edible date, even if they’re not necessarily expired. Use this foodsafety.gov guide to know what to toss.
- Once the interior is purged and cleaned, you should do the exterior as well. Remove everything on the outside of the fridge and clean the surfaces. Review each item and decide if it can go, or if it still deserves a place of honor on the fridge.
Your recycling, compost, and waste bins may have gotten filled up, but now your fridge is looking (and smelling) fabulous!