It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how many precautions you take, your fridge will always be susceptible to splashes and spillages. Cleaning a fridge is simply one of life’s inescapable truths, and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. But there are ways to make cleaning a fridge a lot easier.
Think of the process in terms of storage and prevention. You need to give storage in your fridge some logical thought, and you need to prevent the inevitable spillages from creating a real problem. And you can do both by implementing these relatively simple hacks for keeping a fridge clean and organised.
1. STORE EVERYTHING IN BASKETS
If you organise things correctly and with some logical thought, you should be able to arrange your fridge so that nothing sits directly on a shelf. Invest in some baskets that fit perfectly into the space available — the more baskets you can get on a shelf the better, but three works perfectly. When something spills, it will spill inside the basket, and it won’t make contact with any other food you have in the fridge. You can then simply put the basket in the dishwasher when it is in need of a clean.
2. USE PLASTIC PLACEMATS AS LINING
Every householder knows how hard it can be to clean hardened spillages from inside a cold fridge. But you can lighten the load of cleaning by using plastic placemats to line the shelves inside. Simple remove the mats and throw them into the washing machine when they get dirty — which is a lot easier and faster than removing entire shelves for cleaning.
3. STORE YOUR SALAD IN MASON JARS
Salad can deteriorate quite quickly — even inside a cold fridge. And if it is left for a period of time to decay, it can leave quite a mess. But you can prolong the life of your prepped salad by storing it in mason jars. This also allows you to prepare your salads a few days in advance, and portion them out ready for use.
4. USE PLASTIC MAGAZINE HOLDERS
Things can get a little crowded in fridges and freezers at times, and that makes accessing the food that you need quite tricky. But you can make access a simple case of pulling out what you need by storing flat items — such as frozen pizzas — in plastic magazine racks. When they get dirty, (yes, you guessed it) throw them in the dishwasher.
5. USE A COLOUR CODING SYSTEM
One of the most laborious jobs you will do when cleaning your fridge is sifting through its contents in search of spoiled or out-of-date food. But you can speed the process up very quickly by giving all the food in your fridge a specific colour. Select a colour for prepped vegetables, one for anything with a very short shelf life and one for items that can be stored for quite a while. You can even adopt a date dot system, which involves stickering every item with the day of the week on which it must be discarded.
6. USE ACTIVATED CARBON
Activated carbon absorbs unwanted aromas in your fridge far more effectively than household baking soda. Just place a small bowl of it at the back of your fridge, and smells should gradually be absorbed. You can buy activated carbon from most pet stores.
7. STORE COOKED FOOD IN AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS
If you prepare food and store it for later in the week, make sure you’re using airtight, plastic containers. Label the containers, and stack them in order of their ‘use by’ date. This will keep your food fresher for longer and reduce the chances of spillages and leakages to zero.
You don’t need to scrub your fridge every day in order to keep it clean and presentable. Just a little organisation and preparation should be enough to keep it virtually spotless at all times.