Clean The Refrigerator for Mom this Mother's DayContact: Jennifer Holton
May 11, 2012
Lansing, MI- Put a smile on Mom's face as she opens the refrigerator to clean, sparkling shelves and a fresh smell. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today stressed the importance of frequently cleaning your refrigerator, and suggested doing so this month as a Mother's Day gift.
"Clean kitchens, including work surfaces, sinks and refrigerators, are an important first step toward preventing foodborne illness," said Kevin Besey, MDARD's Food and Dairy Division Director. "Spring is the perfect time to clean out your refrigerator, and what better gift can you give Mom for Mother's Day than the gift of food safety and a healthy home environment?"
Many refrigerators and freezers on the market today do not require defrosting, but there are some older units in homes that still require periodic defrosting. When refrigerators or freezers have been turned off, it is important to keep frozen foods from thawing and refrigerated foods cold. To do this, use a cooler with a cold pack inside and cover it with a blanket for insulation. Refrain from using objects that could damage the inner lining of your freezer such as an ice pick, knife, sharp objects, or an electrical heating device to remove ice.
Dispose of all perishable items that should not be eaten. A general guideline is throw away raw poultry and ground meats after one to two days and cooked leftovers after four days.
When cleaning, follow the manufacturer's guidelines to prevent damage to the interior finish of your refrigerator, but avoid using solvent cleaning agents, abrasives, and cleansers that may add a chemical taste to foods or ice cubes. Clean the exterior of the refrigerator with a soft cloth and a mild dishwashing detergent, cleansers, and polishes for appliances. The condenser underneath the front grill should be vacuumed several times throughout the year and the front grill should be free of dust and lint.
Place an opened box of baking soda on a shelf to eliminate odors and keep the refrigerator smelling fresh. If food has spoiled in the refrigerator, odors can be removed by the followings procedure (these steps may need to be repeated):
- Wipe the inside with equal parts of vinegar and water.
- Wash the inside with a water and baking soda solution; scrub gaskets, shelves, door, and sides. Allow the refrigerator to air out for several days.
- Stuff the refrigerator with rolled newspapers and close the door for several days. Remove the paper and clean with vinegar and water.
- In the bottom of the refrigerator, sprinkle coffee grounds on a shelf or place them in an open container.
- Soak a cotton swab with vanilla and place in the freezer for 24 hours with the door closed.
- Purchase a commercial cleanser from a hardware or housewares store and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Maintain the cleanliness of the refrigerator by wiping up spills immediately and cleaning surfaces with hot, soapy water; then rinsing. Get in the habit of throwing out perishable food items once a week.
For more information on food safety, visit www.michigan.gov/mdard or www.usda.gov.
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