Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Next to grocery shopping,  yard work, and waking up early on a Saturday morning there’s almost nothing I despise more than cleaning out the refrigerator. Each time I’m brave enough to don my HAZMAT suit and take on this morbid task, I discover that during previous weeks, I have unknowingly cultivated new life forms by placing seemingly innocent leftovers inside of an average Tupperware bowl. I usually smell my frightening creation before I actually see it.

And why oh why when I suspect there’s even a remote possibility of foreign growth blanketing my leftover chicken marinara do I feel compelled to open the lid of the bowl and look at it? But it never fails. I always lift the cover, peer inside, and let out a horrified gasp. Why don’t I just skip that disgusting step and toss the entire container into the trash?

Well, partly because I’m cheap and don’t like buying new bowls all of the time so I generally end up cleaning, disinfecting, and reusing the container. And also because I consider scrubbing out the foul container retribution for my less than stellar fridge cleaner-outer habits. I deserve to see what I’ve done…

A few weeks ago was no different. We knew something evil was lurking in our fridge and despite my having scoured the entire unit from top to bottom, I couldn’t locate the source.

“Maybe it’s something in the freezer,” I told myself the next day after giving the refrigerator a complete bleach rub down. “Or maybe (gulp) something large and furry crawled into the motor of the fridge and died.”

The thought made me shudder. But the odor eminating from the fridge did indeed smell like a dead animal and I was starting to panick a little. Determined to identify the source of the stench I pressed on, purging the freezer of anything even remotely questionable (even pizza rolls). But the funk lingered.  I knew that if I couldn’t find the smelly culprit once and for all, I have to single-handedly  clunk the biohazard down the front steps and out to the curb for trash pickup.

The next day I decided to try a new angle for cleaning. Rather than scour the unit out shelf by shelf, I emptied the entire compartment onto the kitchen counter. Lo and behold, by the time I reached shelf number 3, I found the noxious problem. A small deviant container had slipped down the back of the shelving and contained inside of it was a sickly wad of pale gray hamburger I had intended to use in a batch of meatballs. Except I forgot about it.

I’m not sure exactly how I could have prevented that one. Labeling things, maybe? Keeping the meat front and center in the fridge so I don’t forget about it? Hindsight, it was almost like the hamburger purposed ducked behind the shelving in an attempt to avoid discovery.

All I know is that one horrifying piece of meat was enough to snap me into some better fridge-cleaning habits and there were a few things I knew I had to put into play so this would/could never happen again:

  • Clean out the fridge before shopping trip so that when I arrive home with fresh groceries, the old stuff wouldn’t be forgotten and hastily shoved to the back of the unit.
  • Wash interior with a good soap and water solution and wipe it dry.
  • Date and label leftovers as I place them in the fridge so there is never a question about the mysterious contents of a container.
  • Be thorough when cleaning out old containers. Make sure to always check way in the back of the fridge where things can get camouflaged (like my wayward hamburger).
  • According to the manual for my refrigerator, the temperature should be kept between around 36-39 degrees Fahrenheit to keep food safe. Set the freezer at 0 degrees.
  • Finally, if when you scan the fridge for a snack or meal ingredients you run across something questionable, throw it out IMMEDIATELY. Don’t tell yourself, “I’ll do it later.” I’m a champion at this and I think that’s what gets me in the most trouble.

Unfortunately, today is fridge-cleaning day, again. But despite my hatred for the task, before I commense with the duty I’m going hold up my right hand and say a “clean fridge” vow in front of the mirror. I will  promise myself  to never slip into slovenly refrigerator habits again.

Do you have any tips for keeping your fridge clean? What cleaning tasks do you dread at your house? Please comment!

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