The 10 Commandments of a Clean & Happy Fridge

published Nov 22, 2015
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

The difference between an organized fridge and a messy, stinky, ugly one is simple: Focus, discipline and a strong foundation of good ideas. We’ve collected ten excellent guiding principles for keeping your refrigerator clean, healthy and happy, and they’re all right here for you to implement at home.

Thou shalt keep it cool.

Set your refrigerator’s temperature to 40°F (5°C) or below.

Thou shalt label everything you freeze.

If it doesn’t come with a label, give it one. Add dates for extra credit.

Thou shalt use clear, airtight containers.

Airtight containers for leftovers and pre-prepped ingredients help prevent odors and spoilage. If they’re clear, it will also keep everything visible and organized.

Thou shalt wipe down weekly.

Once a week, wipe down the fridge doors, door seals, edges and handles with a wipe or a damp, soapy cloth.

Honor thy expiration dates.

Yes, generally, it’s fine to eat something a few days past its expiration. But make it a habit to regularly purge all the jam jars and salad dressings that have lived way beyond their “best by” date.

Remember the vegetable drawer and keep it clean.

Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t let that happen to your veggies. If you haven’t seen the inside of the vegetable drawer in a day or two (no judgement), check on it and remove anything that seems close to spoiling.

Thou shalt not mix drawers.

Don’t mix fruits, veggies and meats in the same crisper drawer to avoid contamination.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Thou shalt have a meat bin.

If you can spare a dedicated vegetable drawer for this, that’s great. If not, grab a clear plastic bin to store packages of raw meat to keep them separate from your fresh foods and to prevent any drips or spillage that might spoil your other foodstuffs. Keep that bin on the lowest shelf in the fridge.

Honor the fridge door as a place for condiments.

The shelves on the inside of the door are the warmest part of your fridge, so only condiments should go there, and not eggs or milk or anything else especially perishable.

Thou shalt tackle this 30-minute clean routine.

Every few months, take a half hour and give your fridge a deep clean by emptying it out and scrubbing everything down.