- 06 Apr 2018
The most effective way to clean and organise your fridge
Green clean your fridge and keep it cleaner for longer
Keeping a clean and functioning fridge is important for a number of reasons, from keeping food fresher for longer, reducing energy consumption and keeping the contents of your fridge safe to eat.
An unorganised fridge also tends to lead to food waste, so let’s get your fridge cleaning routine down, and get organised.
How often should you clean your fridge?
The outside, handle and seal
Make wiping down the outside of your fridge, the handle and the seal a weekly habit. This will help prevent bacteria from spreading around your kitchen and keep your fridge from becoming an eyesore. Plus, without regular cleaning, the seal can quickly become full of crumbs and other sticky, spilt substances.
The inside shelves and drawers
Conducting a more intense internal fridge clean is something you want to add to your monthly cleaning agenda. This will ensure you’re removing any mould, bacteria and any forgotten foods that might be perishing in the bottom of the vegetable drawer.
The condenser coils
An area of the fridge that you might not have thought about cleaning is the condenser coils that sit behind the fridge, against the wall. The coils are responsible for condensing the refrigerant that keeps your fridge cool. If the condenser coils become clogged with dirt and dust, they will work less effectively, meaning your fridge won’t be keeping your food as cool as it should, and you’ll likely be consuming more energy. You should think about cleaning your condenser coils 1-2 times a year. To do so, make sure you switch off your fridge and if you haven’t cleaned your condenser coils before, consult your manual or an expert.
What’s the best way to clean your fridge?
If you clean the outside of your fridge weekly, it shouldn’t take much work. Simply wet an ENJO Kitchen Fibre like the Allpurpose Cloth or the grease side of the Kitchen Glove with water, wipe the surface and let the fibre lift and trap dirt and bacteria. Simply dry with an ENJO Kitchen Miracle, which will give the surface a nice finish.
Start by removing the contents of your fridge. Carefully check the contents expiry dates, if you find foods that have perished, look to compost and recycle packaging where possible. Separate foods that you think can be salvaged, freeze anything that you won’t eat before the use by date. If you have greens that won’t last much longer, think about pickling, adding to a smoothie or cooking up and freezing for a later date. Root vegetables are great for roasting, freezing and adding to soups at a later date.
Once the contents of your fridge have been removed, you want to clean your fridge from top to bottom, but before you start, remove your vegetable drawer. Being at the bottom of the fridge, the vegetable draw tends to be the dirtiest area with the most stains, so add a little natural washing-up liquid and a couple of inches of warm water and leave to soak.
In the meantime, using a spray trigger bottle, spray the top shelf of the fridge with water, and use your ENJO Allpurpose Cloth to clean the surface. Work your way down to the bottom shelf and then move on to the door shelves. Remember to use your super absorbent ENJO Miracle to dry the surfaces, not only will this leave a clean finish, leaving the fridge dry will help prevent bacteria and mould from growing.
Get to work on your vegetable drawer. The warm water and natural detergent should have helped break down dried on stains and food residue, making life easier for your Kitchen Sponge to loosen and lift away the dirt. Rinse away any remaining detergent and use your ENJO Kitchen Miracle or Bamboo T-Towel to dry.
When cleaning in the kitchen, keeping things chemical-free is really beneficial as this is the area of the home you’re storing, prepping and cooking the food you consume. Spraying chemicals in a small, confined space like a fridge, means the residue will likely stay in the fridge among the foods you eat.
What’s the best way to organise your fridge for safety?
Now that your fridge is clean, it’s time to get organised with safety in mind. Professional kitchens organise their fridge based on the temperature the food needs to be cooked at, which is important to prevent cross-contamination.
For example, foods you keep in your fridge that require no cooking should be on the very top shelf, the reason being, you should be able to take said food out of the fridge and eat without worrying it’s been contaminated by another food product (like raw meat for example). Foods that require cooking at the highest temperature like chicken, should be at the bottom, that way, if the chicken becomes contaminated by another product in the fridge, you know you will be cooking the meat at a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria present.
How to keep your fridge organised and avoid waste
Tasks such as food shopping, cooking and cleaning-up generally generate waste, but the way you organise your fridge can help keep foods fresher for longer and help with keeping a greener kitchen by reducing waste.
This is where you want to store your foods that don’t need cooking. Keep items with the most recent use-by-date at the front.
The middle shelf is where you should store your dairy products including milk. Many people store their milk in the door of the fridge, when in fact the door shelves are the warmest area, so storing your milk on the middle shelf should keep it fresher longer. Use environmentally friendly wraps (like beeswax wraps) or airtight reusable storage containers for cheeses.
The bottom shelf if the coldest in the fridge and where you should store your raw meats and fish. Remember to store the meats that require cooking at the highest temperatures at the bottom, and where possible, store in airtight containers to prevent juices from leaking.
Your bottom drawer is for all your fruits and vegetables. Avoid plastic packaging when shopping for fresh produce, and if your fruit or veg is wrapped in plastic, remove (and recycle) before placing your produce into the draw. Keep more delicate greens and herbs away from the back of the draw, as this tends to be much cooler and can freeze your produce.
The door shelves of your fridge are the warmest area of the fridge, so it’s only really good for storing condiments and other products that already contain preservatives and are unlikely to perish.