Raise your hand if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to focus on your health. It’s arguably one of the most common resolutions we make, yet it’s one of the most difficult to achieve. One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to start in the kitchen — specifically the fridge. By giving your refrigerator a makeover, you can help to establish habits that will help you reach your goal. Here are the best tips we’ve found for cleaning your fridge in order to have a healthy New Year.
Empty the fridge
The first thing you need to do to give your fridge a deep clean is to remove everything. This includes all the food, condiments, and drinks. Anything that is highly perishable, such as raw fish or milk, should be kep in a cooler while you’re cleaning. Everything else can be collected on the counter. Once all the items are removed, take out the shelves and drawers. Set them aside and let them come to room temperature.
Throw out the bad stuff
As you’re removing food items from the fridge, toss anything that is spoiled or expired. Also throw out any jars with mystery sauces or foods that aren’t labeled. Now is also the time to assess other items in your fridge that may derail your diet plans for the New Year. If you’ve got trigger foods like sugary desserts or high-calorie drinks, then you may want to toss those as well.
Soak shelves and drawers
Once you’ve gone through all your food items and have decided what to toss and what to keep, it’s time to clean the shelves and drawers you’ve removed. Make sure they have come to room temperature before you begin so that they don’t crack or break. Wash them with warm, soapy water, dry them, and set them aside.
Wipe out the inside
Now it’s time to focus on the inside of the fridge. Wipe down the entire interior with soapy water using a soft cloth or sponge. If you’ve got any caked-on crud that won’t budge, then remove it with a paste made from water and baking soda. Use an old toothbrush to clean crumbs and debris from the rubber seal around the door. Then shut the door and let the fridge cool down again.
Spot clean the freezer
While you’re waiting for the fridge to cool, spot clean the freezer. Toss any items that are old, expired, or have freezer burn. Then wipe up any spills or crumbs.
Wipe down the outside
Once the freezer is clean, wipe down the outside of the fridge with soapy water and a soft cloth. Start from the top and work your way down. If your fridge is stainless steel, then use a cleaning product that is appropriate.
Reinstall and organize
Finally, put the shelves and drawers back in the fridge. As you’re returning your food items, wipe down any sticky jars or bottles. Organize your food so that you can clearly see what you have. Here’s a great rundown on how to optimize your food storage in your fridge.