If ever there were a time, spring is the perfect opportunity to clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Keeping a clean kitchen can be a challenge thanks to the messy items and actions it contains, but creating clean, hygienic spaces to store your food is absolutely essential. If your refrigerator door is sticking shut or your pantry shelves are gritty, it’s time to clean them out and start fresh for spring! Here's a step-by-step plan.
- Know the level of your personal cleaning motivation. If it tends to be short, clean out the pantry and refrigerator on different days. Otherwise, you can knock out both the fridge and pantry at the same time.
- Choose a cleaning day when your shelves are relatively bare, preferably the day before a big grocery shopping trip.
- Prepare to clean: you’ll need a large trash bag, a natural multi-surface disinfecting kitchen cleaner, cleaning cloths and ice chest for storing cold items while you clean.
- Unplug your refrigerator and clean underneath it. If you haven’t vacuumed the coils on the back in the past year, do so now.
- Take everything out of your refrigerator or pantry. Toss any food items that are past their expiration date and recycle their packaging. Make a mental note of food items that have gone to waste so that you don’t buy them again in the future.
- Set aside a box or bag for food donations of non-perishable items. As you clean, consider sharing the wealth of groceries that you have and make a stop by the food bank after you’ve finished.
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- Take out any removable parts from your refrigerator and wash them by hand in your sink with warm water and soap. Glass and ceramic shelves will need to “de-chill” first, and wearing plastic gloves will help to grip and prevent slipping. Let air-dry.
- Once everything is removed from your refrigerator and pantry, spray down the interior with a multi-surface spray and wipe it all down. Don’t miss the odd places like the pantry walls, the underside of pantry shelves, the inside of doors, refrigerator shelf seams, rubber door seals and the freezer.
- For stuck-on grime, use a scrubber or toothbrush. You can also lay a hot, wet cloth on dried spills for a few minutes and they will loosen right off.
- When you have cleaned and disinfected everything, dry it all very well with a soft cloth to make sure that all the dampness is gone.
- Plug your refrigerator back in, and return all food items to the shelves of your pantry and fridge. Organize items by content, and place messy bagged food into reusable glass or plastic containers for a neater look. Hide unhealthy foods towards the back of the shelves and bring nutritious options to the front.
- Clean the outside of your pantry and refrigerator with the multi-surface solution, and don’t forget the top of the fridge! If you have a stainless steel appliance, be sure to use a microfiber cloth and a diluted vinegar solution for cleaning the exterior surfaces.
- Add new, opened boxes of baking soda to the shelves of both your pantry and refrigerator to remove odors.
- Make yourself lunch and enjoy your new, clean kitchen spaces.