How many times a day do you open your refrigerator? Have no idea, do you? We use our fridges so often, and yet maybe we’re not keeping it as clean as we should be. Here are six easy, foolproof ways to keep your fridge germ-free:
1. Monitor the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. Invest in an appliance thermometer and keep your refrigerator at a steady 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees, according to FoodSafety.gov.
2. Store food in their proper places. Keep raw meats on the lower shelf and, as they thaw, keep them on a plate with a lip to avoid dripping on other foods.
3. Don’t keep food past their expirations dates. It’s best to use foods with “sell by” dates only up to five days past that day. Check out our very own infographic to find our how long various food really lasts in your fridge.
4. Pay attention to how long you hold on to leftovers. Dishes with meat in them, such as lasagna or chicken and rice casserole, should only keep for three to four days.
5. Clean up spills as they occur. Once a week, wipe down the shelves and insides of drawers with soap and water.
6. Lastly, do a thorough cleaning annually. Unplug the refrigerator, empty the freezer and refrigerator (one at a time, to keep items at their coldest) and scrub the insides with baking soda and water. Return only the food items that have not expired, smell OK and do not appear to have freezer burn.