As promised, we’re tackling each appliance in the kitchen and breathing new (or extended) life into it. This month, it’s the cool kid in the room.
From the inside.
Start from top to bottom, remove items from one shelf at a time tossing expired food and condiments. Clean each shelf with hot soapy water either by removing it from your fridge (more thorough) or scouring it within reach (less of a pain). Avoid heavy abrasives; the glass can scratch. Wipe dry with a towel before placing items back. A paste made with baking powder and water can blast any stains to the sides of the refrigerator, which can happen with mysterious frequency.
Check the seals of your fridge doors by giving them a good wipe down. Your seal is in working order if a dollar bill can be held in place by the seal when the door is closed.
Good to know: Where you put food in the refrigerator can also have an impact on how long each item remains at its peak freshness. The coldest areas of the fridge are at the back, bottom, and in the deli drawer (if you have one). Things like dairy and raw meats should be kept in these areas. The door is a great place for butter, condiments, soft cheeses, and nut oils. Eggs should hang out where the temperature is most consistent, which is on the middle shelf.
Just as location is important, so is amount. Refrigerators run more efficiently when they are full. Think about it, all that cold stuff helps keep things cold.
To the outside.
Dirty condenser coils are a great way to run up your energy bills and shorten the life span of one of the most expensive appliances in your kitchen. Tackle the dust by giving them a gentle, yet thorough, cleaning twice a year. After you’ve determined where your condenser coils are located (on the back of the fridge or behind the bottom front grill), unplug the fridge and vacuum the coils with a brush attachment. You can also use a long-handled brush made for this purpose. Prepared to be a little alarmed—it’s amazing how much dusts finds its way into hidden places.
Water dispenser trays benefit from a good vinegar soak and a quick scrubbing with dish soap. And speaking of water dispensers, when was the last time you changed your filter? (Check your manual; it’s about as easy to do as changing your air filter on your furnace).
Take a moment to clean the top of the refrigerator, which usually collects the greasy dust that kitchens tend to generate. Hot soapy water will make short work of this task. If your fridge front is stainless steel, glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth work well together to help remove fingerprints. For tougher jobs, seek out a cleaner made specifically for stainless steel appliances.
Are there any tips we are forgetting?