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It’s time to make space for holiday hosting season! Not make space as in preparing ourselves mentally, although that’s probably a good idea with in-laws and everyone who’s coming to analyze our cooking skills…  We mean make space inside the refrigerator for all the ingredients and prepared dishes we’ll be storing there for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve, and… well, let’s get started. Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day is Nov. 15 and there’s no time to waste! Here’s how to clean out your fridge step-by-step.

  1. Dress the Part If you don’t have a full biohazard protection hanging in your closet, put on dish gloves and old clothes you’re not afraid to get dirty.
  2. Assemble Cleaning Tools Once you’ve emptied the fridge, you need to wipe down the interior. Get your cleaning supplies ready first so you can waste no time returning those good items back into a cold refrigerator interior. All you need are a sponge, washrag, or paper towels; a small bucket of clean soapy water; and dry towels for drying the shelves after cleaning.
  3. Make Temporary Cold Storage Do you have fresh items in your fridge that you don’t want to throw away? You can place them in a clean cooler or kitchen sink with a little ice while you’re cleaning. They’ll be fine outside the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  4. Prep for Destruction Grab a fresh garbage bag for your kitchen trash can or find an old box you can toss right into your outdoor garbage bin. Open the refrigerator door and set your trash receptacle next to the open fridge.
  5. Seek & Destroy Bad Food Items Start with the top shelf and work your way down. Examine every item and fill your trash receptacle with anything that’s moldy, soured, expired or no longer edible for whatever reason. Don’t hold back! Items that are good, go right into your temp cold storage. Don’t forget to look through everything stored in the refrigerator door and in the drawers, too!
  6. Wipe Out the Gunk Once the fridge is empty, dampen that sponge in soapy water and wipe down every shelf. Work top to bottom. Remove the drawers for a good cleaning and rinse under the kitchen faucet then set them on a towel or dish rack to dry. Wipe the interior walls and door, too. Make sure to dry everything off.
  7. Replace the Good Stuff Now that your fridge is sparkling clean inside, you can replace the items you saved. If they’re gunky on the outside, wipe them down, too, before you put them back.
  8. Take Out the Trash Tie off that garbage bag or close up that box and dump all that old food in the outside bin so it can all be hauled away.
  9. Stretch & Relax Once you’re back inside, do some stretches to relax your back. Take off those dish gloves and wash your hands. Put on some fresh jammies and relax after a productive cleaning session.

And that’s how your clean out your refrigerator step-by-step (in less than 10 steps)! If yours is too toxic to be saved… We may have the perfect new refrigerator for you to replace it with.