Health Library

Categories > Diet and Nutrition > Healthy eating

Give your fridge a spring cleaning

Spring cleaning isn’t just about tossing that sweater you haven’t worn since 1980 or getting rid of dust bunnies in your living room. This spring, give your refrigerator the makeover it deserves while you’re cleaning out the rest of your home. You’ll not only be able to find your cheese easier, you’ll reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.

  • Adjust the temperature. Your fridge must be set at or below 40 F to prevent growth of bacteria that cause food poisoning.
  • Toss the old and the mold. Look at expiration dates and discard everything that’s expired, as well as mystery leftovers. Foods that are moldy are more unappetizing than dangerous, but it’s a good idea to get rid of breads or meats with moldy spots.
  • Check your cabinets. Some people don’t realize that condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise should be refrigerated after they’re opened. Discard open containers that are sitting in your cabinets and refrigerate your next container.
  • Clean and disinfect your refrigerator. Like your cabinets, toss any expired foods or ones that have been open for a while. And be sure to scrub down your refrigerator often to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Relocate your eggs. For maximum safety, keep them in their original carton in the back of the refrigerator, where it’s cool, instead of in the egg tray on the door, where it’s warmer.
  • Keep it covered. When placing leftovers in the fridge, make sure to cover food tightly, either with plastic wrap or by putting it in a container with a lid. You’ll avoid having items spill on shelves or having one item drip into another as you take something out of the refrigerator.
  • Give everything some space. Don’t pack your fridge so tightly that there’s no room for air to circulate; that’s necessary to keep everything uniformly cool.