Action Line: 'National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day' is today
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Thursday, November 15, 2012
11/15/12 at 3:39 AM
Dear Action Line: With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now would be a good time to remind everyone to clean out their refrigerators before the holiday food arrives. - M.C., Sand Springs.
Nov. 15 is "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day," says the November issue of the OSU Extension Service newsletter "Strengthening Oklahoma Families" by Tracy Lane.
Thanksgiving leftovers soon will need your fridge, so now is a good time to give it a thorough cleaning, Lane writes. Decide that, "When in doubt, throw it out."
Empty it: Go shelf by shelf pulling everything out, checking expiration dates on everything from milk to meats and remember, when it doesn't smell or look fresh, pitch it. Some condiment packaging indicates it can be used within a specified time, usually stated as "best by" dates - after which they should be launched. Put the keepers on ice in a cooler.
Remove shelves and drawers: Take out all drawers and shelves and set them aside to warm up. Metal and plastic can be washed with hot water and dish soap right away, but cold glass and ceramic pieces must gradually warm up to room temperature before being washed with hot water, to prevent cracking and breaking.
Spill cleanup: Work top to bottom to keep drips off cleaned surfaces. Tough stuck-on spills need plastic, non-abrasive scrubbers, or in the case of dried liquid spills, it is necessary to lay a warm wet cloth over the spilled area long enough to soften it for removal. Rinse cloths well and use multiple cloths to ensure cleanliness. Pay special attention to the bottom crevices at the back of the refrigerator where spills gravitate. Wipe down the door's interior.
Freezer: If it's a self-defrosting freezer, it's likely the frozen food (kept at 0 degrees) will be fine, as is. If not and the freezer is a block of ice, move the frozen food to an ice chest and turn the refrigerator off to thaw. Be ready with towels to catch the runoff.
Sanitize: An easy-to-make disinfectant solution is one gallon of cold water and one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach. Mix these in a large bowl or container and dip clean, cotton cloths into the solution and begin wiping down the surfaces. Allow the solution to stay on the surface at least one minute to get the best disinfection. Then wipe dry with a clean, cotton cloth.
Organize: Once you've decided what to keep, organize it so that it's visibly enticing. Wash and prepare anything you can to make it grab-and-go friendly for healthy snacking or meals on the go between now and Thanksgiving - and finish it all up.
Outer surface: Starting from the top, wipe down and clean the exterior with hot water and mild dish soap. With stainless steel, use a soft, non-scratching rag and vinegar or a window cleaner to keep the surface shiny. Don't forget to clean the rubber gasket seal around the edges of the door using dish soap and warm water. Dirt and grime collect here and can cause the seal to crack.
Original Print Headline: 'National Clean Out Your Fridge Day' is today
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