Spring is just around the corner which means it’s time to start planning my spring cleaning activities. Top on my list this year is the kitchen. It’s important to give the kitchen a good food safety check and cleaning, especially refrigerators and freezers where raw meat, poultry and seafood is stored. There are three basic areas in cleaning a kitchen.
I always start with checking the shelf life of food in both the pantry and the refrigerator.
This is a good time to throw away foods that are losing their quality or have spoiled. For
a detailed listing of the shelf-life of foods, as well as a kitchen safety quiz, download the
free “Is My Food Safe?” app.
Make spring the time to begin new food safety habits. Once a week, make it a habit to throw out perishable foods that should no longer be eaten or even better, turn your leftovers into planned-overs and use them before they spoil.
Next, move to your refrigerator. You should routinely be cleaning your refrigerator, but spring is a perfect time to do a more detailed cleaning.
- Check that the refrigerator temperature is set to below 40°F. Purchase a refrigerator thermometer if you don’t have one.
- Keep the refrigerator clean always; this is a good time to look for unnoticed spills and
remove lingering odors. Wipe up spills and clean surfaces with hot, soapy water and
rinse well. If shelves, produce drawers, and door bins are removable, take them to the
sink and wash them there. Check to see that the door gasket still has a tight fit.
- To keep the refrigerator smelling fresh and help eliminate odors, place an opened box of baking soda on a shelf. Avoid using solvent cleaning agents, abrasives and any cleansers
that may impart a chemical taste to food or ice cubes, or cause damage to the interior
finish of your refrigerator. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wipe down the top and outside of the refrigerator. How does all that dust end up on
the top of my refrigerator? Since I’m only 5’2” tall, I can’t see that dirt unless I’m on a
chair reaching for something in the cabinet above the refrigerator.
The last area I clean are all the kitchen surfaces. Remove all items from your countertop and wash with hot soapy water. Sanitize your counter top by spraying the surface with a solution of 1 Tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Let the countertop air-dry. Clean all countertop appliances and decorative items before returning to the countertop.
This is also a good time to get rid of unnecessary items taking up room on your counters. I’m going to go minimal this year! Having a clean and sanitized kitchen will help reduce cross contamination in the kitchen, and minimize the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Now, to empty out all the kitchen cabinets…that’s work for another day! I think I’ll go outside and enjoy the spring sunshine.