Many households have completed their Ďspring cleaning,í but often the refrigerator is completely forgotten! †

The reality is that it is very important to keep refrigerators clean as part of a healthy lifestyle. Itís also extremely important to keep an inventory of what is inside the refrigerator and how long itís been there. †

Regular cleaning makes taking an inventory much easier.

A clean, well-organized refrigerator runs more efficiently, which saves money. †

A clean refrigerator will also smell and look better.† Cleaning the refrigerator regularly can help you and your family avoid eating foods that are no longer safe to consume.† More importantly, regular cleaning will eliminate much of the bacteria that can accumulate between thorough cleanings.

Taking a careful, regular inventory of the contents of your refrigerator can help you avoid buying something that you already have, which will save money.† Regular checks of your refrigerator will also enable you to check to make sure foods are sealed properly and to throw out leftover foods that have been stored for more than three or four days. †

Be sealing foods properly and discarding leftover foods that have been in the refrigerator too long, you will greatly reduce your risk of consuming spoiled foods.†† Not being sick will save you money!

Remember to check the expiration dates on dairy products, and also on eggs.† A helpful tool that some use to keep track of the amount of time leftover dishes have been in the refrigerator is to write the date you put the leftover item in the refrigerator on a piece of tape you have put on the container. †

So, play it safe for you and your family by remembering to clean your refrigerator weekly, as advised by USDA!

Rita Hodges is the Ellis County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences. Contact Rita at† 972-825-5175 or

Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.† The Texas A & M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.