Many households have completed or are completing their ‘spring cleaning,’ 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. It’s also extremely important to keep an inventory of what is inside the refrigerator and how long it’s 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 3 or 4 days. By 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, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit Rita at the Extension Office located at 701 S. I-35 E, Waxahachie, TX 75165; phone at 972-825-5175; or email at Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas cooperating.