November 15 has been dubbed National Clean Out Your Fridge Day according to the National Day Calendar. This annual event is observed in an effort to encourage people to clean their refrigerators out in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. Holidays aside, this national day is a good reminder to maintain a clean refrigerator for health and safety reasons as well.
We’re all guilty of tucking expired foods in the back of our refrigerators that turn into horrific science experiments overtime, right? Who hasn’t found sour milk, spoiled yogurt, or jars of soups and jams that have become chemical concoctions from time to time?
5 Things to Do on National Clean Out Your Fridge Day
National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is the time of year to take matters into your own hands when it comes to the status and well being of the contents inside your refrigerator. Whether you’re doing it to make room for your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, or you just want a clean fridge for your own sanity, here are practical things to do on National Clean Out Your Fridge Day.
1. Chuck expired food and beverages.
It probably goes without saying that expired food and spoiled beverages are just plain harmful to your health. Consuming something spoiled or expired has the potential to at the very least taste horrible, but at the very worst cause you serious health complications.
In some cases, eating expired food can cause food poisoning, which makes you susceptible to symptoms including vomiting, fever, dehydration, and diarrhea. In other cases, expired foods can develop mold, which can produce toxic substances that are very harmful to the human body.
To keep yourself and your family safe from these health complications, start observing National Clean Out Your Fridge Day by chucking anything that is expired and well beyond its suggested consumption date. Try not to feel guilty about food waste. It is in poor taste to throw food away, but vow to yourself that you’ll do better in the future by eating foods when they’re safest to consume.
Hopefully visually seeing all of the expired foods that you’re throwing away will make you realize just how precious our access to food is and will inspire you to eat foods in a more responsible manner moving forward. Best case scenario is that the expired goods in your fridge are slim to none!
2. Consider donating to local food drives.
If you have food sitting in your refrigerator that is unused and well within its recommended expiration date that you have no intention of eating, pack a box of these items and donate them to a food drive.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one third of the food produced in the world that is made for human consumption ends up being wasted or gets lost, annually. That is roughly 1.3 billions tons of food gone, per year. With staggering stats like these, waste not fellow twenty-something. If you bought food or beverages on impulse buys that you know you’re not going to consume, donate these unused, non-expired goods to support your local community and those in need.
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3. Clean your empty refrigerator.
Once you’ve cleared out expired and unwanted food, take this opportunity to give your fridge a thorough deep clean. Pick up a cleaning agent that is designed and safe for use on fridges.
Instead of a chemical cleaning agent, you could opt for natural ingredients like hot water, paste (think lemon juice mixed with baking soda), or salt water (used to kill germs).
These are great resources to give your fridge a bright, shiny, new appearance while also cleaning out built-up gunk and bacteria that has accumulated on the shelves.
4. Deodorize your fridge.
As embarrassing as it may seem to admit, many of us have experienced a stinky fridge now and again. Luckily, there are many cheap and easy ways to combat refrigerator odors in an effort to keep the appliance smelling fresh.
Consider picking up baking soda to deodorize your fridge. Brands like Arm & Hammer sell refrigerator air filters with baking soda to maximize on freshness.
There are also other natural ways to combat fridge odors including using freshly ground coffee, cotton wool soaked in vanilla extract, and more. Any of these methods are bound to greatly improve the odor and freshness of your refrigerator.
5. Don’t forget your freezer!
While it is not National Clean Out Your Freezer Day, the freezer itself is attached to the refrigerator and needs just as much TLC to stay clean and fresh.
Repeat steps like chucking expired foods and cleaning the freezer out. It is important to keep frozen food frozen during this process, especially meats, so keep frozen items in a cooler to maintain their frozen state while you deep clean your freezer. Refer here for more detailed steps on the proper care for your freezer.
While National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is not nearly as exciting as National Taco Day (October 4) or National Brownie Day (December 8), it is a very important day to observe. Follow these steps to practice food safety and appliance cleanliness. Not only is it a health concern, but this is good practice to keep your refrigerator organized and make sure it is operating properly.
What tips do you have when it comes to cleaning out your fridge? Share in the comments!
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