So yesterday I admitted that our fridge is gross a lot of the time, and that I had sought the guidance of an unnamed household guru, today we’ll call her “Smartha,” in an effort to properly combat that problem. Unfortunately, Smartha apparently lives in a Utopian world where mess and thus children do not exist. Still, her advice is not completely without merit. It’s great for a laugh.
If you caught yesterday’s post you’ll recall that we’d pulled out the fridge, “cleaned” its coils, and left the refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen while we went out to dinner. If you didn’t catch yesterday’s post , you should because you get a great glass of wine at the end of it.
Today we will continue considering Smartha’s wise advice and my real life experience. Maybe this’ll help you clean your refrigerator. Maybe it’ll just give you a smile. Maybe it’ll convince you that the only truly feasible way to get a clean fridge is to move to a new home that comes with a brand new one.
On to step #2: empty the contents.
“Empty the contents,” Smartha says. Sounds so simple. It probably is at her house. Clearly, she’s never seen our refrigerator at the end of the week. I’m willing to bet that Smartha can “empty the contents” of her fridge, uh, refrigerator in a matter of minutes, even while wearing a ball gown and satin evening gloves.
It takes me most of the day to empty our refrigerator, while wearing a HazMat suit and carrying a chisel and a stun gun.
As I am pulling, prying, and purging items from our fridge I’m also trying to figure out whether to keep each item. I’m sure there is nothing questionable in Smartha’s refrigerator. Sometimes there is nothing in ours that’s NOT questionable. Sometimes the stuff in ours is in fact capable of answering questions.
If your questionable items can’t talk yet consider the following as you decide which should stay, which should go, and which should have gone last week.
If you can’t tell what it is or was, throw it out.
If you no longer own any dishes matching the one it’s in, throw it out.
If you don’t remember making, much less eating it, throw it out.
If it wiggles on its own and you can catch it, throw it out. If not, just lock the back door after it makes a run for the yard.
Step three in this simple process, according to Smartha, is to add 2 tablespoons of baking soda per 1 quart of hot water, and then use a clean, soft cloth dipped in this solution to gently wipe down and refresh the inside of the refrigerator.
No problem at all. It’s easy. All I need to do is figure out what happened to my four sets of measuring spoons, interrogate my pack until someone cracks and admits they took the baking soda to conduct science experiments in their room, locate a bucket (read: empty ice cream tub. Buckets disappear within minutes of arriving at our home from the hardware store, never to be seen again. I’ve actually bought a tub of ice cream several times simply because we needed a new bucket.), and figure out how many quarts the bucket, which is always labeled only in metrics, holds.
I then need to locate a “clean, soft cloth,” which could very well end up being sandpaper, steel wool, or a flame thrower, depending on what state of fossilization the puddles in our refrigerator have reached. A “soft cloth” doesn’t really cut it in our refrigerator. I need something a bit more weapon-like to show those spills I’m serious, and to scare them into submission.
I might have even substituted baby wipes and a potato brush for the hot water/baking soda/clean soft cloth setup once while cleaning out our fridge when my MIL was due to arrive shortly. Ok, maybe more than once.
The important thing to remember at this stage in the process is to get the interior surfaces clean. And, that if all else fails, you can rent a sand blaster at most home improvement stores.
And, don’t forget to plug your fridge back in after you’re done with all that wet work. I’ve tried using ours unplugged. It doesn’t work nearly as well. And, the repairman laughs at you.
Lastly, and I don’t know why Smartha doesn’t include this as a full-fledged step with its own number and everything, everything has to go back into the fridge. Smartha suggests grouping like items together and designating shelves for the different types of products you keep in your refrigerator.
I do that, too. For example, the back of the top shelf is for sauces we used one blop of in a recipe sometime in the last three years and haven’t even opened since, but can’t throw out because they’re too expensive. This back of the top shelf placement ensures that a bottle will occasionally slip behind the shelf, slide down behind all of the other shelves, land on its side and slowly leak out all of its smelly, staining contents over the course of a week, making it look and smell like our refrigerator died of a stab-wound.
The meat drawer is where we keep cheese we’re trying to turn into fossils. We also keep deli meats there until their winter coats have grown in.
The crisper drawers are where we keep crisp plant parts until they are not so much crispy anymore as they are a brownish liquid. Then, we set them free.
We use the shelf above the meat drawer for eggs. Our leftovers are stored behind the eggs until they sprout legs and walk to the front of the shelf and ask to be eaten. The leftovers, that is. The eggs don’t usually sprout legs although sometimes they do seem to be sending out tentacles.
The beverage shelves in the door are used for gallons of milk and round fruits of all sizes at our house. When you remove a gallon of milk you start off a pinball like game of “Where will the fruit land?” It’s great fun, as long as you don’t mind having cantaloupe guts land on your foot occasionally.
After I get everything back into our fridge I like to stand there with the doors open and just stare into it, gleaming, clean, and tidy, knowing lovely though it is, it won’t last.
The last time I cleaned out our fridge was no exception. I closed the door, ever hopeful that the clean would last. It shut with an odd “splosh” sound that both piqued my curiosity and filled me with a sense of dread.
I slowly re-opened the door to find what looked to be a CSI crime scene. Red was splattered up the walls, throughout the interior and across the gallons of milk in the door. I followed the splatter pattern down until I found the victim crammed part way under the lower crisper drawer, an obvious “death by squishing between door shelves and crisper handle” victim.
I wasn’t surprised. After all, it’s always something.
But, I was upset. I nearly cried. That was my last non-liquefied, non-fuzzy tomato!
Laugh Out Loud!
How much personality does your fridge have? I look forward to hearing all about it, so please shoot me a comment!