Can Your Refrigerator Kill You?
Keep Your Fridge Safe
Tip: Stash hot leftovers in small, shallow containers and cool off in cold water or an ice bath for a short period before refrigerating because putting hot leftovers in the fridge can raise the temperature.
Organization 101: Where Does It Go?
On the door: It's about seven degrees warmer here, so this isn't the place for perishables like eggs, milk, or yogurt, no matter how perfect the fit. OK on the door: condiments, sodas, butter.
Inside shelves: Eggs (in the original carton), luncheon meats, leftovers, dairy products or any food that says "refrigerate when opened" are best here.
Organization 102: Where Does It Go?
Bottom shelf: The coldest part of the fridge, this is the best place to store fresh meats, fish, and poultry.
And, unsightly as open cans look, the hazards are minimal say scientists. Keep cans covered (with plastic wrap or plastic lids) to prevent contamination from airborne bacteria. And make sure to use up canned leftovers in 24 hours.
Weekly: Throw out expired perishables (produce, meats, leftovers). Use up leftovers within four days, meats within two.
At least twice a year: Unplug and do a thorough cleaning, storing foods in an ice chest or cooler. Wipe down shelves, produce drawers, and every nook and tight space with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. (Acids in vinegar fight mildew.) Avoid harsh and abrasive cleansers which destroy interiors and lend "off" chemical flavors to food by trying a mix of baking soda plus water for crusty stains.
Really bad odors? Do a thorough cleaning. Still not smelling fresh? Remove foods to another refrigerator and fill the offending refrigerator with rolled up newspapers. Turn off power; shut door and let stand for a few days. Throw out newspaper and do a thorough cleaning.