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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keeping the Fridge Clean and Fresh!

I love me an empty refrigerator. This is a weird example of how my neurotic tendencies (a desire for cleanliness) overcome my survival instincts (having food to eat). It’s weird, but seriously, when the fridge is half-full (or would that be that half-empty?) it makes me happy! But, I’ll admit, my fridge is not always in such a clean, empty state. At any given moment we most certainly have food in there that needs to be tossed and I definitely don’t wipe down the shelves as often as I should. Let’s not even get started on the fingerprints on the outside of the fridge!

tips for keeping the fridge clean and fresh from @janemaynard

But here’s the thing – when I do properly maintain the fridge, keep the food fresh, and the drawers and shelves clean, I feel sooooo much better! And we have far less food waste. So, today, in order to inspire us all to maintain beautiful refrigerators and to eat all of our food, I think we need to share some fridge tips and tricks with each other!

As you know, about a year ago KitchenAid supplied us with a brand new, beautiful 20 Cu. Ft. French Door Counter Depth Architect Series II fridge. One year later and I am still loving this fridge. And, yes, I’m still happy that we have a counter-depth fridge, although I will admit that it’s been nice having our old fridge in the garage for overflow at the holidays and to house the occasional larger item like a birthday-cake-in-the-making. Anyway, the fridge is fabulous and, now that I have a fridge I actually care about, I’ve gotten into a better groove about maintaing the fridge and keeping our food fresh. Here are a few of the things I have learned!

  • Replacing the Water Filter is Easy, So, You Know, Do It! I don’t know how many people I know who don’t use the water dispenser in their fridge because they stopped replacing the filter. Luckily our fridge tells us when to order a water filter. We listened to our fridge and went online to order the filter, which arrived right around the time that the fridge said it was time to replace the filter. It was kind of magical. Anyway, it was really easy to replace and I even did it ALL BY MYSELF, no help from Nate. (This is saying something, I normally don’t put anything together in our house, not even LEGOs.)
  • Don’t Use Cleaners on Stainless Steel – A Damp Cloth is All You Need! Okay, I’m sure a lot of you already know this, but when my fridge was brand new I used a mild general-purpose spray cleaner and the entire front of the fridge ended up with tiny rust marks ALL OVER IT, which I then had to carefully scrub off with baking soda and a soft towel. I opened the manual afterward and, sure enough, it says to only use cleaners made for stainless steel and nothing else. DUH. Now I just use a damp towel to wipe down the stainless steel, followed by a dry towel. I don’t even bother with the stainless steel cleaner, water does the trick!

how to use the humidity controls on the crisper drawer from @janemaynard

  • Use the Humidity Controls on the Crisper Drawers. For some reason I could never wrap my brain around the humidity controls on produce drawers, but I finally have it figured out. The higher the humidity control (so on my fridge #5), the more sensitive the veggies and fruit should be in that drawer. So, you know, high maintenance produce gets a high setting. Like lettuce. The lower the humidity control (on my fridge #1), the heartier, more low-key the produce, like fruits and veggies with peels. I guess if you really don’t want to think about it just throw the setting in the middle and call it a day, but if you decide to utilize the settings, your produce will last longer!
  • Clean Out the Fridge Once a Week (for example, when you plan your weekly menu!).  Fridges packed with food seriously stress me out. I know, I’m weird. But they do. I try really hard to stay on top of it and keep food cleaned out that has gone bad. When I can actually see what’s in the fridge, we are much more likely to eat the food inside and end up with far less food going bad.
  • Wipe Out the Fridge Regularly, and Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Shelves and Drawers Out. Sometimes I wipe the shelves and drawers out frequently. Sometimes I neglect them and then we discover a giant blob of sticky goo underneath the produce drawers. I find that if I just wipe out the shelves each week when I clean out the old food, then it’s pretty easy. And the mystery goo blobs don’t appear nearly as often.

kitchenaid extendfresh temperature control system from @janemaynard

  • Get a Fridge with a Temperature Management System. When we got our fridge I’ll admit I didn’t think much about what KitchenAid’s “ExtendFresh Temperature Management System” meant. Now that I have had the fridge for a year I really appreciate it! The system controls the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer compartments separately, it responds to temperature changes as small as 1º and adjusts accordingly, and the fan transfers cold air immediately from the freezer to the fridge for a faster response to temperature changes without needing to turn on the compressor. The system also maintains consistent temperatures, regardless of external temperatures or even the temperature in other compartments inside the fridge. Basically, it’s a super fancy system and it works GREAT. There’s even an alarm that alerts you if the temperature goes too high, which happened to me just the other night in fact! The door was barely open when we went to bed, but it didn’t trigger the door alarm for some reason. Once the temperature raised enough, the fridge started beeping and woke me up, but not before I dreamed about the fridge and it’s alarm first. 😉

So, what gems of refrigerator wisdom do you have for us? Spill your fridge maintenance guts! (Feel free to confess your less-than-perfect maintenance skills, too!)

This post was sponsored by KitchenAid. All opinions are 100% my own.


18 Comments »

  1. I love that our Whirlpool refrigerator has the water filter too, since we have such hard water where we live.
    I use a super soft microfiber cloth and the Affresh Stainless Steel Cleaner and a little elbow grease to keep the outside of mine clean 😉

  2. 2
    masscoast

    consumers beware! Kitchenaid refrigerator overall quality and dependability has fallen dramatically in last 5 years. Check Consumer Reports BEFORE you buy. I have a two year old refrigerator like the one described above and already have had a compressor replaced. The Kitchenaid cooktop, bought at the same time, has also died within the first two years. The refrig was under warranty (after a fight), but the cooktop was not. Kitchenaid does very little to stand behind their product. Too bad.

  3. Sounds like a beautiful fridge. Love Kitchenaid appliances. Most of our kitchen is Kitchenaid stainless steel. I have never tried water and a microfiber towel. I use stainless steel cleaner and a microfiber towel. Must try the water idea. Thanks for sharing. Great tips!

  4. I adore my KitchenAid refrigerator and all my KA appliances, really. I’ve never had an issue and I work them hard!

    These are great tips. I always clean out my refrigerator before a big holiday; it makes me feel on top of things, at least in one department.

  5. 5
    Rachel U

    Keeping my fridge clean and organized is so hard for me for some reason! I need to be better at it.

  6. Oh man, I have soooo much fridge envy right now. Yours looks beautiful! I love the sound of a counter-depth one too. Officially adding it to my dream kitchen wish list. Thanks for the great tips!

  7. 7
    debbie

    I need a new fridge badly…i hate our fridge, need one like this!!!

  8. Great tips! I want to clean my fridge now!

  9. What a beautiful fridge! Mine is in a sad state right now. I’ve collected way too many condiments, taking up too much space. I desperately need to make use of them to clean up the fridge for a fresh start!

  10. 10
    Irvin

    So my method is pretty much cram as much as I can in the fridge and hope that it all fits in an oddball Tetris method. Perhaps the next time you come over you can organize mine! Ha! Because I’m sure that’s what you want to do with your spare time in SF. Organize my fridge. But I love the handy tips you gave us!

  11. I’ve been thinking about getting a new fridge and putting the old one in the garage. This beauty would look great in my kitchen.

  12. 12
    Nicole

    I need to start using your tips AND get me one of those shiny refrigerators!

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