“I think something died in my fridge,” wrote my Takeout colleague Dennis Lee over Slack earlier today. After whispering a small prayer for whichever creature expired in the chilly depths, I popped into the kitchen to inspect my own fridge. I took a whiff. Aside from a months-old box of baking soda that needed replacing, nothing seemed terribly amiss. Sure, there was a thin layer of detritus near the crisper drawers, and my fridge door was lined with slightly sticky condiments—but other than that, all seemed pretty above-board. But the inspection did get me wondering: How often are you supposed to clean your fridge, really?
I’d like to think that I’m pretty good about keeping my fridge clean. It’s organized and relatively sparse, since I live alone and have ultimate dominion over my kitchen. Still, I probably only perform a deep clean once every six months or so. I messaged my coworkers to find out about their fridge-cleaning schedules, and Dennis agreed with my twice-annual assessment; Takeout editor in chief Marnie Shure, however, claims to perform a cursory cleaning every time she hosts guests who may reach into the fridge.
Curious, I turned to Google. The recommendations are confusing at best. The fridge authorities at GQ recommend spot cleaning your fridge as needed and deep cleaning every three to four months, removing the shelves and drawers and washing them with hot soapy water. That sounds reasonable—but then I saw that Taste of Home recommends wiping down your fridge shelves and drawers on a weekly basis. What’s a relatively responsible adult fridge owner to do?
Readers, I’ll turn to you on this one. How frequently do you clean your fridge? I mean really clean it? I know you can make some pretty miraculous discoveries in there, but a weekly deep clean just seems like too much. Let’s hear your thoughts.