8 Must-Dos When Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Stonyfield Organic. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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With spring on the horizon, you may be itching to clear out all the excess stuff you’ve been storing away over the winter. It’s the perfect time to start spring cleaning and really do a deep cleanse of those not-so-frequently cleaned areas like your refrigerator.

Even if you wipe out your shelves on a regular basis, the refrigerators can still accumulate a lot of “stuff” when you’re feeding a family. With snacks, meats, bottles, jars and bags of fruit and vegetables, your fridge can house enough food to feed a small village – literally – and all those things can get smelly and, well, just plain gross.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

However, cleaning the fridge isn’t just about wiping it down and washing the shelves. While that’s a part of it, cleaning the fridge can be a good opportunity to reorganize everything to help your life function in a more fluid way – especially when it comes to snacking and the kids.

I’ve partnered with Stonyfield Organic to share 8 must-dos when cleaning out and reorganizing your refrigerators. These tips will not only help you cleanse the refrigerator but hopefully one or two of them can help you eat a little healthier too.

Store food in coolers while you clean

Plan ahead and make sure you have some coolers ready to go for the food you want to keep. You won’t be throwing everything away and you’ll want to make sure that your to-keep food stays cool even if it takes a full hour or longer to clean out the refrigerator.

Use family friendly, food safe cleaners for spring cleaning

Because you’re spring cleaning the place that stores all your cool, eatable goods, you don’t want to use harsh cleaners. There are several cleaners you can make that will help you get your refrigerator shelves shiny and they will even allow you to scrub off that mystery liquid that’s caked on one of your shelves (at least). This all-purpose cleaner is my favorite:

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner:

  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. of baking soda
  • 5 tsp. of Dawn dish soap
  • .5 tsp. lemon juice

This will leave your refrigerator smelling nice and looking sparkly.

If there are baskets and shelves you can remove, take them out and run them through a sanitize cycle in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, soak them in the sink with a bit of dish soap and try the homemade cleaner on the tougher areas.

Also, to absorb odors on a regular basis, put a box of open baking soda in the fridge. Just remember to change it out every three months or you’ll have another smelly problem.

Toss out anything old

Go through the contents of your refrigerator with a fine too comb and when in doubt – throw it out! This is what spring cleaning is for! Purge it all.

Toss anything old like food from last week’s Chinese takeout, expired (or close to expired) condiments, older cheese, meat that’s at its expiration date (or freeze it) and almost finished or basically empty bottles of food.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Store each package of meat individually

For meat – chicken, beef, salmon – you want to keep each item wrapped in a bag or in a container of its own. Meat tends to leak and it’s one of the major contributors of the mystery liquid you just scrapped off your shelves. Adding this protective layer around the packaging will keep it from making a mess if it leaks. It will also keep it from contaminating other food that you may have sitting in the fridge solo like a bag of grapes or some leafy greens. No one wants chicken juice on their fruit.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Store a limited number of foods in the doors

The doors are the warmest places in the refrigerator. Each time the fridge is opened the door bears the brunt of the temperature reduction. This is fine place for condiments but try not to store lunch meat, fruits, vegetables and fresh cheese in the door.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Place kid-friendly and nutritious snacks within reach and at eye level

When you start putting food back in the refrigerator and get a chance to re-organize it, make sure to put kid-friendly snacks like fruit, Stonyfield Organic yogurt and vegetables at eye level and within reach. This serves two purposes:

  • Putting it at eye level makes kids (and you) see the healthier options first and makes it more likely you will reach for those options. Doing this allows you to cleanse your food choices as you’re cleaning the refrigerator, and will hopefully, help you to make better decisions when hunger strikes.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

  • Putting the foods within reach of your children means that you don’t have to abandon what you’re doing each time a child of a capable age wants a healthy snack.

For instance, my kids love Stonyfield Organic yogurt and it’s one of the items I always allow them to go for as a snack because it’s so nutritious for their little bodies. It is USDA Organic Certified and made with milk from pasture raised cows. It’s also gluten free and non-GMO project verified. Basically, it’s full of good things and leaves out the unnecessary stuff.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

We keep the Stonyfield Whole Milk Yogurt Pouches in two drawers so the kids can grab them for a mid-morning snack, an addition to lunch or an afternoon snack.

I also keep the Stonyfield Organic Snack Packs within reach too if they want a treat after dinner or we need to take a snack to-go. (I hide the Chocolate and Pretzel Snack Pack because those are for me and I don’t like to share. 🙂 )

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Thaw frozen goods safely

Once you have your refrigerator loaded up again, do your best not to introduce new messes to the shelves by thawing foods safety. Put anything frozen on a plate so you don’t have a reappearance of the mystery, sticky liquid.

Keep greens fresher

To make life easier during the week and for meal prep by washing and storing leafy greens ahead of time. Place them back in their containers or a re-useable container to help keep them fresh.

Must-Dos when spring cleaning your refrigerator

Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?

For more information on Stonyfield Organic, click here. For more information on the Stonyfield products, click here. And, for a full run down for the differences between the words natural, GMO free and organic, click here.

For more home tips, click here


  1. These are awesome tips! Thank you so much. Whenever I clean the fridge, it becomes an exercise in frustration. Which means I don’t do it very often. LOL

  2. These are all really great suggestions! My fridge is probably my favorite thing in the house and I used to clean it and organize it like it was my baby when we first got it. Now it’s looking pretty cluttered. I think it’s time to clean it again. haha.

  3. Great tips! There really is something super satisfying about giving your fridge a really good deep cleaning. Also a great reminder that I need to do this soon.

  4. Absolutely loving these tips and that homemade all-purpose cleanse recipe! You have me motivated to clean and organize my fridge!

  5. I need to clean my fridge, it’s getting a little gross. I’m pretty good about going through it on a regular basis and tossing old food/jars out, but I hate doing the big cleaning of the shelves. Guess this post is a hint.

  6. Those are some amazing tips. The refrigerator is one of the most important areas to focus on when you’re cleaning your kitchen. Will definitely keep all the points in my mind

  7. Such an awesome tips, I am doing spring cleaning myself. Your right the refrigerator accumulates stuff very easily. This year I am trying to clean the ref all the time to keep it neat and clean. Great post and thank you for sharing.

  8. These are great tips! We have 3 refrigerators and I hate cleaning them out, but I’m so glad when I do it. Your suggestions will help me to get motivated!

  9. Ugh I really need to spring clean my refrigerator! I probably still have the black eye peas form New Years. Please don’t judge lol but I’ll take your advice and throw everything out! Also i love the idea of a homemade cleaner!

  10. This is a good blog. here are several cleaners you can make that will help you get your refrigerator shelves shiny and they will even allow you to scrub off that mystery liquid that’s caked on one of your shelves. Builders Claremont


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