HOW TO CLEAN AND DISINFECT A REFRIGERATOR
What You Need
Bacteria love warm temperatures, which is why the refrigerator is a modern food storage appliance we all have but might not always be thankful enough for. As long as your refrigerator is set at 40°F or below, your foods will be less likely to become bacterial breeding grounds. This isn't a foolproof method for contamination prevention, however, and your refrigerator should be deep cleaned and disinfected at least once every two weeks to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria.
According to the CDC, Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. Salmonella is easily transferred from raw food to other surfaces by improper handling, as well as contact with kitchen surfaces and equipment.
The critical first step in any disinfection process is to thoroughly clean your surfaces. Cleaning a refrigerator with an all-purpose cleaner removes stubborn stains and soils, which brings any bacteria out of its hiding place. A disinfectant can then be used to eliminate the germs that have been exposed by your cleaning.
Don't forget, all disinfecting products need to stay wet on the surface for a specific length of time to kill bacteria and viruses. This is referred to as "kill time", "dwell time" and/or "contact time" which you can find listed on the label instructions. If it dries before the kill time is met, then you haven't actually disinfected anything.
Wipes are commonly used for disinfecting the inside of a refrigerator because they seem convenient. These often require that surfaces remain wet for up to 10 minutes in order to be effective, and keeping a surface wet with disinfecting wipes can be more difficult than you might think. Many of them contain alcohol, which can cause the liquid to dry quickly, thus not meeting the required kill time.
A fast-acting spray-application disinfectant will allow you to disinfect the hard-to-reach areas that wipes can't, and ensures that the surface remains wet for the proper time so germs are, in fact, killed. An EPA-registered disinfectant can eliminate Salmonella, E. coli, Staph, cold, flu and other illness-causing bacteria in 2 minutes or less, remaining wet and active on surfaces long enough to do its intended job.
TIP: Keep an open box of baking soda on the bottom shelf of your fridge to absorb odors between cleanings.
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