How to Clean and Disinfect a Refrigerator
The convenience of refrigeration is a major benefit in modern society, enabling us to preserve foods for several days without much risk of foodborne illness resulting from dangerous bacterial growth such as Salmonella, E. coli and beyond.
According to the CDC, Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses in the U.S., with over 450 deaths and 1.2 million illnesses being reported each year as a direct result of salmonella infection. People can become infected when they come in contact with bacteria from Salmonella-contaminated foods such as beef products, poultry, eggs and egg products. Salmonella is easily transferred from raw food to other surfaces by improper handling, as well as contact with kitchen surfaces and equipment.
Bacteria loves warm temperatures, and grow fastest between 40° – 140°F, which is considered the bacterial "Danger Zone." 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 disinfected at least once every two weeks to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria.
Remember, 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. Illness and disease-causing pathogens could still be lingering. Be careful, as this kill time can vary even between products made by the same company.
Many disinfectants (including wipes) also contain alcohol, which can cause the liquid to dry quickly. This can make it difficult to keep the surface wet without re-wiping multiple times, so you're better off using a spray disinfectant cleaner.
People commonly use disinfecting wipes because they seem convenient, but they 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. This can make it difficult to keep the surface wet without re-wiping multiple times, resulting in a potential waste of both time and money.
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
- Remove gross filth or heavy soil prior to application of Simple Green Clean Finish Disinfectant Cleaner.
- Apply product with a hand pump trigger sprayer. Hold sprayer six to eight inches from the surface to be treated.
- Spray area until it is covered with the product.
- Allow surface to remain wet for 2 minutes. No scrubbing necessary.
- Allow treated surfaces to air dry or wipe off with clean cloth.