food storagePeople often think of the refrigerator as the backbone of every kitchen. In fact, being aware that routine refrigerator cleaning and maintenance is necessary to avoid food wastage and spoilage is one of the basic things one needs to know to earn a food handlers certificate. Keeping one’s fridge clean also prevents foodborne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria.

Maintenance Starts with Temperature Control

Refrigerators need to be set to the proper temperature to create a safe environment for food storage. Improper temperatures can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, after all. Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic bacterium that causes listeriosis, multiplies at an alarming rate when the fridge temperature is not set correctly.

Fridge temperatures should be no more than 20°C to reduce food spoilage and significantly slow the growth of bad bacteria. In addition, people should reassess the temperature of their fridge every season to ensure that food is at the correct temperature all year round.

Keeping the Refrigerator Door Closed

The right temperature is just one of the ways to maintain your fridge. Another way to keep food fresh while it’s in the refrigerator is to close its door properly. When fridge doors are left open, moisture could enter and accelerate the growth of anaerobic bacteria.

Furthermore, the fridge seal can deteriorate over time, resulting in higher energy bills and temperature instability. Thus, replace the gasket as soon as it wears out.

Proper Fridge Cleaning

Cleaning is the second way to prevent foodborne diseases. After shutting off the fridge, the first step in cleaning should be to take out all the food and place them in a cold container. Use hot soapy water to clean the shelves and kill any potential bacteria. Dry the inside of the fridge thoroughly before storing food back into their usual places.

Apart from regular cleaning and maintenance, proper planning can also keep away foodborne diseases. Power outages, for instance, can lead to food spoilage. Take all perishable items to the coolest parts of the fridge and keep the door shut until the power is back.