How often should you clean your fridge?

January 1st at 9:25am
How often should you clean your fridge?

The history of the Refrigerator Cleaning Day

Nowadays we often have only limited time for housework and hygiene is often neglected.

The Clean My Fridge Day was launched by Whirlpool in 1999 and takes place on November 15th. It encourages households to clean their fridges and make room for the festive season.

The bacteria in our refrigerators, our hidden flatmates

To everyone's satisfaction, these cold storage rooms are present in nearly every home in the world. No more diseases due to food conservation issues.

Is this really true? Not quite, since our refrigerators allow us to store food longer than they did in the past, but not for eternity.

Why? Have you ever had an unpleasant smell in your nose when you opened the fridge? Have you discovered green spots on your food? If you have, that's because after some time, food begins to deteriorate, even in your fridge. Bacteria that feed on our steaks, fresh pasta and cheese begin to multiply in an environment that is favourable for them. The visible signs of this bacterial proliferation are odours and moulds.

Ideal conditions for the reproduction of bacteria consist of

  • Nutrients (food)
  • Water (humidity)
  • Oxygen
  • Energy (temperature between 8 and 60 degrees)

Perfect, everything is fine, as these conditions are not met in a well-functioning fridge! Well.... Are you sure?

  • Below -18 degrees the bacteria sleep and do not breed.
  • Between 0 and 4 degrees they reproduce slowly.
  • From 4 degrees the growth is intensified!

Increase of bacteria according to the inside temperature in the refrigerator


So how do you arrange the food inside your fridge?

As you can see on the illustration, the bacteria living in our fridges multiply very quickly, except for the coldest areas, which are around the middle or on the top shelf!

Refrigerator compartments by temperature and type of food


The consequences of bacterial proliferation can be harmful to health: buccal or intestinal fungi that cause diarrhoea or even more serious food poisoning such as listeriosis, staphylococcal infections, salmonella.

In order to ensure that they remain in small quantities, some food conservation rules must be strictly implemented in practice.

4 essential rules for the ideal storage of food in the fridge

1) Never freeze a product twice. Once a product is defrosted, it must be consumed within 48 hours.

2) Never store food in the fridge for too long (see table below for shelf life of food).

3) Do not overload your fridge. Overloading blocks the circulation of cold air within the stored food and causes the temperature to rise.

4) Always store the various foods in the appropriate area of the fridge according to their average storage time.

Shelf life chart of various foods in the fridge

Storage time of food in the fridge


And finally... How often does the inside of the fridge need to be cleaned?

Cleaning your fridge twice a month helps to keep it tidier and eliminates most of the bacteria that have bred inside.

If you've finished with your fridge and fancy doing some more cleaning, we've created the ultimate guide to get your kitchen shining in less than 20 minutes.

To learn more about how to clean your fridge, you can watch our tutorial.