Here’s how often you should really clean your freezer

Let’s start with the good news. Cleaning your freezer is not as difficult as you might think! Modern freezers have plenty of adjustable parts for easy wiping. But the bad news? You still have to clean it—and often. Here’s how to clean a freezer:

What to clean weekly

Once a week or so, you can simply wipe down the shelves and nooks and crannies of your freezer. Fill a bowl with hot water and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Dip a washrag or sponge into the solution and wipe down the interior surfaces of your freezer. Pay close attention to the door seal, which can be a trap for crumbs and other food debris. This is a quick job, so there’s no need to empty the freezer or turn off the unit.

By consistently wiping down your freezer, you’ll have a more manageable job when it’s time for a deep clean.

What to clean occasionally

About once a month, you should take an inventory of your freezer contents, making sure to keep in mind how long food lasts in the freezer. Because freezers are for long-term storage, you might encounter food items that have spilled or deteriorated over time. Toss any unidentifiable leftovers, items that have freezer burn or foods that don’t seem appetizing any longer. Once all the unwanted food is gone, you can do another quick wipe of surfaces with a warm sponge.

Keep your freezer food organized to avoid future spills and forgotten food. Use freezer-friendly containers to keep similar items together, label foods with the date so you know exactly how long they’ve been in there, and follow these other tips to keep your freezer food organized.

Our tips for deep cleaning

It’s a good idea to deep clean your freezer about once every two or three months. Here’s how to get the job done as painlessly as possible:

  1. Turn off the freezer and empty all the contents into a cooler to keep them cold while you work.
  2. Remove any drawers and detachable shelves and wash them in the sink. Scrub them like you would dirty dishes with soap and water. Set aside to dry.
  3. Using a solution of one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, spray the inside of your empty freezer and wipe with a sponge. For stubborn stuck-on spots, allow the vinegar solution to soak for a few minutes before wiping, or try a magic eraser.
  4. Dry the interior with a clean dishcloth, then replace the clean drawers and shelves.
  5. Return the food, turn the unit back on and enjoy your spotless freezer!

Read on to find out the foods you should never, ever freeze.

The post Here’s How Often You Should REALLY Clean Your Freezer appeared first on Reader's Digest.

11 PHOTOS
11 things you should never put in your freezer
See Gallery
11 things you should never put in your freezer

1. CHEESE
Soft cheeses such as ricotta, goat, or cream cheese tend to separate when frozen and thawed, which leads to strange textural changes. Hard cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar are usually a safe bet, but you're still better off buying only what you need and storing it properly in the fridge.

Photo credit: Getty

2. AND FOR THAT MATTER, MOST DAIRY
Cream, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, and custard all separate and curdle in the freezer.

Photo credit: Getty

3. WHOLE EGGS
Eggs can expand when frozen, causing the shell to crack and potentially let bacteria in—never a good thing. Cooked eggs and egg-based sauces like hollandaise, mayonnaise, and meringue are also poor freezer candidates. If you really have to freeze eggs, crack them, whisk them (or separate the whites and yolks) and store in an airtight container.

Photo credit: Getty

4. FRIED FOOD
The crispy, craggily, gloriously fried exterior of fried foods—that is, the best part—is lost when frozen and defrosted. Unless soggy is your thing, keep these suckers away from the cold.

Photo credit: Getty

5. COFFEE
It's OK to freeze unopened, freshly-roasted bags of coffee for up to a month. But once you open the bag and start taking it in and out of the freezer, the coffee can get ruined. Thawing and refreezing yields condensation on the beans which causes them to absorb freezer smells.

Photo credit: Getty

6. SOME PRODUCE
Produce that has a high water content (cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce) gets limp and soggy when frozen and defrosted.

Photo credit: Getty

7. FRESH HERBS
Try to thaw a bunch of fresh herbs from frozen and you'll be left with a brown, soggy mess. Instead, turn your herbs into compound butter or pesto, both of which freeze impeccably.

Photo credit: Getty

8. COOKED PASTA
Cooked pasta turns into a mushy puddle of gluten after it's frozen. Avoid at all costs.

Photo credit: Getty

9. SAUCES THICKENED WITH FLOUR OR CORNSTARCH
Thickened sauces like gravy and béchamel separate when frozen and thawed. Not a good look.

Photo credit: Getty

10. AVOCADOS
The texture of avocados changes when frozen, so you can kiss that silky interior goodbye. (But really, when have you ever had trouble using up a haul?) (Oh, wait, you have? You should probably read this.)

Photo credit: Getty

11. POTATOES
When was the last time you craved a soft, grainy potato? Exactly.

Photo credit: Getty

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.