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What to do when cleaning out your refrigerator

It's important to take time to clean out your refrigerator every once in a while.

One kitchen task every homeowner should make a special effort not to neglect is cleaning the refrigerator. This appliance works hard to keep your food fresh, and, since it's constantly on and always working, it requires some significant attention every once in a while. 

It's a good idea to set aside some time to do the following: 

Eliminate unpleasant odors – Storing baking soda in your refrigerator can keep it smelling fresh, but if there are particularly potent odors you're trying to get rid of, spread fresh coffee grounds on one of the trays until the stench goes away. 

Throw away old food - It's a wonder how many expired products can hide out in your refrigerator over a few weeks or months. You'll probably be surprised to see what's lurking in those dark corners behind the ketchup and mayonnaise. Plan to toss anything that has expired and move the perishable items to the front so you remember to use them.

Wipe down the interior - Martha Stewart recommends using a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water to clean shelves, drawers and walls every few months. This will help take care of those spills you didn't get to right away and disinfect the interior. 

For people who suffer from allergies and asthma, there are special products that can ensure you don't have a negative reaction while cleaning out your refrigerator or other parts of your home. However, since cleaning, dusting and vacuuming can stir up allergens such as dust, mold and pet dander, it's also a good idea to wear a respirator mask during the process to prevent these irritants from getting into your lungs. 

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