Household pests go to work – Part 2

Don’t let the workplace refrigerator make you sick

The workplace refrigerator can become a disgusting, filthy piece of equipment. If you have a refrigerator at work more than one person is using it. Or should I say abusing it? The refrigerator may be a cluttered mess, it may have mold on the food and it may have drips and spills hardened on the shelves and in the drawers. Most workplace refrigerators need some tender, loving attention. For the sake of everyone’s health and safety you can easily keep the refrigerator clean and the food inside safe for everyone. Michigan State University Extension has basic guidelines for using the workplace refrigerator:

  • A schedule will be set up for cleaning out the refrigerator. Everyone who uses the fridge is on the schedule, even if they only keep their beverages in it.
  • All spoiled food is to be discarded by the person cleaning out the fridge.
  • Everyone needs to put their name and date on meals, snacks and drinks that are in the refrigerator.
  • Clean up spills immediately if you spilled something. This will mean that paper towels need to be available.
  • The person responsible that week for cleaning out the refrigerator needs to wipe the inside and outside with a wet clean cloth without removing all the food.

Here are tips for more thoroughly cleaning the refrigerator. How often this is done depends on how dirty the refrigerator gets, even with the weekly cleaning.

  1. Turn the refrigerator off and unplug it.
  2. Remove all the food and place in a cooler.
  3. Take out all of the removable parts such as the meat and vegetable drawers and wash them with warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly.
  4. Clean the walls and shelves with a solution of two tablespoons baking soda to one quart of warm water. Then rinse with warm water and dry.
  5. Clean mildew on the rubber stripping around the refrigerator door with three tablespoons of bleach to one quart of water, rinse and dry.
  6. The grill is located on the outside of the refrigerator at the very bottom, under the doors. Take the grill off, wash, rinse and dry it along with the plastic pan, found behind the grill, which collects water from automatic defrosting. This needs to be done only twice a year.
  7. Wash the outside with warm soapy water, rinse and dry.

After cleaning your refrigerator, plug it in and put the food back in quickly and close the door. The refrigerator should quickly get back to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or a little below, which is the temperature that the refrigerator should be. In order to know if it is 40 degrees Fahrenheit you have to have a refrigerator thermometer in it. You should also have a thermometer in the freezer as well. The freezer should be at zero degree or below.

Unpleasant odors usually develop from improper storage of food or from spoiled food. Keeps your workplace refrigerator smelling good and full of safe food by keeping it clean. Read part one of this article, Household pests go to work.

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