Tips for Cleaning the Not-So-Fresh Office Refrigerator

Photo of a typical refrigerator with its door ...

Cleaning of the office refrigerator is a dreaded task and is often ignored.  It is very important for the health of office employees to have a clean fridge.  If the overall temperature is less than 40°F, the environment inside the fridge becomes a thriving ground of bacteria that can be very harmful to health and can cause food poisoning.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 of 6 Americans get food poisoning annually.  Potent smells from rotten food can also make employees sick, as well as release mold and mildew spores into the air.  If you make cleaning the office refrigerator a shared responsibility it should not be as daunting as facing it alone.  Here are some tips to maintaining a clean fridge in the workplace:

  1. Make a schedule to throw away leftovers.  Most offices pick a day and anything left on that day will be pitched.  Friday is a good choice so food won’t be left over the weekend.
  2. Clean up spills immediately!  Wipe down with a rag and warm soapy water.  Add a little vinegar to zap grease.  (Toothpaste works great for sticky food that has already hardened!)
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals; you don’t want anything contaminating your food.  Instead try placing an opened box of baking soda on a shelf. This will keep things fresh and prevent new odors from occurring.  If odors have already reached a pretty grody level, try placing a plate of charcoal (used for grilling) in the refrigerator. This will absorb odors that are already a problem.  Just make sure you place the plate on a shelf away from food; it will only need to be placed there for a few days.
  4. Line the bottom of drawers with paper towels.  This will make clean up a lot easier.
  5. ALWAYS check expiration dates- anything that is expired needs to be pitched immediately.  Here is a list of storage times for various types of food provided by
  6. MOST IMPORTANTLY- buy a thermometer and place in the middle of the front shelf to make sure that the temperature is always below 40°F.

Share this blog with your coworkers in hopes that the importance of having a clean refrigerator at work will become more common knowledge.  Making this a group task, as opposed to a single person handling it, will make the maintenance of a clean fridge a lot easier and foodborne illnesses will be prevented.

Is a dirty refrigerator just the beginning of your to-do list for spring cleaning at the workplace?  Call Envision Commercial Cleaning today to schedule a free quote for complete office cleaning!  Envision Commercial Cleaning specializes in odor control and can zap and stench coming from a repugnant break room!

Sources: “Spring Cleaning the Office Refrigerator” “What’s Growing in your Office Refrigerator”

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