x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

The big chill: cleaning your fridge

Housewife superstar In my last column I talked about that UAE necessity, the fridge. This week, how to keep it clean.

Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and detergent - and clean seals that can harbour mould.
Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and detergent - and clean seals that can harbour mould.

In my last column I talked about that UAE necessity, the fridge. This week, how to keep it clean. The best time to clean the fridge is when it is empty(ish) - say before a big supermarket run. Once a month, pull out the shelves and wash them in hot soapy water. Do the same with the salad drawers, first removing any mummified carrots and the like.

Wash the interior of the fridge with warm water and bicarbonate of soda (1 tbsp to 1 litre water). Remove any dried-on bits of food, by softening them first with water. Do not attempt to scrape them off because you might pierce the shell of the fridge. Rub stubborn marks with neat bicarbonate of soda on a damp cloth. Remember to clean the seals because they can harbour mould. If you do spot mould, wipe over with a very weak solution of household bleach (1 tsp to 500ml water). Check that the drainage hole is not blocked.

Bicarbonate of soda is used because it cleans, disinfects and is odourless. It is also biodegradable and non-toxic, so it is the green option. If the fridge is really filthy, it may not be strong enough. In which case, use a small amount of washing-up liquid. Rinse with plain water and wipe dry. You can also buy special fridge cleaners (from supermarkets or the new Lakeland store in Mirdif City Centre Mall in Dubai). Do not use perfumed detergents - the smell will linger and taint food.

To keep the fridge smelling sweet, tuck a fridge deodoriser into one corner. These contain activated charcoal or a special gel to absorb odours. They are very effective and readily available here in the household sections of most supermarkets. Replace every four months. After cleaning the interior, remove from the fridge door all novelty magnets, notices and pictures of yourself looking fat that are supposed to act as a deterrent when you fancy a midnight snack. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and a little detergent.

Once every three months, pull the fridge away from the wall, vacuum up the dirt, crumbs and pet hairs that will have accumulated (and will attract insects), then vacuum the coils at the back, using the upholstery nozzle. If you go away for any length of time, empty the fridge, switch it off and leave the door open, wedged with a tea towel if it is likely to swing shut. The Housewife's Handbook by Rachel Simhon (Bloomsbury) is available from www.amazon.com