Your refrigerator works hard. Its handles get grabbed with sticky, germy fingers. Its exterior is covered with reminder notes, photos and precious scraps of artwork. And it gets opened dozens of times of day and rummaged through for everything from quick snacks to dinner essentials. So, it begs one to wonder, why does it hardly ever get cleaned?

It could be due to the simple fact of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Or, it could be we really don’t have a great plan for cleaning the fridge. For example, where do we put all the food? And pull out crispers and drawers really don’t fit in the sink. 

Never fear, we’re here for you. Try these tips by The Maids to keep your fridge fresh and clean.

Throw out food that’s gone bad weekly. Quickly go through the contents of your fridge and throw out produce that’s gone bad before adding your new groceries. Jarred items and condiments can last a long time but if they have been in your refrigerator for years, they probably need to go. Always follow the rule, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

If it’s drippy, sticky or gooey, wipe it down before putting it back. Condiment bottles like ketchup, Siracha or Dijon mustard are notoriously messy. Give them a quick wipe with a warm washcloth before putting them back. The same goes for beverage containers like milk jugs. Wipe up any drips before they settle on your shelves. 

Line your shelves and crisper drawers. The easiest messes to clean are the ones that never happen! Use press and seal wrap or plastic mats to line shelves and paper towels or newspapers to line crisper drawers. As a bonus, lining crisper drawers helps absorb extra moisture from produce allowing it to stay fresher, longer.

Make a couple of fridge rules. To keep your fridge clutter–free, make rules that eliminate those objects that muck it up – plates, cups and identical bottles of mustard and salad dressings. Open containers are just a bad idea as they can easily be spilled and nearly all condiments can sit in the cupboard before they opened instead of immediately adding to your fridge clutter. 

Designate at least one night a week for leftover night. It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted each year. Pull out your leftovers, including any salad mixes and deli meats and cheeses, and let your family pick their dinner. Not only will you have to throw less spoiled food away, but you’ll save money and time as dinner just needs a quick re-heat! Just remember to label your leftovers so you know they are safe to eat. 

Store food correctly. Your refrigerator has several different spots in it that were made with particular foods in mind. The door is a warmer spot and should be used for condiments and jarred items. Eggs should go on a middle or top shelf (with the milk), so their temperature doesn’t fluctuate. Store raw meat together (and bagged to prevent juices from spilling) near the bottom. Make sure your produce drawers are set to the correct humidity. Vegetables like humidity, fruit doesn’t!

Find an organization system that works for you. Some organizers swear by using plastic tubs and bins to keep like food items together. Recycling items for storage, like empty six-pack holders and egg cartons, have also been found to be handy. Others love to label drawers and shelves, so family members know where things go. If one of these storage solutions makes your fridge life easier, go for it.