Unlike in our parents’ time, cleaning the freezer doesn’t have to be an all-day thing anymore. With a regular weekly wipe-down, you can address the most basic aspects of cleaning and that will help keep your whole refrigerator in optimal working order. It will also keep the surfaces free from germs.
Despite popular belief, freezing doesn’t actually kill germs and bacteria. It simply “inactivates any microbes, bacteria, yeasts and molds” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additionally, foods must reach zero degrees Fahrenheit to do so. This means that before food lowers to that temperature to inactivate it, it can still contaminate. On the flip side, when the food thaws, the bacteria and microbes become active once again and can infect surfaces.
A weekly clean-up is easy and only takes a few minutes. According to Taste of Home, you need to wipe down the inner surfaces, including the top and bottom, and the sides of the freezer with a warm dishcloth covered with dishwashing liquid. It’s also important to disinfect the freezer handle and the outside door, a place that will never reach zero degrees and can harbor potential pathogens from touching the door with raw meat or any kind of bacteria on your hands. Spills should be cleaned up promptly so they have no chance to stick.