The refrigerator is one of the most important tools in your home, but it’s something we frequently overlook. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 homes have two fridges! We use it every day to store food and keep our leftovers fresh, but how often do we take the time to clean it? The unfortunate truth is that a dirty refrigerator can quickly lead to foul smells, horrific stains, and other household woes in no time.

If you’re sick of looking at a grimy refrigerator, rest assured that keeping things spic and span doesn’t have to be as exhausting as you think. Most of us just don’t have the time or energy to do a full clean every day, but the following tips can help you to keep your refrigerator fresh, and tidy for longer.

1. Address Dirt Culprits Instantly

While almost any food or liquid can lead to stains and stickiness in your refrigerator, some are more of a threat than others. Wiping down your condiment bottles, oily dressings, jam jars, and other bottles can help to reduce the chances of mess instantly. That means fewer rings of grime to scrub at the next time you need to deep-clean the fridge.

2. Banish Spills (The Clever Way)

Most of us already know that we shouldn’t let a spill settle in the refrigerator, so it can harden into a sticky mess. Baking soda can help to eliminate the problems quickly, and effectively, so you don’t have to worry about bad smells. At the same time, if you often struggle to get right into the back of the refrigerator, where spills can spread, consider using placemats or food wrap on the shelves of your fridge, so you can quickly remove, rinse, and replace them!

3. Know how to Organize your Refrigerator

Simply storing food effectively in your refrigerator can be enough to minimize problems. It’s a fact that some of the foods and liquids in your fridge are going to end up causing a mess eventually, so it’s a good idea to keep them where you can see them, and throw them out when they start to go bad. Remember, vegetables can go in the crisper drawer, and meats should always stay on the bottom shelf for safety.

4. Reinforce Certain Packets

If you’re concerned that the unsuitable packaging for a particular item won’t be able to stop leakage in your refrigerator, then you might want to reinforce them before you place them on the shelves. Bag your meat in an extra layer of plastic to keep it safe, and cover packets of soup and other leaky products in saran wrap to stop them from covering the bottom of your fridge.

5. Get Organized

A little organization can go a long way when it comes to keeping your refrigerator tidy. Using baskets and shallow containers to organize your fridge can make organizing items much easier. Laying a paper towel in the bottom of each will help to minimize mess too. Alternatively, you could add a lazy Susan to the mix to hold frequently-used items, and label everything with a date and contents name, so you know exactly when to throw items away.

6. Use a Schedule

Although you don’t necessarily need to clean your refrigerator every day, it’s a good idea to keep on top of things. For instance, when you’re wiping down your counters, you could wipe the outside of your fridge too. Make a note on your calendar that reminds you to go through your refrigerator at least once a week to discard any uneaten leftovers or condiments. It might be a good idea to schedule this the night before your trash goes out, so you can make the most of the timing.

7. Use Odor Control

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can feel like getting rid of bad smells is practically impossible. If you’re struggling to manage unwanted scents in your refrigerator, an odor control agent could be the answer. Baking soda is one of the most common solutions, but if you don’t have it on hand, white vinegar, coffee grounds, and uncooked oats can all work just as well, by absorbing unpleasant smells. Just remember to replace them every few weeks.

8. Try a Homemade Cleaner

Finally, when all else fails, stick to a homemade cleaner. There’s no need to worry about buying expensive chemical solutions when you can make your very own mix at home with a bottle of vinegar and water. This substance works great both on the inside and outside of your fridge for eliminating stains and smells.

Keeping your Refrigerator Clean

Ensuring your refrigerator stays tidy can seem like quite a chore, but with the tips above, you can avoid the stress of having to deep-clean every couple of weeks. Remember, organization and pre-emptive cleaning can be essential to a fresh fridge.