Fridge cleaning challenge

When Nupur posted the fridge cleaning challenge on her blog, I knew I couldn't ignore my fridge anymore. I had been ignoring it for almost a year now and it was extremely dirty. Yes, I am lazy like that when it comes to cleaning.

A couple of days after the challenge was posted, I decided today is the day. I could have done it in parts over a few days but that never works out for me. I clean a part of the fridge one day and then forget about the rest on other days.

My fridge was pretty empty because these days I am trying to reduce the number of grocery shopping trips. This forces me to find ways to use the stuff lying around in the fridge and pantry. This way, we get to eat different from the usual roti-sabzi routine and of course, save money and reduce waste. This was one of the days when grocery shopping was inevitable. That is a good time to clean the fridge as there is less stuff to remove and replace in the fridge.

I started with the dirtiest parts first : the bottom-most shelf and the vegetable and fruit drawer bins. And worked my way up. That is the opposite of the recommended top-down approach. But those things were so dirty, I just went for them first.

I have equal parts of vinegar and dish liquid in a spray bottle and it is my go to cleaner. This is almost magical for bathtubs. Just spray it on liberally and wipe down after a couple of hours. The bath tub looks brand new and the best part : no scrubbing required.

Coming back to fridge cleaning, I took the huge bottom shelf and fruit and vegetable trays to the bathtub, used a kitchen sponge sprayed with my magic cleaner and washed them. While they were drying, I used the same cleaner inside the fridge, wiping down with a wet cloth a couple of times and then wiping it dry with a clean towel. I liked it for the fridge because it does not have any harmful chemicals and also disinfects with the vinegar without leaving the fridge smelling funky.
Once the shelf was dry, I arranged it back in the fridge, emptied the shelf above it and repeated the whole process till the fridge was clean.

Lets look at the "before" and "after" pictures.

Main compartment
fridge cleaning
Fridge Door
Freezer compartment
freezer cleaning
Freezer door
The before and after pictures might not look very different but let me assure you the fridge is sparkling clean now.

Since the fridge was relatively empty, the only organising I had to do was in the bottom shelf and the door.
I use plastic trays from food packaging or take out and arrange the condiments on it. This helps group them and contain spills.
The tray at the back contains chutneys, hot sauce, mustard, pickled jalapenos, chipotle in adobo. These are not used a lot so they sit in the back. The front tray contains jams, peanut butter and butter. I somehow ended up with 4 types of jam in my fridge right now.

For the door, I used food packaging boxes to group spices. Rightmost box is for maharashtrian spices : 2 types of goda masala and kanda lasun masala. The middle box is for sambar, khichadi and pulao masalas. The last one is for all other types of spices. Also wedged there are pickles and papads.
Grouping things together makes it easier to find stuff and know exactly where to put it back. So the fridge stays organised longer.

Let me get to the survey posted for the challenge before the post gets too long to endure.

Fridge survey :
  • The most unusual item in my fridge : Probably the truckload of spices.
  • Three items I always have in my fridge : milk, homemade yogurt and hopefully ginger (I get nervous if I run out of ginger to add to my tea)
  • Oldest item in my fridge : 3 year old jar of pickled peppers. (I threw out the quarter full jar during this cleaning session)
  • Items that needed to be used and how I used them : A couple of roasted corn on the cob. I made quesadillas.
Freezer survey :
  • The most unusual item in my freezer : Bread starter that I got when I attended a bread baking class.
  • Three items I always have in my freezer : Frozen rotis, frozen peas, at least one type of nut.
  • Oldest item in my freezer : Might be the pistachios.
  • Items that needed to be used and how I used them : Nothing really was going bad but I ended up with lot of icecream in my freezer this summer and used the last bit of frozen yogurt and frozen mango pulp to make a mango milkshake.


  1. Thanks for playing along- I enjoyed reading about this awesome fridge/freezer cleaning spree. Love your idea of using trays to catch spills.

    It is interesting that you store spices, nuts, pickles, papads in the fridge/freezer! All of mine are at room temp.

    Like you, we love ginger in our chai. I have started to shop ginger and freeze it. I break off a few chunks and add to water for chai.

  2. Thanks for the kind comment.
    The spices, nuts and papads hang around too long in my kitchen. some of the spices and nuts are atleast a couple of years old. Keeping them in the fridge keeps them fresh longer. I do not put everyday spices in the fridge, just the ones I do not use regularly. My mom told me papads stay fresh in the fridge compared to storing them at room temp. The pickles are homemade ones which do not stay fresh for a very long time. Store bought pickles are usually in my pantry not fridge.
    I will have to try the idea of freezing ginger. That will ensure a continuous supply :)

  3. Hi Nikita,

    What a great job cleaning and organizing! I also keep nuts in the freezer -- curry leaves too these days since I can't get them fresh very often. Interesting that you keep the ready-made masalas in the fridge. I keep some homemade rasam powder in the freezer. I didn't add the freezer to my post since I thought I was too late already; I'll have to add those pics to another post.

    Thanks for the great vinegar-soap tip too :)

    Best wishes!

    1. Thanks Linda! Loved how you arranged your condiments drawer. And great coconut curry recipe too!

  4. The vinegar + dish soap idea is great, I am going to try it soon. Thanks for the tip.

    On another note, looks like one tub of Edy's ice cream got polished off during the freezer cleaning process :P

    1. Vinegar-dish soap works great. I love it for the bathtub. Hope you will get good results too.
      That edy's frozen yogurt was just quarter full and I used it to make a milkshake. :) good eye!


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