Clean, tightly closed containers are the best defense against spills and wayward odors. Sealing out air also keeps food fresher longer. And if any spoilage does occur, it'll be limited to the unfortunate food in question.
If you do need to repackage, opt for clear containers if possible. If you reuse containers from store-bought food, label them.
Finally, don't let your efforts be in vain: Remember to plug in the fridge and turn the temperature control to "on." Choose the lowest setting until the compartment is good and cold -- 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 degrees Celsius) or a hair under -- before returning the occupants to their gleaming abode.
- ACME Appliance Repair. "How to Clean Condenser on Subzero Refrigerator." (Nov. 11, 2010) http://www.subzerolosangeles.com/How-to-Clean-Condenser-on-Sub-Zero-Refrigerator.html
- Athavaley, Anjali. "Why Won't Anyone Clean the Refrigerator?" Wall Street Journal. Feb. 24, 2010. (Nov. 2, 2010) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703503804575083453336699386.html
- CBC News. "Green up your spring cleaning." April 5, 2007. (Nov. 3, 2010) http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/consumers/green-clean.html
- Howard, Brian Clark. "Never Pay for Household Cleansers Again." The Daily Green.(Nov. 9, 2010) http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/green-cleaning-spring-cleaning-460303
- New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. "Common Cleaning Products May Be Dangerous When Mixed." (Nov. 9, 2010) http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/cehsweb/bleach_fs.pdf
- MarthaStewart.com. "Caring for the Kitchen Workhorse." (Nov. 3, 2010) http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/cleaning-your-fridge
- Mrs. Clean. "Tips on Refrigerator Cleaning." (Nov. 3, 2010) http://www.mrscleanusa.com/en/cleaning-tips/kitchen/deep-refrigerator-cleaning.html
- University of Wisconsin. "Handling and Storing Fruits and Vegetables at Home." (Nov. 10, 2010) http://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/assets/tips_and_tricks/Storing.ppt#256,1,Handling and Storing Fruits and Vegetables at Home
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Special Handling for Ready-to-Eat, Refrigerated Foods." June 14, 2010. (Nov. 8, 2010) http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079667.htm
- U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service. "Ground Beef and Food Safety." Oct. 19, 2009. (Nov. 8, 2010) http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/ground_beef_and_food_safety/index.asp
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