Cleaning Your Refrigerator Because of a Food Recall

What to know

If you have a recalled food item in your refrigerator, it's important to throw out the food and clean your refrigerator. Germs in the recalled food could spread to drawers or shelves in your refrigerator.

Woman in kitchen cleaning out refrigerator

Gather what you need to clean

Items needed to clean refrigerator:

  • Sealable bags
  • Hot, soapy water
  • Clean towels
  • Bleach (optional)

Step 1 - Throw out recalled food

  • Throw out the recalled food, and any other foods stored with it or touching it.
  • Put it in a sealed bag in the garbage.
  • If the food was stored in a reusable container, wash it with hot, soapy water before reusing.

Step 2 - Empty your refrigerator

  • Empty the rest of the items in your refrigerator and put them on a counter or table while you clean.
  • Take out shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts.
  • Don't leave food out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

Step 3 - Wash removable parts

  • Wash shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts by hand with hot, soapy water.
  • Dry with a clean towel.
  • Don't run cold glass shelves or drawers under hot water because the glass could crack. Let them come to room temperature first.

Step 4 - Clean inside the refrigerator

  • Wipe the inside of the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water; then wipe with clean water to rinse off soap.
  • Dry with a clean towel.
  • Wipe inside the doors and any drawers that cannot be removed.

Step 5 - Sanitize inside the refrigerator (optional)

  • After cleaning the refrigerator with hot, soapy water, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your refrigerator.

Step 6 - Return shelves, drawers, and food

  • Put the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts back in the refrigerator, along with any items you took out.

Step 7 - Wash hands, areas, and items that touched recalled food

  • Wash your hands with water and soap once you've finished cleaning.
  • Use hot, soapy water to wipe kitchen counters that held food, drinks, refrigerator parts, and any cleaning materials.
  • Wash any towels you used to clean and dry the refrigerator before using them again.