Cleaning Your Refrigerator Because of a Food Recall

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.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator After a Food Recall

Items needed to clean your refrigerator:

items needed to clean refrigerator

  • Sealed bags
  • Hot, soapy water
  • Clean towels
  • Optional: water + bleach

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 recalled food was stored in a reusable container, wash it with hot, soapy water before reusing.
Step 1 to cleaning your fridge throw out recalled food

Step 1 to cleaning your fridge throw out recalled food

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 recalled 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 unrefrigerated food out 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 and sanitize 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.
  • Don’t forget to wipe inside the doors and any drawers that cannot be removed.
Step 2 of cleaning fridge wash shelving and removable parts with soap and water

Step 2 of cleaning fridge wash shelving and removable parts with soap and water

Step 4 – Clean and sanitize 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.
  • Don’t forget to wipe inside the doors and any drawers that cannot be removed.

* Optional step

Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your refrigerator. Do this after cleaning the refrigerator with hot, soapy water.

Picture of bleach and bucket

Picture of bleach and bucket

* Optional step

Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your refrigerator. Do this after cleaning the refrigerator with hot, soapy water.

Step 5 – Return shelves, drawers, and food

  • Put the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts back in the refrigerator, along with the other items you took out.
  • Wipe food containers and drink containers with hot, soapy water before returning to the clean refrigerator.

And don’t forget!

  • 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 dry the refrigerator before using them again.