The Little Thing You Can Do to Minimize Fridge Cleanup

updated Apr 15, 2020
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A person standing in front of an open refrigerator inside a kitchen
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

I am, and I can’t stress this enough, the absolute worst when it comes to keeping a clean fridge. My friend Libby is the polar opposite. Whenever I used to go to her house for dinner I’d be astonished at the state of her fridge. Not only is her stuff always organized, but each and every shelf is also spotless. Come over to my house and you’ll find an array of half-eaten yogurts hanging out on a shelf that’s caked with the sticky juice that I forgot to clean up last month. (I blame my kids.)

Another thing: I absolutely hate disassembling an appliance to deep-clean its inner workings. My least favorite Saturday morning in recent memory involved me and my husband taking all the old condiments out of our fridge door and scrubbing down the shelves until they shined. The sparkle lasted about a week. 

Honestly, I don’t see the condition of my fridge changing anytime soon. I am just not that kind of person. Libby has a cool trick, which I thought about stealing, though: She uses a printed fridge liner from Amazon, which is far easier to clean than the actual shelves and drawers. The one I’ve been eyeing has been sold out for a while, exacerbating my dirty fridge situation indefinitely. 

But then I learned of a trick involving something most of us already have tucked away in our kitchen drawers: Glad Press ‘n Seal plastic wrap, which, if you didn’t know, seals 10 times tighter than normal plastic wrap does.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

While it’s not exactly the most environmentally friendly option (although I guess you might save water and soap due to cleaning the refrigerator less frequently), it’s incredibly easy and convenient. All you do is measure and tear the amount of wrap you need for each shelf in your fridge, then press the wrap down until it stays in place. I like this trick because it involves no disassembly or washing (although I would recommend giving your shelves a good deep clean beforehand; just put them in the dishwasher!). Press ‘n Seal doesn’t prevent messes, but it does make them easier to clean up when they occur. Now, removing the mess from my fridge and starting fresh is as easy as pulling the wrap and tossing it.

Do you line your fridge shelves? Have any other smart tips for keeping things neat in there? Let us know in the comments below!