Your refrigerator stores an awful lot of fresh goods and leftovers over the course of its life. It's important to give it a thorough cleaning every once in a while. But where do you start? The refrigerator door handles are some of the dirtiest spots in your kitchen, but there's one germ hub in particular that needs a bit of extra cleaning. Don't worry -- we're going to share its location as well as how you can stop the germs in their tracks.

The Dirtiest Place In The Fridge

an open fridge filled with fruits and veggies

Surprisingly, a refrigerator's veggie drawer is actually the dirtiest place in there. In fact, the National Science Foundation (NSF) discovered through testing that the vegetable drawer is not only susceptible to mold and yeast but also to bigger issues like salmonella and listeria.

Why Is It So Filthy?

Now that you know, it might not shock you as much. Think about all the times your fruits and veggies have expired, leaked from their bags, or gone moldy. Tossing the items isn't enough to give those drawers the cleaning they need to prevent germs from spreading.

Unwrapped fruits and veggies can cause unpleasant odors, but the vegetables themselves aren't the biggest problem: cross-contamination from different foods, especially meat, can cause serious issues.

How To Clean Your Veggie Drawer

a veggie drawer filled with various vegetables

As we said, simply throwing away expired items isn't going to cut it. You'll need to give the drawer a thorough cleaning. Here what to do:

  • Take a soft sponge or clean cloth and wipe the entire drawer down with a mix of water and two tablespoons of baking soda. If you can remove the drawer completely, that's even better.
  • Once you've removed the drawer, rinse it with water to eliminate any leftover solution. If the drawer isn't removable, rise everything out with a sponge or cloth and wipe dry.
  • You may use a detergent mixed with some water, but baking soda helps control any lingering smells.

Tips To Avoid Future Germs

In order to keep things as fresh as possible, you'll want to give your drawers a once-over at least every month. The NSF also recommends that you keep your ready-to-eat produce in a separate compartment from your unwashed produce to avoid cross-contamination. Don't store your fruits or vegetables with any other raw foods, especially raw meat.

Paying proper attention to your veggie drawer will do more than keep things tidy; it'll also ensure you avoid illnesses and bacteria. And let's face it: no one likes a smelly fridge.

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