Cleaning out your refrigerator or freezer is a must for keeping fresh food and other perishables in top condition.
But the cleaner the better, according to a new study published in Environmental Science & Technology.
“The cleaner the environment, the cleaner you will be,” said David McVicker, a professor of food science at the University of Minnesota.
“But the problem is that when you’re working in a really dirty environment, it’s hard to find the right kind of cleaning solution.”
McVickers team compared the cleaning properties of cleaning solutions for different types of refrigerators, which were either plastic or metal.
The plastic cleaning solution was designed to clean with just water, which is not effective against the bacteria that causes the common cold.
The metal solution is more effective against bacteria and can be cleaned with a mild chemical.
“We can’t really go into a specific brand of solution because we’re trying to make it as clean as possible,” said McViers team leader, David LeBlanc.
“And the more we do research on that, the more likely we are to find solutions that work for us.”
The researchers found that using a plastic-coated cleaning solution for two months in the refrigerator would be effective at cleaning out your plastic containers.
But when the team used a metal-coating solution for 12 months, it was ineffective at cleaning the container.
This is the first study to compare the cleaning effectiveness of cleaning a plastic container with a metal one, the researchers said.
The team hopes to extend this research by testing other cleaning solutions in larger-scale studies.
“It would be great if we could take a look at the same kind of solution and see if it works,” said LeBlac.
The results of the study could help scientists develop better ways to clean up waste in food storage, including more efficient ways to dispose of contaminated waste in the future.
“Our goal is to develop solutions that are more environmentally friendly, because it is just so hard to clean this stuff out,” said study author, Lisa Bostick, a graduate student in food science.
“This is something we can do to make a positive difference, and we can all benefit from it.”