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The other day there was a terrible accident with this big bag of Kale that’s been in my refrigerator just getting in the way of the good stuff for a couple of weeks. I tried to just smush it over in a back corner so I could reach some berries, but it got caught on the berries and they spilled all over the place. And in cleaning the berries, (and cursing the kale and its big green super-food status) I realized something: my refrigerator was really dirty. F*ck you, kale. I’m not going to say I’ve NEVER cleaned the thing, like really, really gotten in there and done it. But I will say that most of the time it’s sort of a partial, as-needed thing. So this time, I got out the big guns.


Several years ago, in a burst of good domestic intentions, I got Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. This book is full of stuff that I, in fact, have no intention of ever considering. There is a whole section entitled “Routine Cleaning” that has no less than three entries on things I have rarely if ever done: dusting, sweeping and mopping. I will admit to regularly wiping up and vacuuming, but it really depends on your definition of regular.

In any case, I decided to try Martha’s way.

Page 90 is devoted to keeping the refrigerator clean. Tasks are divided into daily, weekly and seasonally. There is no category for never, which would definitely be in my guide to housekeeping.

Martha says to wipe up spills immediately before they have a chance to dry. There’s a little checkbox next to that, which is unchecked in my copy of the book. It also says to ensure that everything that goes into the refrigerator be immaculate. Not checked either. Getting sort-of predictable, so I’m skipping down to seasonally. I’m supposed to put all the food from the refrigerator into a cooler, but that seems like a waste of time. Martha recommends cleaning the interior with a baking soda and hot water combo, which worked great. She also says you ought to soak all your shelves in that same stuff. That makes me wonder, how big does she think my sink is? Well, actually, pretty big as it turns out.


So, these suggestions worked, and a lot of other stuff she said seemed pointless (Cleaning the door seals, unscrewing the grill to find out if we had a drip tray and cleaning that.) I did use a glass cleaner on the glass shelves even though Martha said not to do that because, you know, f*ck you Martha! And I found a lot of things that looked like twigs in my refrigerator. Which may relate to the snowman in my freezer . . . .


I ran into some trouble with my vegetable crisper. A drawer that is even bigger than my sink. I figured I could just spray it with glass cleaner and get the dirt out that way, but it proved to be too much crumbly type mess for that. So I tried vacuuming it out, something I felt truly wicked doing. (Vacuums on food carrying surfaces are a no-no, right?)


That worked for most of the stuff, but there were little sticky bits that wouldn’t budge. I tried soaking it in about an inch of baking soda and hot water but I had to find a surface it could lie flat on to soak. And getting it there resulted in drips of water all over the kitchen. I was starting to feel like it was a Cat-in-the-Hat-type situation when I finally got the water cleaned up and tipped the drawer in the sink to drain only to realize there was more gross gooey stuff on the bottom of the drawer. What slobs use this thing? Oh yeah.