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WedNov 15

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day – November 15, 2023

Excuse the pun, but the timing has never been riper to celebrate National Clean Out Your Fridge Day on November 15! This is the perfect opportunity to tackle that science experiment that’s been growing way in the back, there. Of course, ideally, we’d all clean out our fridges far more often than once a year, but let’s be real: Making it an annual occasion provides everyone with the reassurance that at least the horrendous situation with your roommate’s long-forgotten “homemade kombucha” will be rectified eventually, and marking it as a day on the national calendar gives you plenty of scope for getting passive aggressive in the preceding weeks.

History of National Clean Out Your Fridge Day

New technology means new problems. Ever since the first household refrigerator hit the market, consumers then became burdened with a new thing to deal with – cleaning it.

From 1911 to 1922, the technological advances of home refrigerators and refrigeration technologies increased at the rate of speed rivaled only by smartphones. It wasn’t until 1927 when GE produced the “Monitor Top,” a reference to the ironclad Civil War-era ship, the USS Monitor. This model alone sold over one million units.

It wasn’t until post-war America that separate freeze box units were created and used in addition to the typical refrigerator. And then, in the 1970s and 80s, further developments helped created a the combo model we usually see today.

Regardless of what kind of refrigerator they had over the years, everyone had the task of needing to clean it out. Whether its the moldy oranges, the brown bananas, or that milk you forgot about, cleaning a refrigerator is something that American’s over the past century can relate to.

There’s no clear information about how the Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day came about. The general consensus is that this day was started by the Whirlpool Corporation, and later became popular throughout the country.

It is believed that the company intended for the day to be celebrated on the third Wednesday of every month, but the day took a life of its own. Later Whirlpool celebrated a Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week, but the date had gotten stuck.

Cleaning out the refrigerator is a big task, and it’s only natural that people would push the chore aside. Having one day to do a big clean of the refrigerator is useful because it makes everyday cleaning easier.

Refrigerators are essential in the modern American household but are frequently ignored. They store all our food, and that’s why it is essential that they are cleaned regularly. If food is left to go bad in a refrigerator, the germs can spread and affect all the food stored in them.

A refrigerator that is too full also won’t work as efficiently and will use more electricity. Regularly throwing out food that has started to go bad or you’re not planning to eat goes a long way. Spills need to be cleaned up as they happen, and it’s a great time to check what you’ve stored away in the freezer section.

A cleaning session is a great opportunity to check how well your refrigerator is functioning and if it needs any servicing. With Clean Your Refrigerator Day right before the holidays, it’s the perfect opportunity to make sure that everything is ready before Thanksgiving!

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day timeline

1755
Artificial Refrigeration Begins

Scottish professor William Cullen used a pump to create a partial vacuum in the world’s first refrigeration machine

1854
First Ice-Making Machine

And it only took about a hundred more years for the phrase “on the rocks” to be ascribed to Scotch by bar staff

1911
First Household Refrigerator

Produced by General Electric, the design was based on one by a French Cistercian monk and physics teacher, Marcel Audiffren, and primarily designed to help GE sell electricity

1923
First Frigidaire

Founded by the folks who brought you General Motors, the brand became so popular that many Americans called any refrigerator by the name of the company

1940
First Freezer

The arrival of freezers large enough to make more than ice cubes revolutionized the frozen food industry

1995
The Idea is Born

The idea begins, possibly originating from the Whirlpool Corporation.

2000
The Day Starts to Appear Online

November 15 is to be labeled as Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, on e-cards and blogs.

2004
Whirlpool Partners with Glad Products

This union is to set up 4 to 10 April as Clean Your Refrigerator Week, but it doesn’t catch on.

2005
Chef Emeril Writes About the Day

This is the first time that Clean Your Refrigerator Day is acknowledged by the food industry.

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day FAQs

How often should you clean your refrigerator out?

A refrigerator needs a deep clean every three to four months. But if you can’t you should definitely try to clean it out once a year on Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. 

Should I turn off the refrigerator when cleaning?

You should definitely unplug your refrigerator before cleaning it out for your own safety. 

What’s the best way to clean out your refrigerator?

Clear out everything in your fridge, and wipe down everything, including the doors and drawers with hot soapy water. 

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day Activities

  1. Give far too much heavy-handed and serious notice

    Nobody likes to check for their precious turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich at lunch time and find it’s been chucked out with the furry pasta that was last touched last month. The trick to this part of celebrating National Clean Out Your Fridge Day is to give a series of increasingly escalating pieces of overwrought and deadly serious-sounding notice. You might print out a picture of a nuclear mushroom cloud and fix it to the fridge, writing, “days to National Clean Out Your Fridge Day,” and count it down on a daily basis. Send an office-wide email, cc’ing your boss. Or if it’s your roomies, send a series of group texts over the days before you do it.

  2. Help a friend or family member

    Cleaning out a refrigerator can be hard work, so go on and lend a helping hand.

  3. Actually clean out the fridge

    The chances are, if you’ve made a big enough deal out of it, that you might even have roped in some help for cleaning out the fridge by the time the big day rolls around. Apparently cleaning your fridge requires things like “warm, soapy water” and “a sponge,” and unplugging it if you’re planning to have the door open for a while, so you don’t waste energy. But hopefully one of your friends or coworkers will be better with the details, after all, you’ve spent so much energy on the promotion. It’s only right to share the work.

5 Cool Facts About Refrigerators That You Probably Didn’t Know

  1. Refrigerators use less energy when they’re used

    It is believed that not filling and overfilling refrigerators make them use up more electricity.

  2. The U.S. uses a lot of refrigerators

    Over 8 million refrigerators are sold in the country every year.

  3. Colorful refrigerators are fairly new

    Until the 1950s, the majority of refrigerators were white.

  4. They took a while to become popular

    Only 8% of households had refrigerators in the 1930s when they were first introduced.

  5. It’s a major power sucker

    About 10% of the total power usage in a household is because of the refrigerator.

Why We Love National Clean Out Your Fridge Day

  1. More of us than ever are sharing living spaces

    The number of adults sharing a household with a roommate has surged as rents have risen more quickly than incomes across America over recent years—25% of adults now share with a roommate. The fridge is a major source of roommate tension, and cleaning it out is great for your roommate relationships. It also is good for your health—by diffusing tension, it lowers stress.

  2. Food safety is important

    A clean refrigerator is the best way to make sure no food ends up contaminated by the other.

  3. You didn’t run out of that after all

    When your fridge is cluttered, it's easy to forget you have a long-lasting sauce tucked away in the back there behind the stuff nobody wants to touch. So before you buy that second bottle of sriracha, check your own fridge! You'll save money, time, and get what basically amounts to free condiments. What's not to love about free condiments?

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day dates

YearDateDay
2023November 15Wednesday
2024November 15Friday
2025November 15Saturday
2026November 15Sunday
2027November 15Monday

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