How to Clean Vegetable Drawers | Keeping Your Veggie Drawer Free of Germs

How to Clean Veggie Drawers by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Think fast, what do broccoli, carrots, and salmonella all have in common? They all share the same home, inside your refrigerator’s veggie drawer! The NSF recently conducted a study, and found that refrigerator veggie drawers are the most germ-filled areas in the kitchen, as they serve as a gathering place for E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, mold, and yeast. Considering one in six Americans fall ill as a result of foodborne illnesses every year, this makes perfect sense. So, what can you do about it? Below, you'll find quick and simple tips on how to clean vegetable drawers. For starters, you'll want to do the obvious: thoroughly clean and disinfect every inch of your veggie drawer.

Clean Monthly - 3 Simple Steps

To stay on the safe side, we suggest following the NSF recommendation to wash your veggie drawer once a month. To begin the cleaning process, clear out all of the contents, placing them on your countertop or table; for best results, you should remove the drawer altogether.

Now that you’ve got your veggie drawer cleared out, and hopefully removed from your refrigerator, the next step is to create a homemade cleansing wash: simply mix one quart of warm water with two tablespoons of baking soda, then start scrubbing! For the cleanest clean, be sure to use a new, or freshly cleaned and sanitized sponge throughout the entire cleaning process.

To finish, wipe the drawer dry with a clean cloth. Just in case there were a few water droplets you may have missed, allow the drawer to air dry for an hour before placing it back in the refrigerator. Before placing your veggies back in the drawer, spritz a few squirts of food-safe disinfectant spray on the inside, outside, and handle of the drawer; that’ll surely keep germs at bay!

Don't forget, this kind of deep cleaning should be done monthly! If you're like the rest of us, and have a hard time staying on top of your household chores, hang a to-do list in your kitchen, or check out these free printables!

Keep a Keen Eye on Produce

We’ve all been guilty of purchasing a head of lettuce, bag of baby carrots, or floret of broccoli, only to let it sit for weeks in the veggie drawer. While the handy compartments inside refrigerators make it easy to organize and maximize space, they also play into the idea of “out of sight, out of mind,” causing us to forget about them altogether.

The truth of the matter is that the longer than produce sits in your veggie drawer, the more likely it is to attract bacteria and microorganisms. To avoid finding these hidden germs in your crisper, be sure to rotate your produce on a regular basis, making note of older items, consuming those first.

Stay Cool

Germs and bacteria love warm, moist spaces – in fact, that’s where they thrive the most! For optimal freshness, and to keep bacteria out, or existing bacteria from multiplying, keep your refrigerator temperature set at 40°F, or below.