What do you do with your fridge when you go on vacation?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

When going on vacation for a month or longer, it is important to take proper care of your refrigerator to save energy and avoid any unpleasant odors upon your return. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Empty the refrigerator: Begin by removing all the food and beverages from your refrigerator. Check the expiration dates and discard any items that may spoil during your absence. You can either consume or donate the perishable items before leaving.

2. Drain the water tank: If your refrigerator has a water dispenser or an automatic ice maker, it is crucial to drain the water tank. This step is necessary to prevent the formation of stagnant water, which can lead to foul smells or even mold growth. Consult your refrigerator’s manual for specific instructions on how to drain the water tank properly.

3. Clean the interior: Thoroughly clean the inside of your refrigerator before leaving. Start by removing all the shelves, drawers, and racks. Wash them with warm, soapy water, rinse them well, and let them dry completely. Wipe down the interior walls, door seals, and any other surfaces with a mild cleaning solution. This will help eliminate any lingering odors and ensure a fresh environment upon your return.

4. Leave the doors open: After cleaning, leave the refrigerator doors open to allow proper ventilation and prevent the buildup of moisture. This step is crucial in avoiding the growth of mold or mildew inside the appliance. It is best to secure the doors in an open position by using a prop or placing a towel between the door and the refrigerator body.

5. Unplug the refrigerator: To save energy while you are away, it is recommended to unplug your refrigerator. This will help reduce electricity consumption during your absence. However, make sure to take any necessary precautions regarding the food safety guidelines provided by your local health authority or the manufacturer of your refrigerator. Some refrigerators may require a constant power supply to maintain food safety.

6. Additional tips: Here are some extra tips to consider before leaving:
– Remove all non-perishable items from the fridge, such as condiments, to reduce the risk of spoilage.
– Clean the exterior of the refrigerator to remove any dust or grime.
– Consider placing an open box of baking soda inside the refrigerator to absorb any remaining odors.
– If possible, ask a neighbor or a friend to periodically check on your refrigerator and ensure everything is in order.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your refrigerator remains in good condition during your vacation. When you return, simply clean the interior again, plug it back in, and allow it to cool before restocking with fresh food. Enjoy your vacation with peace of mind knowing that your refrigerator is properly taken care of.