8 Food Safety and Cleaning Guidelines

Has your fridge or freezer turned off and the food is still inside? Apply the golden rule for food safety: “If In Doubt, Throw It Out.” Below are general food safety and cleaning tips from the government’s food safety guidelines.

General Food Safety Recommendations

  • Refreeze or Not Refreeze? You can refreeze foods that have partially thawed, if the foods still contain visible ice crystals, although it will reduce their quality. But NEVER refreeze frozen food that has fully thawed.
  • What’s That Smell? If the color or odor of the thawed product is questionable, get rid of it! It isn’t safe to eat!
  • VERY Soft Ice Cream. Do not use or eat ice cream or ice milk after the product has melted.

Canned Goods

  • Canned goods should be edible. Simply wash your canned and bottled goods in hot soapy water or disinfect the exterior in a solution of 3 tablespoons of household bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  • If labels come off, mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil.
  • Do not use canned goods when the cans have bulged or the can is dented or rusted.

Removing Odors From Your Refrigerator or Freezer

  • Wash inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or 1 cup of vinegar or household ammonia to 1 gallon or water
  • Place baking soda in an open container or a piece of charcoal in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odors

WHN Staff TIP – Door Safety: Discarding or cleaning a refrigerator or freezer? Remove or secure the doors so a child can’t be trapped inside.


For More Information

FoodSafety.gov: Keep Food Safe — tips and recommendations to prevent food poisoning. FoodSafety.gov is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies.

United States Department of Agriculture: Food Safety — information and resources about food safety.

Ready.gov: Food — advice for preparing emergency food supplies and dealing with post-disaster food issues.