It came from the…fridge

Ben Wolford

Why moldy food can be a real horror story


Credit: DKS Editors

When mold spores set their sights on an old Chipotle burrito or grandma’s roast beef, there’s not much that can be done to save the doomed leftovers.

Lest the refrigerator smell like sweaty socks, a regular cleaning is necessary. Sometimes it’s tough to toss out a couple delicious Hungry Howie’s slices, but once the pepperoni turns green, all is lost.

For those less willing to part with their spoiled sustenance, perhaps the incentive of an unofficial national holiday is enough to rid the refrigerator of its refuse.

Today is national Clean Out Your Fridge Day.

Who knew?

Junior nursing major David Klacik didn’t, but he said his fridge stays relatively tidy. He and his roommates live off campus and carefully scrutinize old food, but have never really cleaned the refrigerator.

“I don’t plan on cleaning out my fridge until something’s green and moving on the bottom,” Klacik said.

Some quick fridge facts.

• The Chinese cut and stored ice in 1,000 B.C.

• At the beginning of the 19th century, ice boxes were used in England.

• Two of the first home refrigerators both appeared in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where, in 1911, General Electric

company unveiled a unit invented by a French monk.

•During the 1940s, frozen food storage became widely used by consumers.

•Today, the refrigerator is America’s most used appliance, found in more than 99.5 percent of American homes.


In line with those standards for cleanliness, Klacik thought a yearly fridge-cleaning holiday was overkill.

“It should be a tri-annual holiday because that’s really how long it takes for things to get dirty,” he said.

Still, regular upkeep is required, even in Klacik’s household. “That three-week-old pizza just didn’t make the cut,” he said.

In dining facilities on campus, refrigerator cleanliness is a given.

At Prentice Café, food is used so quickly there isn’t even a need to clean the fridges and freezers, said student manager Kira Heeley, junior

advertising major.

A glance inside the walk-in refrigerators there reveals a neat display of packaged goods.

“Every once in a while we have some old produce, but we just throw it out,” she said.

Sophomore music major Mulysa Funk at Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Student Center had no knowledge of Clean Out Your Fridge Day, but she said the refrigerator there is inventoried and maintained one to three times a week.

Heeley didn’t know about today’s sanitation festivities, either, and said she had no plans to celebrate.

For restaurants on campus, national Clean Out Your Fridge Day is just another day of the week, and for students, awareness is similarly lacking. Hidden between Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving, national Clean Out Your Fridge Day is observed only privately in kitchens across the country.

School will remain in session today, but maybe one less refrigerator will smell like sweaty socks.

Contact features reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].