For many of us, spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition passed on from our mothers and grandmothers. But even our grandmothers are too young to remember the worst part of that annual ritual: the mess and bother of defrosting the fridge, chipping caked frost from the freezer compartment walls, and gingerly carrying the melted, watery glop to the sink for disposal — ideally without spilling any on the floor.
Today’s modern appliances make that onerous chore as obsolete as Great Grandma’s icebox. Now that a Sub-Zero refrigerator graces your kitchen, you are blissfully free from that drudgery. Sub-Zero refrigerators are engineered to be low-maintenance, with shelving and interior compartments designed for efficient operation under all commonly encountered in-home conditions.
But even a Sub-Zero can use a little help from its adoring owner. Here are a few tips to help your Sub-Zero refrigerator run smooth and efficient for years to come:
Adequate air circulation is a critical part of efficient operation — and safe food storage. Try to avoid packing items so closely together that air can’t move freely around the compartment. With efficient placement, the motor won’t run as often and the temperature will remain constant throughout. (This applies to the freezer, too.)
Make it a point to look over the contents of your refrigerator at regular intervals and dispose of outdated or spoiled items. You probably don’t need two half-empty jars of mustard or the moldy remains of some ancient Chinese takeout pushed to the back of the compartment. Although Sub-Zero refrigerators are designed for optimum air flow to keep mold at bay, it can occur in the best-kept home, so be sure to throw away questionable foods regularly. And if something looks or smells iffy, don’t taste it to be sure — just throw it out.
Be sure to keep leftovers and other cooked foods tightly sealed to prevent transfer of odors and flavors to other foods. Have you ever slathered a slice of hot cinnamon toast with butter that, unbeknownst to you, has absorbed garlic or blue cheese odors? Yuck. Take full advantage of Sub-Zero’s humidity-controlled compartments and incrementally adjustable shelving to keep foods separated and prevent unpleasant taste surprises.
If you are a master of organization, you may want to arrange items according to their expiration dates and use those items first. But if you’re like too many of us (be honest!), you’ll find the oldest items gradually migrate to the back of the refrigerator, where they languish unnoticed and uneaten. If that sounds like you, make it a practice to regularly rotate the contents of your Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer compartments, moving the oldest items to the front where they are more likely to be used.
Or you can simply arrange the contents according to height, so everything is readily visible and therefore within easy reach and likely use.
Always keep the temperature at the level recommended for your Sub-Zero model. If the temperature is set too high, foods can spoil more quickly; too low, and tender produce like lettuce and other leafy greens may wilt. And in both cases, the motor must work harder to keep foods fresh and wholesome.
Oh — back to cleaning: if spills occur in the refrigerator compartment, wipe them off immediately with a damp cloth. For dried spills, a paste of baking soda and water applied to the material will soften it to the point it can be wiped up. Repeat until the entire spot can be removed without abrasion or harsh chemicals like bleach or vinegar. Always use a soft, lint-free cloth like microfiber and a mild detergent like Ivory Liquid, Joy, or Dawn to clean interior surfaces, and use glass cleaner for shelving and stainless steel polish for interior and exterior stainless structures. (For more detailed cleaning information, check your Sub-Zero’s Use & Care Guide.)
These tips, along with regular inspection and cleaning of your Sub-Zero’s contents will save money and time and keep your Sub-Zero running at peak performance for years to come.