Household clean-out mystery

I’m liking this summer thing. No school volunteer gig to slice up my day off on Fridays. Planning an extended-family cookout for tomorrow evening. Having kids home and free to shop with me so I can bear to go to both the grocery store and Costco in one day.

imageSummer time is energizing me so much that today I did two clean-out projects on top of all the regular Friday chores. An interior clean of my tiny white van was scheduled for today, probably the one day of this weekend when it won’t be raining. I actually found this task delightful, partly because I’m still overjoyed to have my old, grungy, peeling-paint, electrical freak-out van back in service again (here’s the story of its premature demise, time in dry-dock, and resurrection). This clean-out was especially enjoyable because The Husband has not been driving it recently – meaning that it does not have Diet Pepsi spilled and splattered all over it. One of his favorite treats is a stop at QT for a large drink. I don’t know what exactly goes on when he makes these stops, but it seems to include deliberately anointing the entire front seat area with Diet Pepsi. Nice that I didn’t have to deal with that today.

The unscheduled clean-out that took place today was…drumroll please…the REFRIGERATOR. Honestly, our fridge isn’t all that bad. We’re pretty good about pulling out old food so we don’t get imagesurprised by a container of green, fuzzy mold. In fact, last week we had so many leftovers we even created an inventory. For two days, no one was allowed to eat unless they chose at least one item off the leftover inventory. So the the clearing off of the shelves and the door today wasn’t a big deal.

What was a big deal was the grunge that clung to every horizontal surface. What is that 1/4 inch-deep layer of white flakes made up of, anyway? My best guess is bits of milk that fall off the gallon milk jugs. And then there’s the creepy brownish orange gunk that collects in the bottom of the fruit and vegetable drawers and underneath the drawers themselves, as well. Are our fruits and veg self-destructing without our knowledge? It’s a mystery.

As satisfying as it is to now have a gleaming white fridge with everything nicely organized (yeah, that will last three days, tops), the task has created a burning question:

WHAT IS THAT HORRENDOUS ODOR COMING OUT OF MY NICE, CLEAN FRIDGE?

It didn’t smell BEFORE we cleaned it. Every surface was sprayed thoroughly with cleaner, wiped down with wet rags, and dried with clean towels. It’s as if in cleaning we’ve disturbed the beast.

I don’t have much faith in the open-box-of-baking-soda in the fridge for eliminating odors. Honestly, I think that’s just a way for baking soda companies to try and make a buck because I’ve never seen it work. But I guess I’ll give it a go.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle the oven. At least I can identify the gunk that’s collected in there.

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