How to Eliminate Refrigerator Odors

Fridge smells....what can we say about fridge smells?  Well, they sure can ruin a meal.  Removing the odor can be a little time consuming but the task itself is pretty easy.  Take it slow, maybe even one step per day and you'll get through it, we promise.  Read on for our tips:


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  1. Remove the source of the odor.  Is it the leftover fish from last week?  An egg that cracked and went bad?  Get it out of there!  If you're reading this, chances are, your problem is a little bigger than that.  If so, read on...
  2. Go ahead and remove all items, sort through them and discard any expired items.  Make a note of any items that will soon expire and be sure to put them where you can see them so you will be more likely to use them.
  3. Remove all shelves and drawers.  Read your refrigerator's owner's manual.  Sometimes shelves and drawers are dishwasher safe.  Even if they are, we recommend a low heat, gentle cycle, so they will last longer.  If they aren't dishwasher safe, hand wash and dry them completely.
  4. While the shelves and drawers are drying, use a microfiber rag and some all-purpose cleaner (instead of water, we recommend half water, half vinegar, in this case) to clean the inside walls, ceiling and floor of the refrigerator.  If you had any spills, you may need to let them soak for a bit. (EXTRA TIP: Mix one part rubbing alcohol and one part vanilla extract.  After cleaning the interior, rub this mixture all over the walls.  Vanilla extract is known for removing odors and the rubbing alcohol will kill the bacteria that causes the odors.)
  5. Once everything is dry, put the shelves and drawers back in.  Before you put the food back in, why not go ahead and give those items a quick wipe down too?  The smells could be lingering on the outside of the bottles and containers.
Next, you'll need to maintain the freshness.  Here are some tips:

  • Place an open bowl of baking soda in the fridge (also vinegar, coffee grounds or activated charcoal placed in a bowl will absorb odors).  Replace this monthly.
  • Keep less food in there!  This makes you more likely to eat everything before it goes bad and makes it easier to clean the shelves without removing everything.
  • Clean up spills and leaks immediately.
  • Wipe the shelves with the half rubbing alcohol, half vanilla mixture once per week (or wipe them with vinegar)
  • Make sure to keep any leftover food in airtight containers (no open plates of food!)
Got more tips?  Leave them in the comments below!

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