The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Refrigerator Odor

Clean Your Refrigerator Day!

Are you getting a whiff of bad odors every time you open your refrigerator? If so, it may be time to tackle the smell.

Removing Refrigerator Odor

  1. Discard Old Food - The first step is to get rid of whatever caused the problem in the first place. Check expiration dates on everything in the refrigerator, including condiments and sauces. Throw away anything that has expired - leftovers and any fresh fruit or vegetables that seem to be past their prime. Also consider removing any pungent foods like onions or garlic that easily spread their smell.
  2. Clean the Refrigerator - Scrub all of the shelves. Take drawers out to wash. Clean beneath the drawer slots, doors, water dispenser tray and handle. if the inside of your refrigerator requires a thorough cleaning that will take some time, move foods to a cooler with ice so they don't spoil while the door is open.
  3. Clean the Drip Tray - The drip tray is often forgotten, but is essential to clean from time to time as it contains dirty water which may be causing the bad odor. The drip tray is located beneath the refrigerator. Remove the grill from beneath the doors, carefully pull out the tray and dump the contents. Deodorize the tray by soaking it in baking soda and water after cleaning. Before placing back under the fridge, use a paper towel or rag to wipe up drips of water under the fridge if possible.
  4. Defrost if Necessary - For sever smells that won't go away, try defrosting your refrigerator. This is a good practice to do from time to time as bad odors can condense and mix with the ice inside; the same goes for your freezer. Again, be sure to store your food with an alternative cooling method.

Remove Refrigerator Smell with Natural Ingredients

It's a good idea to stay away from harsh chemicals when cleaning an area in which your food is stored. Use natural ingredients to clean your refrigerator. Here are some ingredients you could use:

  1. Banking Soda - Baking soda is a great long and short term solution. Long term, leave an open box of baking soda in the fridge. This will absorb and deodorize smells. Replace every few weeks. To quickly get rid of smells, spread baking soda on a baking sheet (or a dish with a large surface area), leave it in the refrigerator for several hours and then throw it away.
  2. Coffee Grounds - Used coffee grounds are another surprising remedy to refrigerator odor. Dry off used grounds and then place in bowl or porous bag (such as old nylons). Lave in the refrigerator a few hours up to two days. Be sure to throw the used grounds away in the trash, not down the drain, as coffee grounds clog drains.
  3. Vinegar - Put an open bowl (or cup) filled with white vinegar in the refrigerator. White vinegar can neutralize the odors that come out of the fridge. It can also be mixed with water and used to clean the inside of the appliance.
  4. Oranges - One of the best ways to eliminate odors is to take an orange rind (or other citrus rind such as grapefruit), fill it with salt and place it in the back of the refrigerator. Leave it there until the salt gets completely damp, then throw the whole thing out and replace as needed.
  5. Vanilla - Vanilla extract will also deodorize a refrigerator. Soak fresh cotton balls in vanilla extract and place in a small dish in the back of the refrigerator.
  6. Oats - Leave a bowl of dry oats in the refrigerator for several hours to remove bad odor. The oats will suck in the bad smells and are easily disposed of in the trash.

Prevent Refrigerator Odor

  1. Proper Storage - Be sure to store applicable foods in airtight containers. Don't forget about restaurant leftovers, although they usually come in a cardboard or styrofoam container, repackage the food into an airtight container.
  2. Temperature - It's important to keep your refrigerator at the proper temperature. Too high will make food spoil quicker. Too low is unnecessary and will waste energy, increase utility bills and potentially freeze your foods.
  3. Proper Placement - Refrigerators have designated spots for different types of foods. The crisper drawers at the bottom of the fridge are meant for fresh fruits and vegetables as they maintain moist conditions that help preserve fresh foods. Keep fruits and vegetables in separate drawers, as many fruits produce ethylene, a chemical that helps them ripen. Placed next to other vegetables, ethylene can cause premature ripening and make them go yellow, limp or even sprout. Leftovers or foods that expire quickly should be kept at the front of the refrigerator so they don't get shoved to the back and forgotten.
  4. Routine Cleaning - The best preventative measure is to have a clean refrigerator free of spoiled food. Develop a schedule to clean out your refrigerator once a week, or every other week at the longest.

Helpful hint: Label and date your leftovers. You'll always know what's in the container and won't forget what day you brought it home.

Now that your refrigerator odors are cured, what other items in your kitchen need help? For any plumbing issues, be sure to contact us at Hawthorne Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. Our plumbers are ready to assist you with leaky faucets, garbage disposal repair and replacement and any other plumbing emergencies.

Contact our professional plumbers today!