Eliminate Stinky Refrigerators

Dated: 10/24/2017

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 Refrigerator Smells? How to Stop and Prevent Fridge Odor Smells? How to Stop and Prevent Fridge Odor

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Stainless steel refrigerator in a home kitchen

Refrigerator smells have you afraid to open the door? Vanquish them with these tips.

Have you ever opened your fridge door only to be assaulted by a stinky waft of refrigerated air? The cool temperature does little to temper how the refrigerator smells, and you’re forced to hold your nose as you dig for the source of the stench. Maybe leftover fish, ground beef or forgotten salad has been hiding in the back corner for a few weeks — or even longer.

Even once you dispose of the moldy, festering culprit, the foul odor may linger. If it’s been a while since you cleaned the fridge, odds are the expired leftover isn’t the only thing contributing to the smell.

Follow these tips to deodorize refrigerator smells and prevent them from returning.

How to get rid of refrigerator odor

1. Clean up

If your fridge smells, step one is to clean it thoroughly. Turn off the appliance, and remove everything from shelves and drawers. Store food in a cooler while you clean.

Coffee beans on a bamboo table mat

A combination of baking soda and coffee grounds can dramatically reduce fridge odor. (Top photo by Eldon Lindsay, bottom photo by Katelin Kinney)

Soak removable shelves and bins in the sink with warm soapy water. Wipe down fixed parts with a cloth dampened with soapy water and vinegar.

Dry all surfaces thoroughly and place everything back in the fridge.

2. Deodorize with baking soda

Leave an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb refrigerator smell for at least 24 hours. Throw away the baking soda once it completes its job.

3. Deodorize with freshly ground coffee

To boost the baking soda’s effect, spread freshly ground coffee on a plate and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Instead of throwing the coffee away afterward, mix it with soil to fertilize your houseplants.

4. Leave a fresh scent behind

Soak a few cotton balls in vanilla extract and leave them in the fridge for a few hours to produce a fresh, clean scent. You can also slice up an orange and place it in an open bowl in the fridge to leave an appealing citrusy aroma behind.

How to prevent refrigerator odor from returning

1. Set your fridge to the correct temperature

The perfect temperature to store food in the refrigerator is 37–41 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and you waste energy; any warmer and your food will spoil faster and create fridge odor.

2. Ensure good air circulation

Adequate airflow helps spread refrigerated air around to better preserve food in every corner of the fridge. Place a small thermometer in different spots around the fridge to check the temperature.

If you observe wide temperature swings, this is a sign you need refrigeration repair to restore good circulation.

Shot of produce and meat drawers in a Whirlpool refrigerator

Store foods in their proper place, such as produce in crispers and meat in the deli drawer, for optimal freshness. (Photo courtesy of Whirlpool Corporation)

3. Store food properly

First, keep food in airtight containers. Not only does this help keep food fresh longer, it contains odor should something start to go bad, rather than letting it contaminate the entire fridge.

Second, store different foods in their respective bins. For example, fruit and vegetable crispers are designed to preserve the freshness and flavor of produce better than other sections of the refrigerator.

4. Sift through the fridge occasionally

Stay on top of what leftovers are in your fridge by sifting through the contents once a week. As soon as you see signs that a leftover is going bad, toss it out before it has time to make a stink.

Why does my fridge smell after cleaning and deodorizing?

If you discover that bad odors in the fridge are caused by water leakage, poor air circulation or another malfunction, contact a repairman such as Mr. Appliance to schedule service today. We’ll get your fridge back up and running so you can use these tips to prevent bad odors from forming in the future.

This article was originally posted on the Mr. Appliance blog.

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