Preventing Bad Odors in the Fridge

Have you ever opened your refrigerator door only to be assaulted by a stinky waft of refrigerated air? The cool temperature does little to temper the odor, and you’re forced to hold your nose as you dig around for the source of the stench. Maybe old 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 If it’s been a while since you cleaned the fridge, odds are the outdated leftover isn’t the only thing contributing to the smell. Follow these tips to deodorize your refrigerator and prevent bad smells from returning.

Deodorize a Smelly Fridge

  • Clean up: Step one is to clean the fridge thoroughly. Turn off the appliance, remove everything from shelves and drawers, and store food in a cooler while you clean. 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.

  • Deodorize with baking soda: Leave an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb smells for at least 24 hours. Throw away the baking soda once it completes its job.

  • 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.)
  • 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.

Prevent Bad Odors from Returning

  • Set your fridge to the correct temperature: The perfect temperature to store food in the refrigerator is 37 to 41 degrees. Any colder and you waste energy; any warmer and your food will spoil faster and create a stink.

  • 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 there are wide temperature swings, this is a sign you need refrigeration repair to restore good circulation.

  • Store food properly: First, keep food in airtight containers. Not only does this help keep food fresher longer, but if something starts to go bad, it contains the odor instead of contaminating the entire fridge. Then, 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.
  • Sift through the fridge occasionally: Try to keep on top of what leftovers are in the fridge by sifting through its 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.

If you discover that bad odors in the fridge are caused by water leakage, poor air circulation or another malfunction, please contact Mr. Appliance® to schedule refrigeration repair 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.

For Further Reading:

Brightening Your Kitchen for Spring

5 Tips for an Efficient Refrigerator

Kitchen Maintenance and Upkeep

Vinegar: Your Kitchen’s Best Friend