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How to Eliminate Refrigerator Odors: 5 Simple Steps

Hey there! Does your fridge smell like it’s been storing leftovers from a decade ago? Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. Getting rid of those stubborn fridge odors might seem like a daunting task, but with these five simple steps, you’ll have your refrigerator odor fresh in no time. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Empty and Sort

Begin by taking everything out of your fridge. Yes, everything! This includes all those jars, bottles, and containers hiding in the back. Lay everything out where you can see it. This way, you’re not just tackling odors; you’re also getting a clear view of what’s in your fridge. You might be surprised to find a few items you forgot were there!

Now, put on your detective hat. It’s time to investigate each item. Check those expiration dates closely. Sometimes, things get pushed to the back and forgotten. That jar of salsa from last summer’s BBQ? It might be time to say goodbye. Be ruthless here. If it’s past its prime or you can’t remember when you bought it, it’s better to toss it.

As you’re sorting through your fridge contents, start organizing. Group similar items together – like keeping all your condiments in one area and dairy products in another. This not only helps you keep track of what you have but also makes it easier to find things later. Plus, a well-organized fridge is more efficient – it keeps everything cool more effectively.

While you’re sorting, think about freshness. If you have fruits and vegetables, give them a quick check. Fresh produce can sometimes be the hidden source of fridge odors, especially if they start to go bad. Soft, overripe fruits or wilted veggies? It’s time for them to go.


Men emptying the refrigerator, refrigerator odor



Step 2: Deep Clean Time

Your go-to cleaning solution is simple yet powerful: equal parts water and white vinegar. Why vinegar, you ask? Well, it’s a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, making it perfect for tackling those pesky fridge smells without leaving any harmful residues. Plus, it’s super budget-friendly and likely already in your pantry.

Armed with your vinegar solution, start wiping down every surface inside your fridge. This includes the walls, the ceiling of the fridge, and even the floor of it. Pay special attention to the shelves and drawers. Remove them if possible for a more thorough clean. Sometimes, spills and crumbs get trapped under these areas, contributing to unwanted odors.

Ah, the infamous nooks and crannies! These are the spots where spills often hide and odors linger. Use a soft brush or an old toothbrush dipped in your vinegar solution to gently scrub these areas. The rubber seals around the door, for example, are notorious for trapping food particles and mildew. Give them a good, gentle scrub.

While the inside is crucial, the outside of your fridge needs love too, especially the handles and the top of the fridge. These areas can accumulate a lot of grime from daily use. A quick wipe-down with your vinegar solution not only keeps them clean but also maintains the overall hygiene of your kitchen.

After you’ve wiped everything with the vinegar solution, it’s a good idea to go over the surfaces with a clean, damp cloth. This helps to remove any lingering vinegar smell and ensures that no cleaning residue is left behind.

Once everything is clean, make sure to dry off all the surfaces with a clean towel. Moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which are big no-nos in your quest for a fresh fridge.

Step 3: Baking Soda, the Refrigerator Odor Eater

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural odor absorber. Unlike air fresheners that just mask smells, baking soda actually neutralizes odors. It works by balancing pH levels, neutralizing both acidic and alkaline substances. This quality makes it perfect for tackling a variety of odors that can accumulate in your fridge from different foods.

After your fridge is clean and dry, take an open box of baking soda and place it at the back of one of the shelves. Why the back? It’s less likely to get knocked over, and it ensures that the baking soda covers a large area of your fridge. If your fridge is particularly large or tends to get smelly quickly, consider using two boxes, placing one on each side.

Baking soda does a fantastic job at absorbing odors, but it doesn’t work forever. Over time, its odor-absorbing abilities diminish. That’s why it’s important to replace the box of baking soda every three months. Set a reminder on your phone or mark it on your calendar – it’s a small step that makes a big difference.

For an extra boost, you can stir or shake the baking soda occasionally. This simple action exposes new surfaces of the baking soda, enhancing its odor-absorbing capabilities. If you notice any strong odors in your fridge before the three-month mark, check the baking soda. Sometimes, particularly pungent foods might shorten its lifespan.

Here’s a little bonus tip: Baking soda isn’t just great for odors; it’s also handy for cleaning. If you ever encounter a tough stain in your fridge, sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub away. It’s gentle yet effective, making it perfect for dealing with spills and stains.

Step 4: Regular Maintenance

Setting aside time each week for a quick fridge check can be a game-changer. This doesn’t need to be a lengthy process. A swift wipe-down of the shelves and bins, and a rapid scan for any spills or crumbs, can make a significant difference. Use a damp cloth for the wipe-down; if you encounter sticky or stubborn spots, a little bit of your vinegar solution from the deep clean can come in handy.

During your weekly ritual, be vigilant about expiration dates. This is not just about discarding spoiled food; it’s about maintaining the overall health of your fridge. Expired items can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, which contribute to bad odors and potentially contaminate other foods.

While checking for expired products, take a moment to rearrange items in your fridge. Ensure that everything is in its right place – vegetables in the crisper, dairy products in a cooler spot, and so on. This not only helps in keeping foods fresh longer but also gives you a chance to notice if anything is starting to go bad.

In addition to your weekly check-ups, consider doing a more thorough cleaning once a month. This doesn’t have to be as intensive as your deep clean but should be more than a wipe-down. Check seals, clear out any debris, and maybe rearrange shelves if needed. This monthly check ensures that no problem, big or small, goes unnoticed.

Regular maintenance also involves monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in your fridge. Make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature, usually between 37°F and 40°F. This helps in keeping food fresh longer and prevents the growth of bacteria.

Step 5: Natural Fresheners

Coffee grounds are an excellent natural deodorizer. They contain nitrogen, which helps in neutralizing odors, especially the strong and pungent ones that sometimes linger in the fridge. To use coffee grounds as a freshener, simply place a bowl of dry, used grounds in your fridge. They’ll gradually absorb the unpleasant odors, replacing them with a subtle, comforting coffee aroma. Just remember to replace the grounds every two weeks or so to maintain their effectiveness.

Lemons are not only for lemonade; they’re fantastic at freshening up your fridge too. The citric acid in lemons is great at neutralizing bad smells. Plus, they leave behind a fresh, clean scent. To use lemon as a freshener, cut a few slices and place them on a plate or in a bowl inside your fridge. The lemon slices will work their magic, leaving a fresh and zesty scent. Like the coffee grounds, you’ll want to replace these every few weeks.

Here’s a less known but equally effective natural freshener: vanilla extract. Its pleasant and sweet aroma can transform the atmosphere inside your fridge. Soak a couple of cotton balls in vanilla extract and place them in a small dish in your fridge. This will not only neutralize odors but will fill your fridge with a delightful, subtly sweet fragrance.

Fresh herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary can also double as natural fresheners. Not only do they smell great, but they also add a hint of greenery to your fridge. Simply place a small bouquet in a jar of water, and let these herbs lend their pleasant aromas to your fridge’s interior.

Activated charcoal is another excellent natural odor absorber. It’s highly porous and can trap odors effectively. Place a few chunks of activated charcoal in a small container or mesh bag and tuck it into a corner of your fridge. It’s odorless and works quietly in the background to keep your fridge smelling clean.


Deodorizing with sprays


Fresh as a Daisy

And there we go – five straightforward yet effective steps to tackle those stubborn fridge odors and keep your kitchen smelling as fresh as a daisy. Remember, a clean and odor-free fridge isn’t just about appearances; it’s about creating a healthy environment for your food and for you. Regular maintenance, along with these simple steps, can transform your fridge from a source of mystery smells into a source of culinary inspiration.

However, let’s be real: sometimes life gets hectic, and finding the time for a deep fridge clean can be a challenge. Maybe you’re juggling work, family, and a million other things, and your fridge is the last thing on your mind. Or perhaps you’ve tackled the fridge, but the rest of your kitchen is clamoring for attention too. This is where Toronto Shine Cleaning can be a game-changer. Offering a range of deep-cleaning home services, we can take the burden off your shoulders. Our team of professionals is equipped to handle every aspect of kitchen cleaning – yes, including that fridge that’s been giving you the side-eye.

By choosing Toronto Shine Cleaning, you’re not just getting a cleaning service; you’re reclaiming your time and peace of mind. Imagine walking into a kitchen where everything sparkles, from the stovetop to the inside of your fridge. It’s about coming home to a space that feels welcoming and clean, where you can cook and eat without worrying about lurking odors or unseen germs.