Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

How To Get Rid of Bad Odours from a Fridge

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Sooner or later, something or the other is going to cause a rather unpleasant smell in your fridge. It’s inevitable! When it finally happens, though, you might want to be prepared with the knowledge of how to get rid of bad odours from a fridge. 

Since there could be one or more contributing factors causing the foul smell in your refrigerator, finding the source(s) is crucial in successfully eliminating it altogether. With that said, even if the smell originated from the vegetable tray, you will still need to take measures to deodorise the entire fridge and not just tackle the problem in the tray. So, if you want to remove a bad smell from your fridge, you first need to get to the bottom of the foul-smelling problem, and then use the tips below to make your fridge smell fresh again! 

How to Eliminate Bad Smells From Your Fridge

man wearing blue shirt holding his nose with open empty fridge in the background

If you are dealing with a strong, persistent foul odour, it might take a few measures before the smell goes away completely. Nevertheless, for anyone looking to remove a bad smell from their fridge, MaidForYou has got some excellent tips to get the job done fairly quickly and easily! Read on.

Check the Drip Pan

You can find this shallow pan underneath your fridge which is generally accessible from the back. Be sure to turn off and unplug the appliance when doing this, and avoid jerking it around when moving the fridge forward. Although there is only a small amount of water that drips into the pan before getting evaporated, if something is causing a higher amount of condensation, the water will start to pool and remain stagnant for weeks. This causes a foul odour while also creating a breeding ground bacteria. If needed, take out the drip pan, wash it with soap and water before drying and placing it back.

Remove Rotten/Expired Foods

More often than not, the culprit behind a bad smell in your fridge is either in the form of rotten food or a product that has expired. We are all guilty of storing food/leftovers in the fridge for longer than they should be, thus leading to spoilage and wastage. For these reasons, it is advisable to check the contents of your fridge weekly or bi-weekly, and dispose of any foods/products that are past their date of consumption. From rotting leafy greens, and expired fish which leaves a lingering fishy smell to leftovers that are growing mould or mildew; the longer you keep these foods in your fridge, the more foul they will smell.

Deep Clean Your Fridge

You can’t expect your fridge to smell fresh when it hasn’t been cleaned out in a long time. Food spills and crumbs are inevitable and also contribute to bacteria growth which leads to foul odours; therefore, a routine deep clean of your fridge once in six months is highly advised in order to keep it clean, sanitary, and free of bad odours. The safest and best way to deep clean your refrigerator is by turning the appliance off and unplugging it; then, once the interior has reached room temperature, clear out the fridge completely, and clean each component (shelves, racks, etc) separately. 

Use Activated Charcoal Bags

If you didn’t already know this, activated charcoal has several health benefits and purifying uses. It also has cleansing properties and is excellent at absorbing odours. Often sold in powdered and briquette forms, you can purchase activated charcoal bags that feature a porous cloth material which contains the powder; they are then placed inside the fridge in order to absorb bad odours. Alternatively, you can make your own activated charcoal bags by purchasing the powder and cloth bags separately. 

Clean With Baking Soda

Yet another product that absorbs and neutralises odours, baking soda is widely used in household cleaning for its cleaning properties. To get the most out of the ingredient when it comes to your fridge, measure 2-3 spoons of the powder and mix in a small amount of water to make a thick paste. Next, dip a clean, damp sponge in the mixture and use it to wipe down the inside of your fridge including the shelves and trays. Baking soda is also great for removing stains and spills in your fridge, however, you might find some residue leftover from the paste which can easily be wiped up with a clean, damp kitchen cloth.

Air Out the Fridge

Sometimes musty odours just need to escape in order for something to go back to an odourless or pleasant smell. This is no different when it comes to your fridge because it is home to so many different smells and completely sealed for the most part. Moreover, bacteria and mould growth which cause a bad smell overtime, are also not uncommon in refrigerators. 

So, to eliminate musty or unpleasant odours in your fridge, air it out every few months by turning it off and clearing it out. While you’re at it, wipe down the inside with a damp cloth soaked in equal parts water and white vinegar (this helps neutralise odours) and then leave the door open for about an hour or so. Finish off my putting the contents back and switch the fridge back on.

Deodorise Your Fridge Naturally

When you have identified the cause of the bad smell in your fridge and taken measures to remove it, the next advisable thing to do is deodorise the interiors using natural remedies so that it stays fresh and smells pleasant for a longer time. One simple and effective way to do this is by adding a few drops of vanilla essence to a bowl of water; then add some cotton balls to it to soak up the fragranced water. This will help retain the smell for a longer duration. Keep the bowl inside your fridge for 24 hours or longer depending on how strong you prefer the scent to be when you open the refrigerator door. 

If you’re tired of bad-smelling cold air blasting you in the face every time you open your refrigerator door, use the tips above to get rid of foul odours from your fridge right away! More importantly, you should keep your fridge clean and sanitary for health and hygienic purposes while, of course, enjoying the added benefit of a fresh and pleasant-smelling fridge!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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