How to Remove Bad Fridge Odor and Smells like a Professional

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Does your refrigerator smell bad? Here’s how to remove fridge odor and smells.

how to remove fridge odor and smells that are really bad - cleaning tips from a professional cleaner! Spring clean your kitchen refrigerator and deodorize and deep clean your appliance with these easy to follow instructions.

Working in the cleaning industry, we hear “Our fridge smells bad, what can I do to get rid of the smell?” all the time. It’s surprisingly a very common problem.

But, a bad smell from a fridge is not a reason to throw your fridge away and buy a new one! Yes, the smell can be disgusting, but there is a way around it. Trust me; I’ve been there. If you’re unfortunately there right now, I hope these solutions for getting rid of bad fridge odors will work great for you too.

How to Remove Fridge Odor

Step 1: Deep Clean Fridge

The easiest way to get rid of the awful stench from your fridge is by cleaning it.

In order to really clean your fridge, you’ll need a few cleaning tools such as dish scouring pads, clean dish towels (dry), a cleaning solution and others.

Begin by turning off the refrigerator by unplugging it from the power source. If some of your foodstuffs are likely to spoil while cleaning, place them in a cooler and add ice for proper preservation.

During the cleanout process, you will likely discover food remains turning into a science project. Rotten food is among the top sources of unpleasant fridge smells.

Remove everything inside and discard all foods items that are past the expiration date.

Next, clean the fridge itself.

It is easy to clean the fridge thoroughly using most homemade cleaning solutions. My favorite is a mixture of baking soda and warm water.

Put ½ cup of baking soda into the sink and fill it with warm water. Soak all the removable compartments of the fridge in it for a few minutes. Use a clean dish scouring pads to scrub the bins, shelves, and other parts. Rinse and set aside to dry.

Dip a clean cloth in the solution of baking soda and warm water. Wring it out and use it to wipe the fridge interiors and any compartment that couldn’t be removed.

If the rubber seal around your fridge lifts up from the edge, be sure to clean under them with the wet cloth as well, using a flathead screwdriver covered with the cloth if needed or for easier access under the seal.

Finally, clean the drip tray as it contains dirty water. Your fridge’s drip tray commonly appears under the refrigerator itself.  Be careful pulling it out so you don’t pour dirty water on clean surfaces!how to remove fridge odor and smells that are really bad - cleaning tips from a professional cleaner! Spring clean your kitchen refrigerator and deodorize and deep clean your appliance with these easy to follow instructions.

Step 2: Remove Fridge Odors that Remain after Cleaning It

Through my battle with the unappetizing refrigerator odors and smells, I came across a few household products which are effective odor busters. Here are some of them:

Fridge Odor Remover 1: Baking Soda

Baking soda balances the pH level around smelly items thus masking their odor.

All you need to do is spread the baking soda on a flat surface, such as a baking sheet, and place it in the refrigerator. Keep the fridge closed for at least 24 hours or until the smell disappears.

Use it now and then to counteract the odors from the substances inside the fridge.

Fridge Odor Remover 2: Vinegar

White vinegar is also another substance effective in neutralizing the awful fridge smell.

Mix vinegar with water 50/50 and use the solution to wipe down all the surfaces inside your fridge to make it smell fresh.

Then, place an open cup containing vinegar in the fridge and keep the door shut until the smell disappears.

Fridge Odor Remover 3: Oats or Coffee

If you have a bowl of oats nearby, you can place them in your awful smelling fridge. Within no time, the oats will absorb all the bad smell.

Coffee grounds too can serve the same purpose. Place the fresh coffee grounds on a bowl or two and place them in the refrigerator, or spread them and leave them open on a baking sheet. Leave the fridge door shut for a couple of hours or a day for the bad odor to disappear.

Fridge Odor Remover 4: Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is also known to absorb odors from substances. Just like the coffee grounds, place the activated charcoal on baking sheets or in shallow bowls. Store it on different shelves of the fridge. Ensure that you set the fridge at low temperatures and within a few days, the smell will disappear.

How to Prevent Future Fridge Odors  

To prevent future occurrences of bad smell from refrigerators, ensure that you use airtight containers when storing food. It will help keep the food fresh for long and prevent spills which lead to bad fridge odors.

On a weekly basis, ensure that you check and discard any expired food. This practice also reduces the likelihood of encountering an awful smell from your refrigerator.

After cleaning, I always make sure that the odor clears before putting back the containers. If you are leaving for a while, it is helpful to leave the fridge turned off and unplugged. In this case, you may leave the door a little bit open to prevent damp conditions as they might encourage the growth of mold which will also result in a bad smell.

Nathan RaymondAbout the Author: Nathan Raymond is the CEO of West Coast Restoration & Cleaning. “Ray” and his staff are experts in water and fire restoration, and mold removal, carpet cleaning, and much more. As an expert in this field, Raymond enjoys sharing his experience with homeowners and property managers as an active author in the blogosphere. He has been active in the industry for over ten years, and his business can be found at

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