The 5 BEST Ways to Avoid Fridge Stink!

“Something’s rotten in Denmark!” was heard every once in a while at our house. The occasion? We’d left something in the fridge too long and an unsuspecting food grazer would discover it.

Since those days I’ve learned a few tricks to avoiding this scenario. But before launching into this, I need to mention the importance of storing food correctly in the fridge in the first place. Always avoid storing food in open containers so that the smells don’t blend. Once the smells from different foods combine, foul-smelling chemicals are produced and nasty aromas take over.

OK, with basic house-keeping out of the way, here are the 5 best ways to deodorize the fridge or avoid fridge stink altogether.

1. Make sure your fridge is clean. If not, turn it off, take everything out and store the food on your deck or patio if it’s cold enough outside, or in a cooler with some ice. Clean all the shelves and drawers with a thick paste of baking soda and water. Not only will you remove food stains but imbedded odors as well.

2. Then set your fridge and freezer temperatures appropriately. Too high and you’ll get faster spoilage and more stinkage. Too low and you’ll waste money on your utility bill and also contribute to climate change.

3. You can then continue the baking soda theme. We all know it’s one of the best and most natural deodorizing friends a fridge can have. Place an open container with baking soda inside and let it absorb the smells for at least 24 hours.

Because most people will keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge permanently, you can now find attractive baking soda containers designed just for the purpose of fridge deodorizing. The one pictured is from The Container Store. But whether you just use the box it comes in or a fancy container, be sure to change out your baking soda at least every 3 months if this is your deodorizing approach.

And here’s a tip: Keep a can with a lid under your sink to hold all that worn-out baking soda. Use this for scouring your sinks, shower doors, and so on. You’ll get sparkle without ruining fine finishes.

4. But if baking soda isn’t cutting it, then you’ll need to bring in the “big guns.” Just distribute freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Once this effective technique has fixed the problem, don’t throw the coffee away, though. Instead, mix it with soil and use it as a fertilizer in your garden.

5. To freshen the smell of your fridge you can also soak a cotton ball in pure vanilla extract, or fragrant essential oil (such as peppermint). It’ll take around 12 hours for this approach to remove those nasty odors. But if you’d like to keep this fresh smell going, you’ll need to change your cotton ball(s) at least every week.

With these tips, you can easily keep your kitchen and fridge clean and fresh for a minimum price. Just remember that a fridge smells only as bad as its contents. So take care to choose your food wisely and to store it appropriately and you will rarely need to deodorize.


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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