How to Get Rid of Fridge Odor – Tips on Cleaning Your Refrigerator

This is a common question we’ve been asked on Refrigerator Reviews 4 U so thought it was time we put some fridge odor removal tips together which have been tested down the years, and are proved to get rid of smells in fridges and other nasty whiffs that might put you and your family off your food.

Here’s our guide to help you get rid of that bad smell in your fridge. Please note that fridges should be cleaned on a regular basis, and if you follow this guide every couple of months you should reduce the chances of having those fish smells and awful sick aromas that can sometime emanate from even the most modern of appliances.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Bad?

Don’t be embarrassed, a bad smell from the fridge effect most people at some point during the refrigerator’s lifetime. A refrigerator’s recommended temperature is around 40 degrees – but even at that setting it’s possible for mold and bacteria to develop. Most fridges have crevices and small gaps where drips and spillages can gather.

Over time these provide a fertile breeding ground for bacteria – which is what leads to the nasty smell –and are why you will need to adopt a thorough fridge odor removal process in order to solve the problem.

Many modern refrigerators are starting to be designed better to eliminate any unnecessary crevices and gaps where bacteria can thrive but the problem of a stinky fridge is still a common one.

Why Should You Clean Your Fridge Regularly?

Due to the prevalence of bacteria in refrigerators, no matter how clean you keep them, it is possible for householders to become ill due to cross contamination. This can often spread from shelf to shelf and will ruin other food types in the unit. Common areas where the smells will occur are underneath drawers, in the hinge mechanisms, and around the seals and doors.

Stinky Fridge? Then Let’s Get Rid of Those Nasty Odors and Smells

Here’s what you need to do in order to eliminate fridge odor. Firstly you will need to develop a cleaning solution, and this can be done by using common items found in the house. If you don’t have them to hand they are relatively cheap ingredients sold in most convenience stores. This is how you create your own refrigerator cleaning solution:

  • Quarter Cup of Baking Soda
  • Quarter Glass of Hot or Warm Water

Mix this all up and you’re ready to go. We use baking soda because it works as a cheap and effective cleaner – as well as making your fridge insides look nice, clean, and sparkling new. More importantly though, it has naturally occurring odor removing qualities.

Step 1: Empty Your Fridge

Remove everything from your fridge. Take out all the jars, sauces, tins, bottles, plastic containers – literally everything. This is also a good time for you to check on those use-by dates so make sure that you keep a trash bag handy as inevitably you’re going to be producing quite a bit of waste during the clean-up operation.

Step 2: Clean the Shelves, Baskets, and Removable Units

You will now need to remove all the shelves from the fridge including door bins, baskets, fruit and vegetable crispers and in fact anything that’s not nailed down – remove everything that can be taken out because they will need to be cleaned thoroughly.

The easiest place to clean all the shelving is actually in your bath tub, so put everything in the bath and then spray the whole lot with any household spray cleaner you might have. If you don’t have anything like that then hot water and washing-up liquid works just as well. Once covered in spray then just leave them in the bath – we’ll come back to them soon!

Now get inside that fridge and start washing down the insides using your baking soda solution (or warm soapy water). Use a clean cloth to apply and try and get into all the nooks and crannies inside the fridge. This is the best approach to getting rid of refrigerator smells. Once happy with the job you will need to rinse and then dry off using a clean towel.

You can now concentrate on all those fridge sections you left in the bath. For best results give them a scrub using a stiff brush or plastic scrubber. Once complete, rinse them under the taps and then dry off using your clean towel.

Step 3: Put the Shelves Back In and Re-Order Your Food

Place all the shelves, bins, and baskets back into the refrigerator and start to re-assemble the fridge. The neat thing is that you now have an opportunity to completely re-organise all your food items – just like you probably did when you first bought your new refrigerator!

It’s essential to wipe down and clean any jars before placing them back in – this will guard against re-contamination and go a long way to preventing fridge odors and bad smells once you’re up and running again.

The same goes for your fruit and vegetables, so run them under clean water before placing them back – but make sure that they are 100% dry before they go back in your nice smelling fridge.

Additional Tips on Keeping a Fridge Clean

Now you have a clean and great smelling refrigerator you want to keep it that way. Here are just a few things that you can do in order to keep bad fridge odors at bay – meaning you won’t need to clean it as often.

  • Always keep an eye on use-by dates on food containers and thrown anything away that’s out of date.
  • Keep an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves. Baking soda will naturally de-odorize the fridge keeping it smelling great (check this Arm & Hammer Fridge Soda Cleaner – it’s highly recommended).
  • Make sure that any jars or packets are tightly sealed to keep the smells inside. This will also reduce the chance of refrigerator food contamination between items.
  • If you spill anything in the fridge then make sure that it’s cleaned up immediately before it has time to get into gaps and crevices.
  • When placing jars or other food containers into the refrigerator, give the bottom of them a quick wipe to avoid any bacteria entering the fridge from your kitchen.


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