How to Remove Smell from Fridge Naturally

No matter how modern your refrigerator is, the unpleasant smell can still appear. From time to time, all owners of kitchen appliances have to deal with this annoying thing. The most obvious advice on how to get the smell out of a fridge is to thoroughly rinse all the shelves and drawers, but in some cases, even a perfect general cleaning does not help. What to do? Here is your ultimate guide on how to remove the smell from your fridge naturally.

What can I use to get rid of the smell in the fridge? The most effective remedies you can use to get rid of the smell in the fridge are:

  • Vinegar: wipe the walls of the refrigerator with a cloth dipped in a vinegar solution (dilute 50/50 with water).
  • Baking soda: clean the refrigerator with a water solution of baking soda. And then put an open container of soda in it and change it every 3 months. Soda is excellent at absorbing odours. How long does baking soda last for odours? On average, baking soda for odours lasts for about two our three months and then it needs to be replaced. 
  • Ammonia: it will help in the most severe cases when the refrigerator is washed, but the smell remains. Rub the inside of the refrigerator with ammonia and leave the door open all day.
  • Charcoal or activated carbon: grind a handful of charcoal, put in a saucer and refrigerate for a day.
    Why do we put charcoal in the refrigerator? We put charcoal in the refrigerator because charcoal is a natural absorbent and perfectly absorbs various odours. By the way, you can make a charcoal bag with your own hands from natural fabric or even an old cotton sock. And don’t forget to change your coal every 7-10 days.
  • Lemon juice: wash the inside of the refrigerator or at least wipe it with a damp cloth and a drop of lemon juice.

How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator

Ultimate Guide on How to Remove Smell from Fridge Naturally

If the refrigerator is new — A refrigerator, like any new household appliance, has its own smell. To prevent it from mixing with the scent of your favourite food, the smell of the new refrigerator must be removed before use.

Use a warm solution of water and baking soda or any kind of detergent to do this. Don’t forget to wash the outside of the refrigerator too. Then wipe all surfaces dry and leave the door open for a couple of hours to ventilate the cooking chambers. After that, you can safely load the refrigerator with food.

If the refrigerator is old — Even if you tightly close all jars and containers of food, over time, your fridge will start having a weird smell. So, it’s time to wash the refrigerator, or at least clean the special drain hole inside the chamber (it tends to get clogged). Manufacturers usually recommend doing this procedure once a year.

How Do I Get the Smell Out of My Fridge and Freezer?

  • Empty the fridge/freezer

Even if you have identified the source of the odour and got rid of it, you need to empty the entire fridge/freezer.

Where can you put perishable or frozen food during cleaning? You can take them out onto the balcony (in winter), put the food in a saucepan and then place it in a basin filled with cold water and ice or put food in a thermal bag along with ice bags.

If the refrigerator smells due to an unexpected power outage, throw away the food that may have gone off during the downtime. The refrigerator and freezer maintain a safe climate for about 4 hours after being switched off.

If your refrigerator has a no-frost system, then you do not need to defrost it. Otherwise, the refrigerator should be defrosted.

  • Wash all shelves and drawers

Take out shelves, containers, bottle holders and other removable items, then wash them in the sink or a bathtub in hot soapy water or a solution of water and half a glass of baking soda (on the sink).

If the shelves and drawers smell bad, wash them with a disinfectant solution made from 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach and 4 litres of water.

Finally, rinse the removable parts with clean water and leave to dry. The removable drawers and trays are dishwasher safe.

  • Wash the fridge/freezer compartment

How to remove the smell from the refrigerator/freezer compartment? Choose one of these remedies.

  • Method 1. Vinegar 9% table or wine (for strong and persistent odours) Mix 9% vinegar with water in a 1: 1 ratio and wipe with the resulting solution.  Do not wipe the sealing gum with vinegar solution as this may cause it to dry out and lose its elasticity.
  • How do you deodorize a fridge with baking soda? Method 2. Soda (to remove light odours) This method is good to use if you want to remove both dirt and at the same time get rid of a weak odour. Mix 1 cup of baking soda and 4 litres of water. Wipe the compartment with a sponge soaked in the solution. To remove dirt, dip a damp sponge directly into baking soda and wipe the stains with it.
    Does baking soda in the fridge really work? Yes, baking soda in the fridge really works. Baking soda absorbs odours very well. Place an open carton in the refrigerator, or pour the baking soda into a wide container or other containers.
  • Method 3. Lemon and citric acid (for strong odours) Dilute a sachet of citric acid in 4-5 litres of water or add the juice of one lemon to the bowl. To remove strong odours, you can even wipe the compartment with half a lemon.

The easiest way to spray the cleaner is from a spray bottle. Do not use harsh abrasives in order not to damage the enamel on the walls of the compartment.

Use an old toothbrush to clean the sealing gum. To clean the area under the seal, lift it up with a cloth-wrapped table knife. Be careful not to damage the rubber.

  • Rinse the drain hole

This step is optional, but desirable if you want to not only get rid of the smell but also thoroughly wash the refrigerator. If you cannot identify the source of the unpleasant odour, then you must wash the drain hole. Musty water or mould can form in it.

Most often, the drain hole is located in the centre of the back wall of the refrigerator compartment. If you cannot find it, check the instruction manual for your refrigerator. To wash the drain hole, first, clean it with a wooden skewer and then fill it with the cleaning solution.

  • Ventilate and dry the fridge compartment

Turn off the refrigerator and leave the door open for at least one day. If the unpleasant odour is still here, wipe the walls of the chamber again with soda solution or another solution from the list above and turn on the refrigerator the next day.

  • Putting a natural odour absorber on the shelf for prevention

Once the inside of your refrigerator is clean, put all food back.

How to Get Rid of Stale Fridge Smell: Cleaning the Kitchen

What can I use to get rid of the smell in the fridge? How do I stop my fridge from smelling after cleaning? If you want to stop your fridge from smelling after cleaning, place one of the following odour absorbers on a shelf or two of your choice:

  • Activated carbon. Charcoal tablets or granules can be poured into a small saucer or wrapped in a gauze bag. Activated charcoal can be purchased not only at the pharmacy but also at the pet store. There it is sold in granular form in packages of 400-1000 grams.
    Used activated charcoal can be refreshed by heating it in an oven at 180 ° C for 20 minutes.
  • Baking soda. For daily deodorization of the refrigerator, the baking soda can be poured into a small cup or glass. But if you want to remove the smell that has already appeared, it is best to sprinkle the baking soda in an even layer on a baking sheet, small tray or platter.
  • A slice of black rye bread. For greater efficiency, the bread slice can be cut into pieces and placed in all corners of the fridge compartment.
  • A cup of oatmeal.
  • A cup of ground coffee. The coffee smell will quickly disappear and the ground beans will begin to absorb other smells.
  • Rice grain. Put on a saucer and place in the refrigerator.
  •  Chopped onions, apples and potatoes are also excellent at absorbing odours. But such natural absorbents will have to be changed every few days.
  • Aromatic herbs and spices. By storing basil, turmeric, cloves, tarragon, cinnamon, celery, thyme in the refrigerator, you thereby prevent the formation of unpleasant odours. Vanilla extract will also help – if necessary, wipe the shelves with a cotton swab soaked in fragrant liquid.
  • Orange, lemon. You can use orange peels or lemon wedges as an air freshener.
    How to make your fridge smell nice with lemon? Lemon juice will make your fridge smell nice. Squeeze some lemon out and dampen a napkin with it. Wipe thoroughly, then cut the lemon (or orange) into slices and place on a saucer, leaving for 2-3 days. Lemon is especially effective in eliminating fish odours. Freshly peeled citrus will help to consolidate the effect.
  •  Salt, sugar. Just put an open container of salt or sugar in the refrigerator, and very soon there will be no trace of the unpleasant smell.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Even Though It’s Clean?

If your fridge still smells even though it is clean, this can be due to two reasons: food storage mistakes and technical problems and other causes of defrosting. If the temperature inside the chamber is higher it will lead to more germs on the food. As a result, food spoils and smells bad. These problems can arise in the event of breakdowns, a power outage of the apartment, or if you simply forgot to close the refrigerator door.

Let’s find out what you need to do if your fridge smells even though it is clean. Here is your guide on how to how to keep your refrigerator smelling fresh.

Proper Food Storage

Storing food correctly in the refrigerator is an important aspect of keeping you free from unpleasant odours. In addition to preventing odour formation, this will also help keep food fresh.

Food Pairing Rules

First of all, pay attention to which foods cannot be stored next to each other:

  • cheese and fruits, vegetables, smoked products;
  • sausage with vegetables and fruits;
  • fruits next to potatoes, beets, carrots and cabbage;
  • fish with bread, grapes and lettuce;
  • raw with cooked.

If you follow these rules, then the food will retain their freshness for a long time and will not absorb foreign aromas.

If you bought fish or meat, but are not going to cook in the near future, then it is better to put them in the freezer for storage, wrapped in cling film or a plastic bag.

If cooking is in the near future, then keep the food in the refrigerator in an enamel dish covered with gauze or a towel. Place the crockery on the lowest shelf close to the freezer as the temperature is lower there. But it is better to move it away from the door since warm air will penetrate into the refrigerator when you open it.

Bread, pastries, eggs are stored on the lower shelf for a long time. But it is better not to put them in containers, the shelf life will be reduced in general to a week. The middle shelf is suitable for fermented milk and other products, the storage temperature of which should be from 0 to 10 degrees.

Plastic or glass containers are good storage utensils. You can find special containers for different types of products: cheese, sausage, banana, etc.

Proper Fridge Defrosting

Even if your refrigerator is No Frost, it is better to defrost it at least once every six months.

  • Remove all the food, set the temperature to 0 and disconnect the appliance from the power supply;
  • Old fridges might leak — put on a pallet and stock up on rags;
  • Defrosting takes from 3 to 10 hours. It is more convenient to leave it overnight;
  • Rinse with detergent, rinse with water and wipe dry.

Look at the Seals

If defrosting does not help, check the seals, walls, tray, shelves and their edges. Rinse them thoroughly as they accumulate a lot of dirt, bacteria, germs and mould.

Finding the cause of mould is especially important. This may be due to condensation and high humidity, which indicates a malfunction of the equipment, which will be eliminated by a specialist. After work, remove all mould with folk or chemical detergents. But it is better to purchase a special antifungal liquid.

Technical Issues with Your Fridge

If all methods have been tried, but the smell remains, then pay attention to the drainage hole, where all the water flows down when the refrigerator is defrosted. It can become clogged, as it is easy for food particles to get there, which will begin to decompose and give off an unpleasant odour.

Try to get there with a rag wrapped around the wire. Be careful not to damage the hoses. After such cleaning, pour boiling water there. If the container for collecting water is removed, then remove and dry it. If not, contact a specialist.

Ventilation is another problem with bad odours. Especially in refrigerators with the No Frost system. Ventilation carries odour from the condensate container. Defrosting and rinsing will help.

If you smell a burning smell coming from the refrigerator, there can be many reasons for this. It is better not to act independently, but to immediately invite a specialist.

How to Clean the Fridge from Mould and Get Rid of the Fungus?

To get rid of mould, find out what causes it. Mould often provokes the accumulation of condensate in the unit due to which the humidity in the chamber increases, or a mouldy product that has been stored for a long time:

  • clean the black mould areas with a solution of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide;
  • disinfect the unit with warm water and laundry soap (alkali kills the fungus);
  • leave the refrigerator open for 8-10 hours to dry all the parts of the chamber;
  • wipe the contents in the refrigerator compartment (jars, lids, trays, etc.) with a weak solution of vinegar.

How to Remove the Fungus in the Refrigerator?

The fungus in your fridge is effectively removed using 5 products.

  • Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite in its composition, which kills fungal spores and prevents them from multiplying;
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%) perfectly disinfects bacteria and destroys mould;
  • Table vinegar prevents the development of fungus if it is applied once a week to an infected area;
  • The ammonia alcohol effectively removes fungus from glass and tiles. Use it in ventilated areas so as not to harm your health.
  • The odour absorber removes the excessive moisture that microorganisms like and absorbs odours.

Fridge Bad Smell Prevention

There are a few preventative tips to help prevent unpleasant odours in your fridge:

  • Ventilate. Unplug the refrigerator and open for a couple of hours. Do this once a month;
  • Wipe dry all surfaces, even if you just washed or accidentally spilt something;
  • Defrost your fridge once every six months. Wipe all compartments, including the drain hole;
  • Use odour absorbents.
  • Store food in containers. Many foods smell strong enough to absorb into the surfaces of the refrigerator compartment. Therefore, each product, from chopped onions to the leftovers of dinner, must be covered with a lid, foil or film, or stored in a container.
  • Check the refrigerator at least once every three days. This will help you eliminate spoiled food in time.
  • If you are leaving for a long time (more than a week or two), empty the refrigerator and freezer, turn off the appliance and disconnect from the power supply, wash the chambers, then open the door slightly. If the door is left closed, the humidity and insulation will cause mould and odour in the chamber.


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