How Do You Tackle a Bad Refrigerator Odor?

Refrigerator odors come in numerous varieties. Naturally, certain odors are more objectionable than others, but it’s never a good idea to ignore them because they can pervade every inch of the fridge, right down to the mechanicals, and are tough to eliminate. The steps listed below can help you get rid of the odor.

Remove Everything from Within

Even if you know what’s causing the problem, you must empty the refrigerator and freezer. Not only will this help declutter your refrigerator, but it also is a step for avoiding clutter at home. Keep perishables in a second refrigerator if you have one. If the odor is caused by a power outage, don’t take any chances by keeping food that has gone bad. If left closed, a refrigerator will preserve food at acceptable temperatures for around four (4) hours.

Clean the Shelves and Bins

Remove the shelves, bins, crisper drawers, ice trays, and any other loose components from the refrigerator and wash them with hot, soapy water in the sink. To get rid of strong refrigerator odors, make a sanitizing solution with 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water and wash down the bins and shelves; then rinse with plain water and air dry.

Interior Deodorization

You may now clean the inside of the refrigerator. Our experts suggest using a solution of 1 cup baking soda per gallon of water for this. Using a sponge soaked in the solution, wipe off the interior. Dip a damp sponge immediately in baking powder and apply elbow grease to caked-on food. Avoid abrasive cleaners and pads, which can harm the refrigerator’s interior.

The Refrigerator Should Be Air Dried

This is where patience comes into play. Unplug the refrigerator, leave the door open, and let it air out for at least one day for optimal results. If the odors remain, clean the inside of the refrigerator with the baking soda solution and air it out for another day.

Place a few cotton balls soaked in vanilla inside the refrigerator and freezer and close them for a few hours before replenishing to introduce a pleasant smell.

Evaporator Should Be Cleaned


If a lingering odor persists, refrigerator odors have likely entered the evaporator coil, which creates cold air for the fridge and freezer. The coil, as well as the fan that distributes the air, is usually found on the freezer’s back wall.

Remove the screws that hold the panel in place before cleaning the evaporator. Disconnect the electronic controls and icemaker plugs next. Remove the panel and wash it. Apply warm soapy water to the coils with a spray bottle, collect the dirty water runoff with an old rag, and rinse with fresh water. Before replacing the panel, let the coil dry fully.

Because you have more room to maneuver on a top freezer, this job is considerably easier. However, any refrigerator’s evaporator should be accessible and cleanable. Consult your user’s handbook for precise procedures.

Odor Transfer Prevention

If we are not careful, some of our favorite foods, such as salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, and French onion soup, can become sources of foul odors. You can prevent other foods from odor and taste transfer by storing leftovers in firmly sealed containers, ensuring that that piece of chocolate-swirled cheesecake you’ve been saving tastes as good as you dreamed it would.

Stop Odors from Resurfacing

Check leftovers every few days to see if they’ve gone bad. Anything with a strong stench, mold, or symptoms of deterioration should be discarded. Wipe the shelves clean. If you do this before going grocery shopping, you’ll clear off the clutter on your shelves and make room for the new groceries.

Refrigerators are designed to keep food at the right temperature. By carefully organizing foods, you can preserve their freshness for as long as possible, reducing odors. For condiments, juice, butter, eggs, oils, and soda, use the door. Deli meats, bacon, and cheese go in the meat bin. Crisper drawers are for products and allow you to adjust the humidity level based on the fruits and veggies you have on hand. Fish, raw meat, and poultry do well on the lower shelf. Place leftovers on the upper shelf, where they will be easily accessible. Use or throw away leftovers before they go bad.

Tips for Keeping Your Refrigerator Clean and Your Food Safe

Use Baskets for Storage

Look for affordable, brightly colored baskets or dinnerware that will last long from your neighborhood store. Small plastic baskets can be used to collect small items, such as spilled bottles, and eggs, or items held in plastic bags, such as shredded cheese.

Remove Perishable Items from Their Bags

Fruits and vegetables should not be left in their plastic grocery bags. This will cause things to spoil more quickly, and you won’t be able to see what you have. Put them in an open mesh plastic organizing basket or leave them in the crisper drawer alone.

Label the Shelves

Designating a specific type of food on each shelf is the simplest approach to arranging your fridge. This saves time searching and keeps your fridge cleaner. To maintain track, write the sort of food on the shelf’s lip with a dry erase marker.

Stop Spills and Drips

Line your refrigerator shelves with plastic placemats if bending down and wiping off your refrigerator shelves isn’t on your list of enjoyable things to do. All you have to do if a spill occurs is remove the mats and rinse them in the sink.

Keep Your Fridge Cool

The contents of your refrigerator aren’t where they should be. Specific parts of your refrigerator are cooler than others, making them preferable for certain items.

Discard Any Leftovers

Leftovers should be thrown out regularly. Not only to maintain your refrigerator in order but also to avoid disease.

Organize Meat

Check your meats before you throw out leftovers. Only keep raw poultry and ground meat in the fridge for one to two days. Place them in the freezer after that.

Crisper Liners

Paper towels or newspapers can be used to line vegetable crispers. To make cleaning the drawers easier, soak up any fluids that may come off of fruits and vegetables. Any excess moisture is absorbed by a paper liner in the crisper drawer. Less moisture means crisper produce that remains fresher for longer.