How to Eliminate Refrigerator Odors
Maybe you lost power and came home to a refrigerator full of decaying food. Perhaps that container of seafood leaked into every nook and cranny of your refrigerator. You may have even discovered a putrid blob that was once produce hiding behind the deli drawer. One thing is for sure – that box of baking soda isn’t going to cut it.
Follow these steps to rid your refrigerator of its repulsive stench.
- 1. Turn it off.This process takes several days, so you’ll need to find an alternate location to store your food. Once your refrigerator is empty, turn it off and unplug it. Don’t forget to empty the ice bin!
- 2. Deep clean.Start by removing every shelf, drawer, rack, and bin from your refrigerator and freezer compartments. Thoroughly wash these items with warm, soapy water and set aside.
Use warm, soapy water to scrub the inside of the refrigerator and freezer compartments. Pay careful attention to the shelf supports, drawer glides, and door gaskets. Look for any place where food may have spilled and thoroughly clean the area. If food appears to have leaked behind a panel, water reservoir, damper, or into the defrost drain pan, consult your owner’s manual or an appliance service company for assistance removing the item so that all traces of food can be removed.
Reinstall all shelves, drawers, and other items you previously removed. Wipe down all interior surfaces with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar and allow to air-dry.
- 3. DeodorizeFill every shelf, drawer, and bin with loosely crumpled newspaper. The newspaper should take up most of the space within your refrigerator and freezer compartments, but it should not be so tightly packed that it prevents air from circulating.
Dampen the crumpled newspaper by misting with a non-toxic deodorizing spray such as ZeroOdor. For really stubborn odors, you can use a stronger deodorizer such as OdoBan, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for dilution and rinsing of food-contact surfaces.
Now, plug in your refrigerator and allow it to run for several days with the door closed. During this time, the newspaper will absorb the odors being circulated by your refrigerator’s evaporator fan.
After three to five days, discard the newspaper and repeat this step if necessary.
This method is time consuming, but unlike many others, it actually works. We’ve used this process to remove all kinds of odors – spoiled fish, rotten meat, rancid milk, even spilled kimchi.
If this article helped save your refrigerator, let us know in the comments below!