How to get rid of the smell in the refrigerator with the help of special tools and folk methods



If the inside of your refrig­er­a­tor smells bad, it’s a sign that either the food has gone bad or it’s time to clean and san­i­tize the refrig­er­a­tor.

The ques­tion aris­es, what deter­gents should be used when clean­ing to ensure the safe­ty of the prod­ucts stored in it?

Where does the smell come from

Bad breath is pri­mar­i­ly caused by bac­te­ria.

The refrig­er­a­tor is not a favor­able envi­ron­ment for the devel­op­ment of microor­gan­isms (germs and bac­te­ria love heat), but it still does not pro­vide any guar­an­tees, so let’s look at the most com­mon caus­es of an unpleas­ant smell in the refrig­er­a­tor.

Drain clogged

To remove con­den­sate in the refrig­er­a­tor, a small drain is used, usu­al­ly locat­ed at the back wall, at the very bot­tom. It’s a small hole with a drain tube inside.

Due to con­stant con­tact with var­i­ous con­t­a­m­i­nants (for exam­ple, small food debris), as well as lime­stone deposits, this hole often becomes clogged.

In this case, dirty water has nowhere to drain, it accu­mu­lates in the cham­ber and begins to smell bad, and even­tu­al­ly even rot.

Old water in the condensate tank

Refrig­er­a­tors have a spe­cial reser­voir to col­lect mois­ture, which accu­mu­lates over time and caus­es an unpleas­ant odor.

There­fore, this con­tain­er must be thor­ough­ly washed.



Insuf­fi­cient release of frost in the refrig­er­a­tor, espe­cial­ly in the heat of sum­mer, can cause an unpleas­ant odor.

This is due to two rea­sons: first of all, high tem­per­a­ture sig­nif­i­cant­ly accel­er­ates the spoilage of prod­ucts, which we have already dis­cussed ear­li­er. Sec­ond­ly, mois­ture appears in the cham­ber, which, depend­ing on tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions, first freezes, and after a while con­dens­es.

At this time, var­i­ous con­t­a­m­i­nants, both sol­id and liq­uid, accu­mu­late in the refrig­er­a­tor.

stale food

Reg­u­lar­ly check the con­di­tion of the food, as rot­ten fruits and veg­eta­bles, as well as spoiled food, are the most com­mon cause of smell from the refrig­er­a­tor.

Irregular refrigerator cleaning

If the refrig­er­a­tor is not cleaned reg­u­lar­ly, the smell will nat­u­ral­ly form.

You need to wash the refrig­er­a­tor at least once a month, oth­er­wise you risk allow­ing the spread of bac­te­ria and fun­gi.

Special products for cleaning the refrigerator

Ready-to-use refrig­er­a­tor clean­ing solu­tions at home include an exten­sive range of spe­cial­ized clean­ers and dis­in­fec­tant sprays. They have dif­fer­ent per­for­mance indi­ca­tors and dif­fer­ent costs.

We rec­om­mend that you pay atten­tion to prod­ucts from man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Top­perr, SmellOff, Mag­ic Pow­er, Unicum and Top House. They not only pro­vide antibac­te­r­i­al pro­tec­tion, but also remove stub­born odors and stains, and kill mold.

Be sure to thor­ough­ly rinse the entire refrig­er­a­tor with water after using these prod­ucts. Food prod­ucts must not come into con­tact with them.


What household chemicals can be used

If you do not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­chase a spe­cial­ized prod­uct, you can use an ordi­nary dish­wash­ing deter­gent. That is, in fact, plain soapy water. With its task — get­ting rid of pol­lu­tion and neu­tral­iz­ing unpleas­ant odors, it copes per­fect­ly.

But don’t use strong dis­in­fec­tants like bleach to clean the inside of the refrig­er­a­tor.

Any food prod­uct that comes into con­tact with caus­tic chem­i­cals can cause var­i­ous stom­ach dis­eases due to strong chem­i­cal com­pounds.

improvised means

If you do not trust man­u­fac­tur­ers or can­not pur­chase ready-made clean­ing prod­ucts, folk meth­ods can always come to the res­cue.

Their advan­tage is that they are based on nat­ur­al prod­ucts and sub­stances, which means that they are envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly and safe. In addi­tion, most of these com­po­nents can be found in any apart­ment.

Baking soda

The walls and draw­ers of the refrig­er­a­tor are best cleaned and dis­in­fect­ed with a solu­tion of soda and warm water in the pro­por­tion: two glass­es of water and two table­spoons of soda.

Then dip a piece of cloth into the prod­uct pre­pared in this way and wipe the con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed sur­faces thor­ough­ly.

To remove bad odor from the refrig­er­a­tor, you can also pour bak­ing soda into a small con­tain­er and refrig­er­ate for 24 hours.



A vine­gar water solu­tion (two cups of warm water and two table­spoons of vine­gar) will also help clean and remove odors from the refrig­er­a­tor or freez­er.

The most prob­lem­at­ic places and cor­ners can be effec­tive­ly cleaned with a prepa­ra­tion pre­pared on the basis of white wine vine­gar and water (a liter of heat­ed water and half a glass of white vine­gar).

Ref­er­ence! A vine­gar solu­tion is often used to remove the smell of plas­tic in a new refrig­er­a­tor.

Lemon acid

Cit­ric acid does not smell as strong as vine­gar, but is an equal­ly effec­tive odor neu­tral­iz­er on its own. There­fore, many house­wives use it.

To pre­pare a work­ing solu­tion, add two table­spoons of fresh­ly squeezed lemon juice or cit­ric acid to half a liter of warm water.

Citric acid + baking soda

The best effect is shown by a mix­ture of cit­ric acid with bak­ing soda.

Just mix some water, lemon juice and bak­ing soda and use this mix­ture to clean your fridge and give it a nice scent.



An even bet­ter dis­in­fec­tant than bak­ing soda or vine­gar.

The solu­tion requires about 300 ml of alco­hol and the same amount of water. The rem­e­dy is very effec­tive, but, as with vine­gar, it should be used with cau­tion due to the strong smell and caus­tic­i­ty.

Dry mustard

Dry mus­tard will help get rid of greasy spots. It is enough to pour a lit­tle on the sponge and wipe the pre-moist­ened stain.

An impor­tant point: if your refrig­er­a­tor has an antibac­te­r­i­al coat­ing, you should not exper­i­ment. Take advan­tage of prod­ucts avail­able on the mar­ket specif­i­cal­ly designed for this type of sur­face.

Special odor absorbers

If the smell per­sists after wash­ing or you want to pre­vent it from reap­pear­ing in the future, you should use a spe­cial odor absorber. As the name sug­gests, this is a spe­cial type of prepa­ra­tion that absorbs food odors.

It is sold in spe­cial plas­tic con­tain­ers, sim­i­lar to those used in toi­let fresh­en­ers.

A refrig­er­a­tor odor absorber usu­al­ly has a char­coal fil­ter that con­tains acti­vat­ed car­bon.

Some­times, after a cer­tain peri­od of use, a small amount of coal dust may be released from the inside of the pack­age. How­ev­er, it does not pose a dan­ger to food, and it is enough to wipe it with a rag.

The absorber ful­ly ful­fills its func­tion with­in a few months.

But instead of buy­ing dis­pos­able drugs, it is rec­om­mend­ed to install a per­ma­nent antibac­te­r­i­al device with a replace­able fil­ter using Microban tech­nol­o­gy in the refrig­er­a­tor. Such an absorber not only neu­tral­izes unpleas­ant odors, but also removes bac­te­ria due to the action of sil­ver ions.


Alternative to sinks

As with clean­ing prod­ucts, there are plen­ty of alter­na­tives out there that can do just as good a job of neu­tral­iz­ing bad odors in the refrig­er­a­tor than spe­cial­ized absorbers.

Coffee grounds

As you know, cof­fee cake is a very use­ful uni­ver­sal rem­e­dy that allows you to fer­til­ize plants, repel insects, and is even used for cos­met­ic pur­pos­es. But among oth­er things, it allows you to get rid of unpleas­ant odors from your refrig­er­a­tor.

Just put a con­tain­er with a small amount of cof­fee sed­i­ment on the refrig­er­a­tor shelf. All smells will dis­ap­pear very soon.

Renew cof­fee grounds should be about once every two weeks, when it dries. If you don’t feel sor­ry for fresh cof­fee, then four table­spoons of ground cof­fee will also do a great job of neu­tral­iz­ing odors.


Baking soda

Bak­ing soda is also very effec­tive at remov­ing strong odors.

For a refrig­er­a­tor, about three table­spoons are enough, poured into a cup, which is placed on a shelf. Don’t for­get to refill your cup of bak­ing soda at least once a month, and more often is bet­ter, espe­cial­ly if the smell is strong and per­sis­tent.

White vinegar or apple cider vinegar

White vine­gar and apple cider vine­gar are very effec­tive against strong, stub­born odors such as cheese or fish. We have already cov­ered how to use vine­gar to clean the inside of the refrig­er­a­tor.

If you want to use it as an odor neu­tral­iz­er, pour about 20 ml of vine­gar into a con­tain­er or small con­tain­er and place it on the refrig­er­a­tor shelf. Prefer­ably at the bot­tom so as not to acci­den­tal­ly knock over the con­tain­er.

Remem­ber to replace the con­tents of the con­tain­er at least every two weeks.

Green or white clay

Green clay is known for its skin and health ben­e­fits. But it can also be used to elim­i­nate bad odors.

Like cof­fee grounds or bak­ing soda, green clay has nat­ur­al absorbent prop­er­ties that help it nat­u­ral­ly elim­i­nate bad odors from the refrig­er­a­tor.

To do this, sim­ply put some clay in a cup and refrig­er­ate. White clay is also suit­able.

activated charcoal or bamboo charcoal

Even chil­dren know that acti­vat­ed char­coal, which is in every home first aid kit, absorbs harm­ful sub­stances very well.

What few of us know, how­ev­er, is that med­i­c­i­nal char­coal also does a great job of tack­ling odors from foods in the fridge, with­out actu­al­ly releas­ing them. The same goes for bam­boo char­coal, which, thanks to this abil­i­ty, is a per­ma­nent ingre­di­ent in many spe­cial­ized refrig­er­a­tor clean­ers.

All you have to do is pour the crushed pow­der (which can be obtained by crush­ing a few tablets) onto a small saucer or put it in a thin breath­able bag. After a few days, the odor prob­lem should be com­plete­ly gone.

Nat­ur­al char­coal can be pur­chased at almost any phar­ma­cies and pet stores.


Lemon juice

One lemon juice is enough to neu­tral­ize the bad smell. Pour it into a cup and place it in the back of the refrig­er­a­tor so you don’t spill it.

There is also one sim­ple but effec­tive trick — pour a few drops of lemon juice into a con­tain­er filled with salt. Put every­thing in the fridge and it deodor­izes very quick­ly and reli­ably.

Oat bran

While this may seem sur­pris­ing to many, keep in mind that oat bran has the same ben­e­fits as acti­vat­ed char­coal. They effec­tive­ly and for a long time absorb for­eign odors with­out releas­ing them.

You need to put the bran in a con­tain­er and put it in the refrig­er­a­tor. The main thing is not to for­get to update the con­tents of the con­tain­er once every two weeks.


Not only lemons, but in prin­ci­ple all cit­rus fruits are incred­i­bly effec­tive in neu­tral­iz­ing unpleas­ant odors, includ­ing very strong ones. Oranges, lemons, grape­fruits or even clemen­tines will be reli­able allies in the fight against the stink of sour cab­bage or rot­ten meat.

We rec­om­mend cut­ting the fruit in half or grat­ing the zest and arrang­ing in a cup.

Bad smells will dis­ap­pear in a short time, giv­ing way to a pleas­ant aro­ma of fresh fruit.



Car­na­tion is not a flower, but an aro­mat­ic spice, which is often used as a pleas­ant addi­tion to tea, is a good absorber of mois­ture and unpleas­ant odors. No won­der peo­ple suf­fer­ing from bad breath are advised to chew a few cloves at least once a day for sev­er­al min­utes.

To remove bad smells from the refrig­er­a­tor, sim­ply put a hand­ful of cloves on a plate and place them on the exact shelf where the bad smell is strongest.

To enhance the effect, you can mix cloves with your favorite cit­rus fruit.

Traffic jams

There is anoth­er effec­tive and extreme­ly eco­nom­i­cal trick. If you have one or two unnec­es­sary corks at home, for exam­ple, from a bot­tle of cham­pagne, then you can use them as an odor absorber.

High-qual­i­ty nat­ur­al wood corks not only absorb sur­round­ing odors like a sponge, but also emit a pleas­ant aro­ma of cork oak.

cat litter

It may come as a big sur­prise to many that cat lit­ter is a very effec­tive odor absorber. Although, it would seem that this is log­i­cal, giv­en that they must con­stant­ly deal with unpleas­ant odors.

Just pour some filler into a jar and refrig­er­ate. But make sure the bed­ding is odor neu­tral.

Odor prevention

To pre­vent unwant­ed odors, the refrig­er­a­tor should be cleaned once a quar­ter or more often.

It is best to clean the inside of the refrig­er­a­tor every two weeks, while check­ing the expi­ra­tion date of the prod­ucts.

To do this, you should plan in advance for a thor­ough clean­ing of the refrig­er­a­tor for a free day, since this process, cou­pled with defrost­ing, can take all day. Most appli­ances should be dis­con­nect­ed from the mains, and a cool place should be pre­pared to store food while clean­ing.

In addi­tion to reg­u­lar clean­ing, the way food is stored is also very impor­tant.

Fruits and veg­eta­bles should be stored in the low­er draw­er of the device, dense­ly packed meat and fish should be stored above them. At the top — dairy prod­ucts, cold cuts and cheese, and on the door — drinks, sauces, canned food in jars.

Store food in glass or plas­tic, and avoid shop­ping bags as this is the fastest way to spoil food.

Unpleas­ant smell in the refrig­er­a­tor is some­times the result of mix­ing dif­fer­ent foods. There­fore, prop­er use of space in the refrig­er­a­tor can save you from such a result.


First of all, do not for­get to put only dry veg­eta­bles and fruits in the refrig­er­a­tor — this will pre­vent the for­ma­tion of mold. All prod­ucts that emit a strong odor must be packed in sep­a­rate sealed con­tain­ers. Also store left­over food in them so that they do not lose their fresh­ness and do not absorb the smells of oth­er prod­ucts.

It is also worth check­ing the con­di­tion of the drainage pipe that drains water and mois­ture from time to time.

If you see debris in the drain, act imme­di­ate­ly. You can clean the pipe with a wire or a tooth­pick, so that there will be no mois­ture and ice in the refrig­er­a­tor.

Prod­ucts will always be fresh, and the refrig­er­a­tor itself will serve you for a long time.

Useful video

You will learn how to get rid of the smell in the refrig­er­a­tor using impro­vised means from the video:






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