Hungry, you go over and open your refrigerator to eat your leftovers from last night’s delicious dinner. As you open the fridge door, a waft of spoiled food greets your nose you forgot about a couple weeks ago. Repulsed and disgusted, you quickly slam the refrigerator door as you don’t feel hungry for leftovers anymore. Let down and a little nauseous, you make your way to your pantry for a can of soup. You are not alone. From a power outage to lingering odors, it’s safe to say most of us have experienced a smelly fridge that is enough to lose an appetite over. Listed below are some common and uncommon ways to remove refrigerator odors the natural way without harsh chemicals (so you can enjoy those leftovers with an appetite intact). Before you try the following natural remedies, it is important to remove any spoiled food and spills.
1) Beat the Stink with Baking Soda
Depending on the severity of the odor, you may find it necessary to first remove your food, unplug the fridge, and wash the inside of your appliance with 1-2 tbsp baking soda to 1 qt of warm water for a powerful odor-fighting solution. Make sure to use a soft sponge to scrub your shelves, crisper bins, gaskets, and lining. Then, rinse out your refrigerator with a sponge and warm water, allowing it to dry. Then, you may choose to place an opened box of baking soda inside of your refrigerator/freezer. Soon, the gut wrenching smells will be neutralized. It is best to replace your baking soda box every few months or so.
2) Say Goodbye to Smells with Smells Begone
This fragrance free and non-toxic spray will actually remove odors, not just cover them up. With many uses, Smells Begone is inexpensive and safe to spray directly on those problems areas in your fridge, bathroom, shoes, clothes, trashcans and so much more. Make sure your refrigerator is empty and turned off, and spray Smells Begone onto those high-absorption zones such as the refrigerator lining—allowing it to dry. You can use this non-flammable, non-staining, and non-allergenic solution as a natural additive to your baking soda and warm water mix, following the previous directions above.
3) Activated Charcoal: An Absorbing Odor Machine
Also known as activated carbon, activated charcoal is extremely porous and effective in removing all odors, but it is a little on the pricey side. Available at most pet or garden supply stores, place some activated charcoal into a shallow bowl and leave it in your running fridge for a week. Beware, activated carbon can become saturated and release odors so it is important to change out your shallow bowl of charcoal periodically when applicable. Some people have mentioned reactivating the charcoal in their ovens, however, it is not recommended as some sources have suggested it leaves a terrible smell throughout their home.
4) Imitation Vanilla, a Refreshing Aroma to the Nose
Refreshing with a subtle sweet scent, imitation vanilla (not extract) helps eradicate unpleasant smells. Simply soak a cotton ball in the extract and then place the saturated ball into a small open dish; it is best to place it towards the back of the fridge. Replace the cotton ball with a new fresh one when you notice the sweet scent is gone. Also, when you clean out your refrigerator, you can place a couple drops of vanilla in your cleaning water to prolong and reinforce foul odor control.
5) Combat Foul Odor With Coffee Beans or Grounds
Used in perfume department stores, coffee beans in small jars are used to reset and neutralize your nose when deciding between scents. Porous with the abilities to absorb foul odors, place some fresh and unused coffee beans or grounds in an open container or shallow pan. It is suggested to place the coffee on multiple shelves to rid the odor for several days. You may notice a coffee smell lingering afterwards, some sources say this scent will go away after a couple days or you may choose to wash it with a baking soda and water mixture. When you are finished with the coffee, use your beans or grounds for your compost or garden as an excellent fertilizer.
6) Recycle Your Citrus Peels and Refresh Your Senses
Don’t throw out your orange, lemon or grapefruit peels! Simply place your peels in a bowl topped with a little bit of salt in your fridge. The salt will help to preserve the peels and will aid in absorption of the unpleasant smells. Your citrus peels will leave your fridge with a fresh, rejuvenating scent. When you are finished with your peels, toss them in your fireplace when it is lit for a citrus aroma of bliss. Or you could always place your peels in your disposal and turn it on with water for a refreshing fragrance.