4 fridge odor removal tips

Nothing says "ick" quite like a nasty fridge odor.

Whether the sushi went south last month or you simply need to neutralize the everyday accumulation of odors in your refrigerator, odor removal starts with a quick cleaning out and cleaning up of your fridge's interior.

Here's how to bring back a fresh, clean smell to your refrigerator; and naturally, the process begins with a basic - but thorough - cleaning.

 1   Remove All Food From the Fridge

Examine everything inside the refrigerator carefully as you remove it, even if you've already identified the cause of your smelly fridge. Keep what appears to be edible; toss what's gone south.

  2   Clean All Interior Surfaces, Including Shelves and Drawers

Dissolve four teaspoons baking soda in one quart warm water. With a soft, clean cloth, wash all interior surfaces, including the top, bottom, drawers and walls.  Rinse surfaces with warm water. Dry with a soft, clean cloth. 

  3   Pack the Fridge with Newspaper and Charcoal Briquets

Pack the refrigerator, including doors and drawers, with crumpled sheets of newspaper. (Black and white only - no color pages.) Place charcoal briquettes (one bag should do) randomly throughout the newspaper.

  4   Close the Doors and Let Stand 24 to 48 Hours

Remove charcoal briquets and newspapers. Wash all interior surfaces with a rag moistened with liquid dishwashing detergent dissolved in warm water. Pay special attention to corners and crevices. 

How to Prevent Future Fridge Odor

  • To prevent future odors, remember to always wipe up spills immediately to keep bacteria from growing. It's those growths - furry or otherwise - that cause foul smells here. Wash the spilled area with warm, soapy water; then disinfect with a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 quart of water.
  • Weekly, do a more thorough cleaning. Examine the appliance's contents and check expiration dates. Toss those items past their prime. Rotate food and condiments so that the oldest of any item (milk, for example) is front and center when little hands are searching.
  • Deep clean monthly. First, unplug for safety. Remove all food. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of baking soda in 1 quart of water. Use a soft, clean cloth to wash all interior surfaces. Be sure to hit the top, bottom, drawers, and walls. Pay special attention to corners and crevices.
  • Finish by rinsing surfaces with warm water. Dry with a soft, clean cloth.

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