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How to Get Rid of Smell in Refrigerator

May 31, 2022

A view of a clean refrigerator that can make you feel refreshed.

Having a refrigerator that has foul smells is not only unpleasant, but it can also be a sign that something is wrong. If you've noticed an odd smell coming from your refrigerator, there are some potential causes and ways to get rid of the odor. Acima Leasing wants to help you take care of your fridge and, if there is a need, help you explore your options when shopping for a new fridge or other appliances.

Six Steps to Getting Rid of Bad Smells in Refrigerator

The refrigerator is often one of the most neglected appliances in the home, but it's essential to keep it clean and free of bad smells. Here are six steps to getting rid of bad smells in your refrigerator.

Get Rid of Old Food

The first step is to get rid of the old food from your refrigerator. Any food that is more than a couple of days old should be thrown out; if you have any food that is starting to spoil, it needs to go. Making sure that you regularly get rid of any unneeded food items will help keep your refrigerator smelling fresh.

Clean Your Refrigerator Thoroughly

The next step is to make sure that you clean your refrigerator thoroughly on a regular basis. Use hot water and soap to scrub down the shelves and drawers, and be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. If your refrigerator has a particularly pungent smell, then a mixture of vinegar and warm water can be used to wipe it down. Let the mixture sit on the surfaces for a few minutes before wiping it away.

Check Seals on Your Refrigerator Door

If your refrigerator is still smelly even after you have cleaned it out and scrubbed it down, then the problem may be with the seals on your refrigerator door. Over time, the seals can become cracked or worn down, allowing outside smells to seep in. Inspect the seals and see if they need to be replaced. If they are in good condition, ensure that you are closing the refrigerator door properly. Sometimes a simple fix like this can make all the difference.

Place Baking Soda in Refrigerator

Another way to help keep your refrigerator smelling fresh is to place a box of baking soda inside. Baking soda is a natural absorbent and will help to neutralize any bad smells. Just be sure to replace the baking soda every few months.

Use Activated Charcoal to Absorb Bad Smells

If you cannot get rid of the foul smell in your refrigerator, no matter what you do, you may need to use activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that has been treated to make it very porous, and it’s excellent at absorbing bad smells. You can purchase activated charcoal at most hardware stores or online. Cut the charcoal into small pieces and place it in a bowl at the back of your refrigerator. Be sure to change out the charcoal every few weeks.

Change the Refrigerator Settings to Improve Airflow

If your refrigerator smells bad and none of the other tips seem to be helping, then it may be due to a lack of airflow. Check your refrigerator settings and make sure that the vents are not blocked. If they are, clear them out so that air can circulate properly. You may also need to adjust the temperature settings on your refrigerator.

Five Strategies for Preventing Smells in Refrigerator

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent bad smells from developing in your refrigerator. Here are five strategies that can be effective.

Keep your refrigerator clean

Small steps can make a big difference when it comes to smell prevention in your refrigerator. Wiping down your refrigerator regularly with hot water and soap can help to keep bad smells at bay. Make sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies, and don’t forget to clean the door seals.

Don't overload the refrigerator

If your refrigerator is too full, it won’t be able to circulate air properly. This can lead to bad smells. So, make sure to leave enough room for air to circulate by not packing your refrigerator too full.

Store food in airtight containers or bags

One way to keep smells from taking over your refrigerator is to store food in airtight containers or bags. This will help to keep the smells contained. It will also help to keep your food fresh for longer.

Make sure food is properly refrigerated or frozen

If food is not properly refrigerated or frozen, it can start to spoil and cause bad smells. So, make sure to check the labels on your food and store it accordingly.

Use a refrigerator deodorizer to absorb smells

If you are worried about bad smells taking over your refrigerator, you can purchase a refrigerator deodorizer. These products can help to absorb any bad smells. Just be sure to follow the instructions on how to use them properly.

Acima Leasing Can Help with a New Refrigerator

Acima Leasing is an alternative to financing that can be a great way to get the stuff you need without having to worry about using credit. Our fast applications and flexible lease renewal payment options* give you the shopping power you need to shop for must-have items like a new refrigerator.

At Acima Leasing there is also an early purchase option that you can exercise to make it yours sooner and at a discount! If you end up not needing your fridge anymore, you can simply send it back in good condition at any time with no further obligation. Learn more here or go to our FAQ page to find more answers to questions you might have about the process.

Common Questions About Refrigerator Care:

How do you clean a refrigerator with vinegar?

Mix one part vinegar with three parts warm water to clean your refrigerator. Wipe down all of the surfaces with the mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.

Do you have to turn off the refrigerator to clean it?

It is not necessary to turn off the refrigerator when you are cleaning it. However, you may want to unplug it if you do a deep clean.

How often should the refrigerator be cleaned?

Ideally, you should clean your refrigerator every week. However, if you find that it does not need to be cleaned that often, it will make a difference once every two weeks. If your refrigerator starts to have a bad smell, then you should clean it more often.

What should I use to clean the outside of my refrigerator?

It depends on what type of finishing your refrigerator has. If it is stainless steel, you can use a vinegar and water mixture to clean it. If it is white, you can use a bleach and water mixture. Just be sure to rinse it well afterward so that the chemicals do not damage your refrigerator.