Are you noticing a foul odor emitting from your refrigerator every time you open the door? If so, then you probably have some spoiled food somewhere in your fridge that’s causing the stench. If the perpetrator isn’t obvious, then you may need to set aside some time to deep-clean your fridge. Even if you don’t notice any bad smells coming from your refrigerator, cleaning this appliance once a month can help to prevent future odors and ensure that you’re serving up fresh food.
What Causes Fridge Odors?
Typically, refrigerator odors are caused by food that has spoiled or expired. Meats are a common culprit for unpleasant smells, but fruits and vegetables can rot as well. Even once you remove the offending foods from your fridge, though, you could still experience some lingering odors. This is because fridge interiors are made out of plastic, which can easily absorb smells for a long time.
Best Ways to Prevent Fridge Odors
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to prevent fridge odors in the first place. A little time and effort can go a long way here.
Throw Out Old Food Regularly
Each time you take your kitchen trash out, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of going through your fridge and also throwing out anything that’s expired or beginning to spoil. This way, you’ll never make the terrible realization that you left a bag of raw chicken sitting at the back of your fridge for weeks!
Keep Fresh Food in a Visible Location
When you buy fresh food that needs to be used quickly in order to prevent spoiling, it’s best to keep it in an easily visible location near the front of your fridge. This will reduce the chances that you’ll forget about the food. If space allows, you may even want to designate a specific shelf for fresh foods, such as packaged meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Keep a Box of Baking Soda in Your Fridge
Baking soda is known for its odor-absorption powers. Leaving an open box of baking soda in your fridge is a great way to keep your fridge smelling fresh, and it is relatively inexpensive as well. For best results, swap it out with a new box about once a month.
Getting Rid of Refrigerator Odors
If it’s too late to prevent fridge odors, follow this step-by-step guide to deep-cleaning your refrigerator. The entire process will likely take around an hour of your time, but if your fridge hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it may take a bit longer.
Set Up Temporary Storage For Food
You’ll want to unplug your refrigerator while you’re cleaning it, as warmer temperatures will make it easier to remove caked-on food bits. Because perishable foods can begin to spoil after being left out for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to store this food in a large cooler with ice until the cleaning job is complete.
Toss Out Rotten or Expired Food Items
As you’re removing all your food items from your fridge, check expiration dates and toss out anything that’s near-expiration or that has already gone bad. Be sure to check the dates on condiments as well, as it’s not uncommon to find several bottles of expired condiments in any given fridge.
Wash Shelves and Removable Parts
Your refrigerator will most likely have removable shelves and storage bins. Take these out so you can give them a thorough washing in your kitchen sink. If you’re not sure how to properly remove them, check the instruction manual that came with your refrigerator (you can probably find it online if you don’t know where your physical copy is).
The best way to wash these removable parts is typically to fill your kitchen sink with warm/hot water and dish soap. You can then soak these parts in your sink as needed before scrubbing clean with a sponge, rinsing with water, and setting out to dry. Once the rest of your fridge is cleaned, you can replace the shelves and bins.
Create a Cleaning Mixture For Your Fridge
Next, it’s time to whip up a cleaning mixture that will not only make it easier to scrub your fridge interior clean, but will absorb odors in the process. To create this mixture, combine a cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water in a large bucket. You can then use a sponge to soak up the mixture and scrub out the interior of your fridge. If there are any areas of very caked-on food or splatter, you may want to let some of the baking soda mixture sit for a few minutes to work its magic before scrubbing away.
Once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of your fridge interior, wipe it down one more time with a damp dishtowel or paper towel to remove any leftover residue from the cleaning mixture.
Clean Your Fridge Exterior
Don’t forget the outside of your fridge while you’re doing your deep cleaning! In most cases, wiping your fridge down with a disinfecting wipe will do the trick. Just be careful when wiping around ice and/or water dispensers, as you don’t want to get any chemical residue on the dispenser themselves. If you have a stainless steel fridge, however, you may also want to follow up with a polishing wipe for added sheen.
Save Time With a Cleaning Service
Once your fridge is nice and clean, you can keep it that way by regularly throwing out old food and keeping an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves. From there, you can avoid dealing with unpleasant odors down the road.
Looking for a way to spend less time on household chores without sacrificing cleanliness in the process? If so, then it may be time to look into hiring a cleaning service. A maid service is more affordable than you may think and cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your home. The end result? More time and freedom to do the things you love.
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