Our article on how to clean a refrigerator that smells will inform you about the most effective remedies to eliminate dirt & food spills from refrigerators and freezers.

The refrigerator is the place where we store food and, among the appliances in the kitchen, it is the one we open most often, which is why it must always be kept clean to preserve the freshness and safety of food. Cleaning the refrigerator is a household chore that should be performed at least once a month to always keep it fresh and fragrant.

The same is true for the freezer which requires careful periodic cleaning in order to preserve our food at its best. Cleaning and sanitizing it becomes indispensable for our health and to guarantee the long life of our appliances.

Let’s see how to clean a refrigerator that smells and to keep it sanitized with simple and effective methods.

Preliminary operations before defrosting the fridge and freezer

Preliminary operations before defrosting the fridge and freezer

Before moving on to cleaning, there are some preliminary operations to be carried out. Eliminating frost is in fact important to guarantee long life for the appliance. Just follow these simple steps to perform the operation perfectly.

  • Empty the fridge and the freezer. Take advantage of this step to discard the spoiled foods;
  • Store the food in a cooler bag to keep it fresh;
  • Remove shelves and drawers for deep cleaning;
  • For external cleaning, use an antistatic cloth to collect the dust. Remove any dust from coils at the back of the fridge to guarantee better efficiency and reduce energy consumption;
  • For a steel fridge, use a microfiber cloth or absorbent paper on which you can spray a solution of water and vinegar to make it shiny and eliminate any fingerprints.

How To Clean A Refrigerator That Smells – The remedies and useful tips for a deep cleaning of the fridge and freezer

Now let’s see what are the most effective remedies to thoroughly clean our fridge and freezer to free the from bacteria & bad odors and also ensure their proper functioning. This is an operation to be carried out at least once a month for the refrigerator and two or three times a year for the freezer.

Vinegar or baking soda for gentle and effective internal cleaning

Start by cleaning the inside of the refrigerator using a solution made up of water and vinegar to remove stains and disinfect your appliance. You can also use water and baking soda for gentle but effective cleaning.

In general, do not use foaming and abrasive detergents, in order to avoid the formation of foam which would make rinsing difficult. Immerse the microfiber cloth in the solution you have made and pass it on all the internal surfaces of the fridge & freezer and on all the non-removable shelves. Then, rinse with a damp cloth.

Bicarbonate aka baking soda is also an excellent method for cleaning a new refrigerator before put it into operation. For a more effective action, pour a spoonful of baking soda and a small glass of white vinegar in half a liter of water. Apply it to the new appliance to disinfect and sanitize it safely. To clean the freezer, you must first defrost it using the special plastic spatula and without using steel objects or blades to avoid damaging it.

Dishwashing liquid and baking soda to clean drawers

To clean the refrigerator drawers, you can use two different remedies. To clean the ones containing meat and cheese, lukewarm water and dishwashing detergent can be used. To clean the vegetable drawer, you can use a mixture consisting of one liter of hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda.

Use a sponge soaked in either of the solutions to thoroughly clean the drawers. If your refrigerator is equipped with a water dispenser, use water and vinegar to clean it, thus eliminating germs and bacteria that can settle on the spout. Use a brush to clean more thoroughly. Finally, dispense some water to remove any vinegar residue.

Ammonia to clean the drain hole

Food residues can accumulate in the hole of the refrigerator. They must be removed otherwise they will clog the hole causing the fridge to drip. To clean it: identify where it is. Usually in the lower part in most refrigerator models. Then insert a plastic tube until it is pushed into the drain. Pour some water and ammonia into the hole to eliminate the bacteria. The water will settle in the waste water collector and evaporate in a few days.

Cleaning and replacement of gaskets

To clean the gaskets, put baking soda on a toothbrush and rub them. Leave the mixture for a few minutes and then rinse with a cloth soaked in water and vinegar. Once cleaned, sprinkle talcum powder or oil to keep them intact longer. This is an operation that should be performed every week. It is also useful to eliminate and prevent bad smells that often come from our refrigerator.

To remove mold from the seals, a solution with a high concentration of vinegar can be used. Alternatively, you can also dab them with hydrogen peroxide (40 volumes in cream). Then, with a toothbrush, put a little baking soda and rub, leaving it to act for at least half an hour. Afterwards, the seals must be rinsed with a damp cloth soaked in water and vinegar.

When the seals are too old, however, it is important to replace them to ensure greater efficiency and to limit consumption. In fact, the refrigerator is opened and closed many times during the day, so the seals are easily damaged. It is important, instead, that they work best to guarantee better performance and lower consumption. The replacement of the seals is a simple operation that you can carry out even on your own without the help of an expert.

How To Clean A Refrigerator That Smells – Alternative remedies to eliminate bad smell from the refrigerator

Does your fridge give off bad smells and you don’t know how to get rid of them? Often, unpleasant smells come from the fridge, perhaps due to foods such as fish or some vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower. So, let’s see these eight simple and natural methods that will help you keep it always fresh and fragrant.

1. Alka Seltzer

It is an analgesic and, if placed in a glass in the back of the refrigerator, it will absorb all the smells in 24 hours. The fridge will no longer give off any bad smells when it is opened.

2. Vanilla extract

This method will eliminate annoying odors and also give the refrigerator a vanilla scent. To make it, just put a spoonful of vanilla extract on cotton balls. Once they have absorbed it, they must be placed in the back of the refrigerator. They will be an excellent deodorant.

3. Cedar peels and salt

This home remedy will also allow you to deodorize the fridge. First of all, you have to cut a cedar in half and completely eliminate its pulp. Then you will have to fill it with two spoons of sea salt. Salt will absorb and neutralize odors, while cedar will act as a deodorant.

4. Vinegar

This ecological product is an ideal solution for internal and external cleaning of the refrigerator. It has degreasing and disinfectant properties that remove dry food residues on surfaces. Given its intense fragrance, only 1/2 a glass of vinegar will be enough for a medium-sized fridge. Place it on any shelf of the fridge and replace it to be replaced every 7-10 days.

5. Baking soda

Thanks to its degreasing and antibacterial power, sodium bicarbonate is one of the best solutions for disinfecting the refrigerator. This ingredient removes food residues that adhere inside the appliance and, at the same time, neutralizes bad odors. You can pour it in a glass and place in a corner of the refrigerator, to absorb odors by purifying the air. Change it every week.  

6. Lemon

The natural acids contained in lemon juice are powerful cleansing agents that eliminate bacteria and dirt. The natural active ingredients of this juice make the refrigerator surface flawless and odor-proof. Before placing the lemon in the refrigerator, cut it into slices. Put them in a bowl and keep it in the back of the refrigerator. The lemon will need to be replaced after a week.

7. Potato

Even potato is an adequate absorber of smells. Just peel it and put it in the fridge. Replace it every 2 days until you have eliminated the bad smell. To make the remedy more effective, you can skewer cloves into the potato which will double its absorbency.

8. Coffee

If you are about to throw the coffee pack away, you can use it as an odor remover for the fridge. Place the bag on a high shelf and make sure it remains open. Alternatively, you can spread coffee beans on the various shelves. You will be able to eliminate bad odors from the fridge in a few days.

How to prevent bad smells in the refrigerator: tips and tricks to follow

Prevention is always the most effective remedy and it is the only way to defend against unpleasant odors. This is why it is important to implement some simple tips and tricks.

  • Remember to store the food in airtight containers, better if transparent, so you can see the contents. In this way, not only will you avoid bad smells, but you will preserve food in the best way. It would be ideal to put a label near the container with date and content, so that you don’t forget the leftovers in the fridge for days.
  • Check the state of conservation of fruit and vegetables to prevent them from spoiling and buy fresh meat and fish and eat them as soon as they are bought. If it is not possible, freeze them immediately after purchase.
  • At least once a month clean the gaskets of the refrigerator. It is there that the bacteria that create the bad smell nest.
  • Keep the refrigerator at a suitable temperature following the instructions of your appliance.
  • Do not leave the refrigerator door open for too long
  • Carefully pack the meats that should not come into contact with other food products.
  • Never put hot products in the refrigerator. This increases the internal temperature of the appliance and in addition to requiring greater energy consumption, it allows some bacteria to work safely before the refrigerator returns to an adequate temperature.

Organize the refrigerator in the right way to save money and keep food longer

It is important to know that, to better organize the refrigerator, you need to keep it in order, not only with periodic cleaning but also by placing the food in the right way to prevent it from spoiling. In this way you can save money and also keep the foods in the fridge fresh for longer.

Put the clean and dry vegetables in the drawers. On the high shelves place dairy products, eggs, cold cuts and cooked foods in well closed, airtight containers. In the low shelves put the fish and meat.

Always keep everything well sealed to avoid contamination and the exchange of odors between different foods.


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