The refridgerator. The nucleus of the kitchen (every home’s epicenter), bearing all the goodies we love to peek at and ponder about and of course, eat! But, now and again, we want to slam the fridge door shut because of funky smells inside. Likely, something perishable is forgotten from inside the bowels of your fridge, and stinky odors begin to emerge. But despair not! Here are easy tips to keep your fridge smelling fresh, naturally.
First, prevention always beats a tonic. Odors are caused by bacteria, which need damp, dark places to grow. A big part of odor removal is the ellimination of the habit-causing behavior that leads to the smelliness. The key is to try to consume food before its expiration dates. Place foods that you’d likely forget about, at the front of your shelves. If you are storing fruits and vegetables, keep track of average shelf lives, and note how long your fruits and veggies have been inside by writing notes on the baggie or on a post-it, and place it in front of your fridge door. This helps ensure less waste of food in your home.
With prevention out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the odor. Here are simple steps for cleaning your fridge, and ways to keep unwanted odors at bay:
Clean the fridge first. Turn off and unplug it. (Safety first!) Remove all the items from your fridge and discard any expired food that is developing into a science project. Place the food you plan to keep, inside a cooler while you work. For better preservation and to avoid additional casualties, add ice.
Now that you’ve emptied the fridge, make a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda into a sink filled with warm water.
Take out all shelves, bins and any other removable parts. Wash and rinse all of the parts before thoroughly drying them. Don’t forget to wipe as much of the walls and floor of the fridge as you can, even under the crisper drawers.
If your fridge has one, clean the drip tray. This is located beneath the refrigerator. Be careful because it likely contains dirty water. Remove the grill from beneath the doors, carefully pull it out and dump the contents.
Now that the fridge is clean, let’s get on with force fielding it from odors.
Use baking soda. In order to get rid of odors, spread a box of baking soda across a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator. Keep the door closed until the smell disappears, then discard the baking soda. To try and counteract everyday odors, keep an open box of baking soda in your fridge at all times.
Add vinegar. White vinegar neutralizes many of the same smells as baking soda. Put an open cup or bowl in the fridge, or mix it in with water as an effective cleaning solution.
Use oats as an odor-absorber. Leave a bowl of oats out in your fridge and this will suck in the bad smells.
Use coffee grounds. Place dry, fresh coffee grounds in a couple of shallow bowls or spread across baking sheets. Keep the bowls or sheets on different levels of your refrigerator. The smells should go away within a few days.
Use activated charcoal to absorb bad odors. Similar to the coffee grounds method, place charcoal briquets in a couple of shallow bowls or on baking sheets and put them on different shelves in the fridge. Set the refrigerator temperature to low and leave in with the door closed for several days. The smells in question should go away within a few days. Activated charcoal can be purchased from pet stores or drugstores. Charcoal can be refreshed by placing in the oven at 350ºF/180C for 20 minutes.