How to stop your fridge from smelling

by Janine, Oct 2020

We’ve all experienced the unfortunate moment when you open your fridge door and get a waft of ‘something’ unpleasantly smelly! The place where you store your family’s food and drink should surely be a place of cleanliness, hygiene and the fresh smell of fruit and vegetables. So, how can you ensure that your refrigerator never suffers from the bad odours of out of date food or otherwise? If you’ve already got the smell, we fear it’s too late but there are so many prevention methods in order to avoid the situation altogether!

Stating the obvious… give it a good clean!

Okay, probably the most obvious of our top tips but sometimes, the simplest suggestions are the most effective. We like to use a mixture of soap and hot water with a splash of ‘zoflora’ for disinfectant purposes. Don’t forget to remove the glass shelves and vegetable drawers for a more thorough scrub!

Airtight containers

The thrifty amongst us will be familiar with storing leftovers to avoid food wastage. The rookie mistake is storing said leftovers in a bowl with clingfilm or tin foil on top (in fact, tin foil is the worst because then you can’t easily see what food substance is inside!) Using airtight containers will ensure the food stays fresher for longer, but will more importantly avoid any nasty odours escaping if you accidentally leave it in the fridge past it’s best! 

Check your temperature

The temperature of your refrigerator can have a big impact on the smells it omits. Your fridge should always be kept at or below 4° C (40° F). It might seem obvious, but if your fridge temp is too high then food will spoil quicker and odours occur more readily!

Get organised

So, you’ve got your airtight containers, but can you remember when you popped that leftover lasagne in the fridge? Labelling and dating your leftovers will not only ensure that you avoid giving yourself food poisoning, but it will also avoid the unavoidable stench from the 7 day old curry you forgot about. Time for some honesty – who’s guilty of throwing away the whole container rather than deal with the smell from prizing open the lid?! (Our hands are in the air).

Air circulation

Most modern fridges are designed for good air circulation, however, a hungry family of 4 can easily disrupt this air flow by over stacking the shelves and not organising the food in a sensible manner. Try to ensure that your items are placed in a methodical way – not crammed up against each other – and also try to limit the amount of packaging stuffed into your fridge. As you consume food, the outer packaging does become redundant – so make sure you’re disposing as you go!

Odour absorbers

There are a few natural odour absorbers that are generally readily available in most households (and easily purchasable in all good supermarkets) that can help to dispel bad smells before they reach your nose! 


Place a cup of coffee grounds in your fridge overnight.

Baking Soda

Spread a thin layer of baking soda on a large cookie sheet and leave it in your fridge overnight.


Lemons have a strong, astringent smell that clears any air of disagreeable odours, while imparting a fresh citrus aroma.


Oats work in the same way as baking soda, and are generally a lot cheaper. Simply pour some in a bowl, and pop it in the fridge overnight.

Evaluate your fridge 

The easiest way to avoid a smelly fridge is to evaluate its contents regularly. This way, you will notice anything that’s on it’s way to passing it’s sell by, and remove of any ‘on the turn’ foods before they start to omit a nasty odour. If you can, checking your fridge daily is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything!

If you forget…

Okay, let’s say you’ve had a super busy week and evaluating your fridge, or faffing around with ground coffee has not been your top priority… so it stinks. Sometimes, a general clean won’t do and you have to bring in the big guns. In the case of a smelly fridge, the big guns are vinegar and baking soda. Skip the multipurpose, shop bought sprays and concoct a solution of the simpler and natural products – vinegar and baking soda. Not only are they both natural odour removers, but the fizzing action the combination causes will lift stains as it deodorises and cleans.

In conclusion, a fresh smelling fridge IS something you can achieve overnight. More so, it is actually something you can achieve constantly – with a bit of focus and habit! If you’d prefer someone else to take charge of your cleaning, including your fridge, then why not get in touch with your local office and book a Well Polished cleaner? Just enter your postcode below!

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