If the inside of your refrigerator smells bad, it’s a sign that either the food has gone bad or it’s time to clean and sanitize the refrigerator.
The question arises, what detergents should be used when cleaning to ensure the safety of the products stored in it?
Where does the smell come from
Bad breath is primarily caused by bacteria.
The refrigerator is not a favorable environment for the development of microorganisms (germs and bacteria love heat), but it still does not provide any guarantees, so let’s look at the most common causes of an unpleasant smell in the refrigerator.
To remove condensate in the refrigerator, a small drain is used, usually located at the back wall, at the very bottom. It’s a small hole with a drain tube inside.
Due to constant contact with various contaminants (for example, small food debris), as well as limestone deposits, this hole often becomes clogged.
In this case, dirty water has nowhere to drain, it accumulates in the chamber and begins to smell bad, and eventually even rot.
Old water in the condensate tank
Refrigerators have a special reservoir to collect moisture, which accumulates over time and causes an unpleasant odor.
Therefore, this container must be thoroughly washed.
Insufficient release of frost in the refrigerator, especially in the heat of summer, can cause an unpleasant odor.
This is due to two reasons: first of all, high temperature significantly accelerates the spoilage of products, which we have already discussed earlier. Secondly, moisture appears in the chamber, which, depending on temperature fluctuations, first freezes, and after a while condenses.
At this time, various contaminants, both solid and liquid, accumulate in the refrigerator.
Regularly check the condition of the food, as rotten fruits and vegetables, as well as spoiled food, are the most common cause of smell from the refrigerator.
Irregular refrigerator cleaning
If the refrigerator is not cleaned regularly, the smell will naturally form.
You need to wash the refrigerator at least once a month, otherwise you risk allowing the spread of bacteria and fungi.
Special products for cleaning the refrigerator
Ready-to-use refrigerator cleaning solutions at home include an extensive range of specialized cleaners and disinfectant sprays. They have different performance indicators and different costs.
We recommend that you pay attention to products from manufacturers such as Topperr, SmellOff, Magic Power, Unicum and Top House. They not only provide antibacterial protection, but also remove stubborn odors and stains, and kill mold.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse the entire refrigerator with water after using these products. Food products must not come into contact with them.
What household chemicals can be used
If you do not have the opportunity to purchase a specialized product, you can use an ordinary dishwashing detergent. That is, in fact, plain soapy water. With its task – getting rid of pollution and neutralizing unpleasant odors, it copes perfectly.
But don’t use strong disinfectants like bleach to clean the inside of the refrigerator.
Any food product that comes into contact with caustic chemicals can cause various stomach diseases due to strong chemical compounds.
If you do not trust manufacturers or cannot purchase ready-made cleaning products, folk methods can always come to the rescue.
Their advantage is that they are based on natural products and substances, which means that they are environmentally friendly and safe. In addition, most of these components can be found in any apartment.
The walls and drawers of the refrigerator are best cleaned and disinfected with a solution of soda and warm water in the proportion: two glasses of water and two tablespoons of soda.
Then dip a piece of cloth into the product prepared in this way and wipe the contaminated surfaces thoroughly.
To remove bad odor from the refrigerator, you can also pour baking soda into a small container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
A vinegar water solution (two cups of warm water and two tablespoons of vinegar) will also help clean and remove odors from the refrigerator or freezer.
The most problematic places and corners can be effectively cleaned with a preparation prepared on the basis of white wine vinegar and water (a liter of heated water and half a glass of white vinegar).
Reference! A vinegar solution is often used to remove the smell of plastic in a new refrigerator.
Citric acid does not smell as strong as vinegar, but is an equally effective odor neutralizer on its own. Therefore, many housewives use it.
To prepare a working solution, add two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice or citric acid to half a liter of warm water.
Citric acid + baking soda
The best effect is shown by a mixture of citric acid with baking soda.
Just mix some water, lemon juice and baking soda and use this mixture to clean your fridge and give it a nice scent.
An even better disinfectant than baking soda or vinegar.
The solution requires about 300 ml of alcohol and the same amount of water. The remedy is very effective, but, as with vinegar, it should be used with caution due to the strong smell and causticity.
Dry mustard will help get rid of greasy spots. It is enough to pour a little on the sponge and wipe the pre-moistened stain.
An important point: if your refrigerator has an antibacterial coating, you should not experiment. Take advantage of products available on the market specifically designed for this type of surface.
Special odor absorbers
If the smell persists after washing or you want to prevent it from reappearing in the future, you should use a special odor absorber. As the name suggests, this is a special type of preparation that absorbs food odors.
It is sold in special plastic containers, similar to those used in toilet fresheners.
A refrigerator odor absorber usually has a charcoal filter that contains activated carbon.
Sometimes, after a certain period of use, a small amount of coal dust may be released from the inside of the package. However, it does not pose a danger to food, and it is enough to wipe it with a rag.
The absorber fully fulfills its function within a few months.
But instead of buying disposable drugs, it is recommended to install a permanent antibacterial device with a replaceable filter using Microban technology in the refrigerator. Such an absorber not only neutralizes unpleasant odors, but also removes bacteria due to the action of silver ions.
Alternative to sinks
As with cleaning products, there are plenty of alternatives out there that can do just as good a job of neutralizing bad odors in the refrigerator than specialized absorbers.
As you know, coffee cake is a very useful universal remedy that allows you to fertilize plants, repel insects, and is even used for cosmetic purposes. But among other things, it allows you to get rid of unpleasant odors from your refrigerator.
Just put a container with a small amount of coffee sediment on the refrigerator shelf. All smells will disappear very soon.
Renew coffee grounds should be about once every two weeks, when it dries. If you don’t feel sorry for fresh coffee, then four tablespoons of ground coffee will also do a great job of neutralizing odors.
Baking soda is also very effective at removing strong odors.
For a refrigerator, about three tablespoons are enough, poured into a cup, which is placed on a shelf. Don’t forget to refill your cup of baking soda at least once a month, and more often is better, especially if the smell is strong and persistent.
White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
White vinegar and apple cider vinegar are very effective against strong, stubborn odors such as cheese or fish. We have already covered how to use vinegar to clean the inside of the refrigerator.
If you want to use it as an odor neutralizer, pour about 20 ml of vinegar into a container or small container and place it on the refrigerator shelf. Preferably at the bottom so as not to accidentally knock over the container.
Remember to replace the contents of the container at least every two weeks.
Green or white clay
Green clay is known for its skin and health benefits. But it can also be used to eliminate bad odors.
Like coffee grounds or baking soda, green clay has natural absorbent properties that help it naturally eliminate bad odors from the refrigerator.
To do this, simply put some clay in a cup and refrigerate. White clay is also suitable.
activated charcoal or bamboo charcoal
Even children know that activated charcoal, which is in every home first aid kit, absorbs harmful substances very well.
What few of us know, however, is that medicinal charcoal also does a great job of tackling odors from foods in the fridge, without actually releasing them. The same goes for bamboo charcoal, which, thanks to this ability, is a permanent ingredient in many specialized refrigerator cleaners.
All you have to do is pour the crushed powder (which can be obtained by crushing a few tablets) onto a small saucer or put it in a thin breathable bag. After a few days, the odor problem should be completely gone.
Natural charcoal can be purchased at almost any pharmacies and pet stores.
One lemon juice is enough to neutralize the bad smell. Pour it into a cup and place it in the back of the refrigerator so you don’t spill it.
There is also one simple but effective trick – pour a few drops of lemon juice into a container filled with salt. Put everything in the fridge and it deodorizes very quickly and reliably.
While this may seem surprising to many, keep in mind that oat bran has the same benefits as activated charcoal. They effectively and for a long time absorb foreign odors without releasing them.
You need to put the bran in a container and put it in the refrigerator. The main thing is not to forget to update the contents of the container once every two weeks.
Not only lemons, but in principle all citrus fruits are incredibly effective in neutralizing unpleasant odors, including very strong ones. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits or even clementines will be reliable allies in the fight against the stink of sour cabbage or rotten meat.
We recommend cutting the fruit in half or grating the zest and arranging in a cup.
Bad smells will disappear in a short time, giving way to a pleasant aroma of fresh fruit.
Carnation is not a flower, but an aromatic spice, which is often used as a pleasant addition to tea, is a good absorber of moisture and unpleasant odors. No wonder people suffering from bad breath are advised to chew a few cloves at least once a day for several minutes.
To remove bad smells from the refrigerator, simply put a handful of cloves on a plate and place them on the exact shelf where the bad smell is strongest.
To enhance the effect, you can mix cloves with your favorite citrus fruit.
There is another effective and extremely economical trick. If you have one or two unnecessary corks at home, for example, from a bottle of champagne, then you can use them as an odor absorber.
High-quality natural wood corks not only absorb surrounding odors like a sponge, but also emit a pleasant aroma of cork oak.
It may come as a big surprise to many that cat litter is a very effective odor absorber. Although, it would seem that this is logical, given that they must constantly deal with unpleasant odors.
Just pour some filler into a jar and refrigerate. But make sure the bedding is odor neutral.
To prevent unwanted odors, the refrigerator should be cleaned once a quarter or more often.
It is best to clean the inside of the refrigerator every two weeks, while checking the expiration date of the products.
To do this, you should plan in advance for a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator for a free day, since this process, coupled with defrosting, can take all day. Most appliances should be disconnected from the mains, and a cool place should be prepared to store food while cleaning.
In addition to regular cleaning, the way food is stored is also very important.
Fruits and vegetables should be stored in the lower drawer of the device, densely packed meat and fish should be stored above them. At the top – dairy products, cold cuts and cheese, and on the door – drinks, sauces, canned food in jars.
Store food in glass or plastic, and avoid shopping bags as this is the fastest way to spoil food.
Unpleasant smell in the refrigerator is sometimes the result of mixing different foods. Therefore, proper use of space in the refrigerator can save you from such a result.
First of all, do not forget to put only dry vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator – this will prevent the formation of mold. All products that emit a strong odor must be packed in separate sealed containers. Also store leftover food in them so that they do not lose their freshness and do not absorb the smells of other products.
It is also worth checking the condition of the drainage pipe that drains water and moisture from time to time.
If you see debris in the drain, act immediately. You can clean the pipe with a wire or a toothpick, so that there will be no moisture and ice in the refrigerator.
Products will always be fresh, and the refrigerator itself will serve you for a long time.