Banishing Foul Odours: How to Get Rid of Bad Smells from Your Fridge

There’s nothing quite as unsettling as opening your refrigerator to grab a snack, only to be met with an unpleasant stench. The confines of the fridge make it a perfect environment for odours to linger. These smells are usually the result of expired or spoiled food, forgotten leftovers, or unnoticed spills.

Over time, these odours can permeate other foods and make your entire fridge smell less than fresh. No one enjoys a smelly fridge, but luckily, there are several simple, effective methods to eliminate these odours. Let’s look at some effective cleaning tips and four surefire ways to transform your smelly fridge into your favourite door worth opening.

4 Ways to Rid Your Fridge of Bad Smells

Woman cleaning the inside of a fridge

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is known for its exceptional odour-absorbing qualities. Follow the instructions below:


  • Clear your fridge, ensuring to check and dispose of any spoiled food or clean spills.
  • Place an open box of baking soda inside your fridge.
  • Let it stay for several hours or overnight to absorb the odours.
  • For ongoing freshness, replace the box every 30 days.

2. Vanilla Extract

If you’re looking for a method that leaves a sweet scent behind, consider using vanilla:


  • Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract.
  • Place the saturated cotton ball in a small dish and sit it in your fridge.
  • Allow it to stay for a few hours, and the fridge will soon smell sweetly of vanilla.

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee is not only an excellent morning kick-starter, but it’s also a powerful odour absorber:


  • Spread fresh coffee grounds on a baking sheet.
  • Put the baking sheet in the fridge and leave it there for a few hours.
  • Coffee will absorb the foul smells, replacing them with a comforting coffee aroma.

4. White Vinegar

White vinegar can also work wonders for deodorising your refrigerator.


  • In a bowl, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Dip a sponge or cloth in the mixture and thoroughly clean your fridge’s interior.
  • The vinegar will neutralise the bad smells, leaving your fridge smelling clean and neutral.

Tips to Keep Your Fridge Smelling Fresh

Woman packing groceries inside her fridge

Having a fresh-smelling fridge involves not only eradicating existing smells but also preventing future ones:

  1. Store Food Properly: Always store food in sealed containers or bags to prevent odours from escaping.
  2. Regular Cleaning: Clean your fridge regularly, ideally once a month, using water and baking soda.
  3. Check Expiry Dates: Regularly monitor the expiry dates on all items in your fridge and throw away anything past its date. If you have more than one of the same food items, store those with earlier expiry dates in front of those with later dates.
  4. Use an Odour Absorber: Keep a box of baking soda or activated charcoal in your fridge to absorb potential smells.


Remember, maintaining a fresh and clean fridge contributes significantly to a pleasant home environment. But, if you’re ever overwhelmed by your cleaning tasks, don’t hesitate to book a SweepSouth cleaning service. As South Africa’s #1 home services platform, we offer comprehensive cleaning services, taking the stress off your shoulders. Book a service today and experience the SweepSouth difference!

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