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How to Remove Odour From a Refrigerator: Effective Methods to Get Rid of Foul Smells

Oleg Chudnovski, CEO

Technically Reviewed by Oleg Chudnovski, CEO on Oct 05, 2023 | Written by Fix Appliances CA Editorial Contributors

In this article…


Unpleasant odours coming from your refrigerator can be quite bothersome. Not only can they affect the taste and quality of your stored food, but they can also permeate your kitchen. In this guide, we will provide you with effective methods to eliminate foul smells from your refrigerator, leaving it fresh and odour-free.

8 Common Smell Issues, Causes, and Solutions:

Smell Issue Possible Causes Solutions
Spoiled Food Expired or rotting food Remove and dispose of spoiled food. Clean affected areas thoroughly.
Rotten Smell Food residue or spills Clean spills promptly. Use baking soda or activated charcoal for absorption.
Mouldy Odor Excess moisture or leaks Check for leaks and fix them. Keep refrigerator dry.  Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
Chemical Smell Chemical cleaners or packaging residue Air out the fridge by keeping it open. Wipe down surfaces with a vinegar solution.
Onion/Garlic Odor Strong-smelling foods Store pungent foods in airtight containers.
Fishy Smell Fish or seafood stored improperly Wrap fish properly and store in sealed containers.
Burnt Odor Spills on hot coils or defrost heater Clean spills on coils or heater. Use baking soda to absorb odours.
Electrical Smell Overheating components or faulty wiring Unplug the refrigerator immediately.  Call a professional for inspection and repair.

Regular cleaning, proper food storage, and addressing any issues promptly can help prevent and eliminate foul odours in your refrigerator. If an odour persists despite your efforts, it might be worth seeking professional assistance from Fix Appliances CA to ensure no underlying mechanical issues are causing the smell.

The Main Causes of Smell in Refrigerators

Understanding the common causes of refrigerator odours can help in their prevention. Here are some factors that contribute to foul smells:

  • Spoiled or expired food
  • Spills and leaks
  • Mould or mildew growth
  • Improperly sealed containers
  • Accumulated debris or residue

Now that we know the potential sources of odours, let’s proceed to the step-by-step guide to removing them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Eliminating Odour

Remove and Clean

  1. Empty your refrigerator and freezer of all items.
  2. Discard any spoiled or expired food items.
  3. Remove shelves, drawers, and other removable parts for thorough cleaning.
  4. Create a cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  5. Use a sponge or cloth soaked in the vinegar-water solution to wipe the interior surfaces, including the walls, shelves, and drawers.
  6. Pay extra attention to any spills or stains, ensuring they are completely cleaned.
  7. Rinse the surfaces with clean water and dry them thoroughly.
  8. Clean the removable parts separately using the vinegar-water solution, rinse, and dry them before placing them back.
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Utilize Coffee Grounds or Baking Soda

  1. Fill a large, shallow container with fresh coffee grounds or baking soda.
  2. Place the container at the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
  3. Ensure the coffee grounds or baking soda are spread loosely to maximize their odour-absorbing capabilities.
  4. Close the refrigerator and freezer doors and leave them undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours, remove the container and discard the used coffee grounds or baking soda.

Vanilla Soaked Cotton Swab

  1. Soak a cotton swab in vanilla extract.
  2. Place the vanilla-soaked cotton swab in a small container.
  3. Put the container in the refrigerator and another one in the freezer.
  4. Close the doors and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours, remove the cotton swabs and discard them.

Additional Tips to Prevent Odor Build-up

  • Regularly check and remove expired or spoiled food items.
  • Wipe spills and clean up leaks immediately.
  • Keep open containers, such as leftovers, covered tightly.
  • Store pungent foods, such as onions or garlic, in airtight containers.
  • Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odours continuously (replace every 1-3 months).
  • Clean your refrigerator at least once every three months to prevent odour build-up.

Are Your Home Appliances Causing You Trouble?

Fret not! Our skilled technicians are here to assess and mend your appliances promptly. We provide same-day repair services for your utmost convenience. With over 18+ years of unmatched expertise, Fix Appliances CA takes pride in our proficiency in servicing various appliance brands. We are proudly factory-certified and well-equipped to manage any appliance issue you encounter.

Contact us today at 888-242-0777 to obtain your free estimate. Our committed representative from Fix Appliances CA is available seven days a week to assist you, even in emergency situations. As an authorized LG appliance repair company, we take pride in the proficiency of our certified team. Whether you’re dealing with LG refrigerator malfunctions or other issues, we’re well-equipped to tackle a wide range of problems with expertise.

Date of page creation: August 18, 2023

Page update date: October 05, 2023

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To prevent odours, it is recommended to clean your refrigerator every three months. However, you should also clean it immediately if you notice any spills or spoiled food.
Yes, apart from coffee grounds or baking soda, you can also use activated charcoal or commercially available odour absorbers designed specifically for refrigerators.
Persistent bad odour may indicate a more significant underlying issue, such as a malfunctioning seal, clogged drain, or mold growth in hard-to-reach areas. In such cases, it is advisable to seek professional assistance to identify and resolve the problem. By following these simple yet effective methods, you can easily eliminate foul smells from your refrigerator, ensuring a fresh and pleasant environment for your food. Remember to adopt preventive measures regularly to maintain an odor-free refrigerator.
Cause: Lingering smells can result from spilled or leaked liquids that have seeped into crevices or absorbed into materials. Solution: Thoroughly clean and sanitize all interior surfaces, paying special attention to corners, seals, and crevices. Use baking soda or activated charcoal to help absorb lingering odors.
Yes, we understand that some appliance issues require immediate attention. We proudly offer same-day repair services to address urgent situations promptly. Simply contact us at 888-242-0777, and we'll dispatch our skilled technicians to assist you as soon as possible.
Scheduling a service with Fix Appliances CA is simple. You can call us at 888-242-0777 to speak with our dedicated service representative. They are available every day of the week to assist you, even in urgent situations. Alternatively, you can visit our website and fill out a service request form to receive prompt assistance.


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