How to Remove Odors From a Refrigerator

Refrigerator odors are a common problem, with an easy solution. But remember that prevention is the key - clean and defrost your refrigerator every few months to keep those odors from coming back.

Remove all items from the refrigerator. Take out any removable parts of the refrigerator and clean them separately.

Mix together 2 tbsp. baking soda with a quart of warm water. Wipe down the inside surfaces of the refrigerator with this solution.

Try a solution of 1 c. vinegar and 1 gallon of water, if the odor remains. Make sure to rinse and dry all surfaces before trying this solution.

Mix 1/2 c. chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water and apply to all surfaces, if the odor persists. Once again, rinse and dry all surfaces before applying this solution.

Leave the door open and allow the refrigerator to air out.

Things You Will Need

  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Cleaning Cloths
  • All-purpose Cleaners
  • Vinegar
  • Buckets


  • Don't mix solutions; use them one at a time, rinsing and drying all surfaces between applications.
  • If you can turn off the refrigerator or place it on a low setting, try leaving a bowl of cat litter or activated charcoal briquettes inside to absorb odors.
  • Keep an open package of baking soda or coffee grounds in the refrigerator for long-term odor removal.
  • To prevent new odors, remember to throw away food when it spoils.


  • If the odor is in the refrigerator insulation, there is nothing you can do to absorb it. The insulation may have to be replaced.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.