What to Do About Refrigerator Odor

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Home to the contrasting smells of fruit and vegetables, leftovers, eggs, meat, milk and more, it’s no surprise that sometimes our refrigerators start to smell. If you open the doors to a surprising refrigerator odor, it might be a case of simply finding the offensive item, whether that is a rotten onion or what once was a delicious homemade dinner, gone bad. However, if you’ve rid your fridge of any obvious culprits and the refrigerator odor persists, it’s time for a deep clean and a few extra steps to rid the smell from your stinky refrigerator.

Cleaning a Stinky Refrigerator

A deep clean can go a long way to resolving your refrigerator odor issues. Here are a few suggestions to help make this process a success.

  1. Ensure your fridge is at the correct temperature, typically between 35°F and 37°F. This is important for preventing refrigerator odors.
  2. Get rid of old food. Really take a look at what’s in your refrigerator and get rid of anything that is past the point of being eaten, whether or not it seems likely to be causing the refrigerator odor.
  3. Clean every surface with a non-toxic cleaning solution. Some people choose to use water with vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda to eliminate refrigerator odor absorbed by plastic.
  4. Start with the refrigerator doors, where sauces often spill.
  5. Remove shelves, scrub them down and leave them to soak.
  6. Remove vegetable drawers, scrub and allow to soak.
  7. Keep an open box of baking soda in your fridge to continuously absorb refrigerator odors going forward.
  8. If you still have a stinky refrigerator, it could be due to the drip pan. The drip pan collects condensation from the refrigerator. Check in your manual or online to find out if your fridge has a drip pan and how to access it. Turn off the power and unplug your fridge before removing the drip pan, then clean the drip pan and replace.
  9. Move your fridge aside to clean underneath your stinky refrigerator, if you believe old food and dirt on the floor below could be the cause of the smell.
  10. If you have the opportunity to do so, leave your fridge to air out for 24 hours, unplugged and without any food inside.
  11. Change the refrigerator air filter.

Replacing the Refrigerator Air Filter

Once the refrigerator deep clean is complete, it’s a good idea to use this opportunity to replace the refrigerator air filter as well. Your refrigerator circulates air that has passed through the refrigerator air filter. The refrigerator air filter traps smells of rotting food, keeping the air inside your fridge clean.

The first step towards replacing your refrigerator air filter is to buy a new refrigerator air filter that best matches your refrigerator make and model. Popular brands include Whirlpool Fresh Flow Air Filters, Kenmore refrigerator air filters, and LG refrigerator air filters.

Replacing the refrigerator air filter is a simple ten minute task. Simply find the location of the refrigerator air filter, replace old with new, and press the reset button. Aim to replace your refrigerator air filter once every 6 months, or when your refrigerator air filter monitor tells you to.

Find Refrigerator Air Filter Parts with Repair Clinic

To find the right refrigerator air filter or other parts for your refrigerator, simply type your refrigerator model number into our website search bar. Also explore Whirlpool Fresh Flow Air Filters, Kenmore refrigerator air filters, and LG refrigerator air filters.


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