Whether you’re preparing for the holidays or your fridge is ready for a deep clean before guests arrive, now is a great time to make sure your refrigerator is looking and smelling its best.
1. Check your refrigerator humidity controls
Your fridge’s humidity drawers (also known as crisper drawers) may just seem like extra storage, but adjusting their setting can have a substantial effect on how long groceries can last. By knowing which humidity setting works best for different types of food, you can reduce waste by keeping food fresher for longer.
- High: Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale, often last longer in high humidity because it helps them retain moisture, which leafy greens tend to lose quickly.
- Dry: If your crisper contains an assortment of fruits and veggies, using the dry setting slows down the amount of moisture released by your food, which helps limit spoilage.
- Countertop: Produce native to tropical regions, such as avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, and cucumbers, tends to taste better when left out of the fridge and on the counter.
2. Use a refrigerator deodorizer
A big part of preventing smells from accumulating in your fridge is keeping a deodorizer tucked away inside it to catch them. Your fridge may come with filters or settings that help keep the funk out, and there are a few other popular ways to keep the funk at bay as well.
- Coffee grounds: If you’re looking for a way to give your coffee grounds a second life, here it is! Put your grounds in a small bowl and leave them in your refrigerator overnight. Within a day or two, your fridge should smell fresh, and your grounds can get more use as fertilizer or compost (or be escorted to the trash).
- Vanilla extract: Two to five drops in a bottle cap at the back of the refrigerator can keep your fridge smelling faintly sweet and odor free.
- Oatmeal: Great for baking and deodorizing, a small bowl of dry oats can also get rid of lingering funk in your fridge.
- Baking soda: A tried and true favorite, popping open the side tab on a box of baking soda and gently shaking it up once a week can keep odors neutralized for up to a month.
- Bleach: If the odor in your fridge is really persistent, clear your fridge’s contents, combine a tablespoon of bleach and a gallon of warm water and wipe down your fridge from top to bottom.
3. Could it be a freezer smell?
Once your refrigerator is fresh and clean, make sure no odors are coming from your freezer. As many refrigerators come attached to freezers, when you deep clean one, it wouldn’t hurt to clean and deodorize the other, too.
How to get rid of freezer smell
Most of the deodorizer solutions detailed above can do double-duty and freshen your freezer, too. When tackling your freezer, be sure to also do the following:
- Defrost your freezer, so there is no extra ice there to hold food smells.
- Remove anything that is freezer burned or expired.
- Use airtight containers to protect the food you will keep.
- Organize your groceries so enough air can circulate.
With a fresh fridge and a fresh freezer, you can take on a new year — or a new day — knowing that your fridge is ready for whatever life throws at it.