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Simple tips to get rid of refrigerator smells

Taste | 7 minute read |

If you opened your fridge now and took a good whiff, what would it smell like? If it smells good, you’re all good. If it smells strange, then it could be time to do a thorough clean.

Odors could be a sign of spoilage or spillage that can attract bacteria, which could then affect your food. In today’s post, Electrolux Malaysia shares some eco-friendly ways on how to get rid of refrigerator smell to prevent food contamination and keep smells at bay.

How to get rid of refrigerator smells with 9 eco-friendly deodorizers

1. Ground coffee

Coffee bean is known as one of the most popular refrigerator odor absorbers. Put freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate and keep it in your refrigerator for 24 hours.

After 1 day stay in the fridge, it can be re-cycled to become fertilizer for your home plants. Simply mix it with soil and you are good to go.

2. Used tea bag

Fill some used tea bags in an open container or a small bowl and put it inside your refrigerator. The tea leaves will absorb bad odors and leave your fridge with a fresh aroma. Make sure to replace the tea bags every 3 – 4 days for optimal odor control.

3. Baking soda

Baking soda has been known for years as an effective natural refrigerator deodorizer. Place baking soda inside an open container and let it unstink your fridge for 24 hours.

With a few drops of essential oils, you have something that not only help to get rid of bad odors but also make your fridge smell good at the same time.

4. Lemon (with baking soda, and salt)

The combination of these three makes a great quick fix for a smelly fridge as it removes unpleasant odors faster while adding a fresh scent to your refrigerator.


Follow this simple instruction:

  • Slice a lemon into a 2 – 3 cm thick pieces
  • Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking soda and table salt onto the lemon slices
  • Place the lemons onto a shallow, uncovered plate
  • Keep the plate in your refrigerator for up to 6 days. Lemons usually take a couple hours before you notice the smell in your fridge is getting fresher.


Tip: Orange is a perfect alternative to lemon.

5. Oatmeal

Not only being used as a natural refrigerator odor absorber, oats also come in handy for house cleaning in general as they can effectively absorb odors, oil, and liquid. All you have to do is put some uncooked oats in an uncovered container and leave it inside your fridge.

6. Vanilla extract

Moisten one or two cotton balls with a few drops of vanilla extract. Place the dampened cotton balls into a shallow dish and put the whole thing in the back of your refrigerator.

7. Vinegar

Add some vinegar to a small paper towel and place in a small bowl or open container. Leave it inside your fridge for at least 24 hours to obtain the desired effect. Make sure to replace the towel every few days or each time it dries out.

8. Potatoes

Potatoes work perfectly as an odor absorber like oatmeal. Peel a potato, cut it into small pieces and keep it in your fridge. Change every few days for maximum odor control effect.

9. Charcoal

The charcoal you could use to deodorize your refrigerator is the same type you use for BBQ parties. Simply put two cups of charcoal cubes in an uncovered container and place it in the back of the refrigerator. Make sure to let your kids know about these deodorizers otherwise they will very likely mistake these with chocolate treats.

Learn more:

How to keep the fridge from smelling: 4 simple rules

1. Regularly do a refrigerator audit

It’s best to have a deep clean every three to four months. Discard expired condiments, wilted greens or leftovers beyond repair, and wipe containers with exposed food residue. Follow our step-by-step instruction on how to clean a refrigerator properly here.

Clean all surfaces and easily slide out all adjustable shelves and bins of the UltimateTaste 900 with FlexStor. After giving them a good wash with soapy water, slide them back in and customise the space according to your needs.

Learn more: Complete guide on how to clean your refrigerator the right way.

2. First in, first out

To maintain a clean refrigerator, keep older or easily perishable items at the front and within reach, while store those that can last longer elsewhere. This way, it will be easier to finish food before they expire.

Following an organized layout is easier when you have the UltimateTaste 900 with Multidoor flexibility, which provides you enough storage space for everything.


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    • TasteLockAuto keeps vegetables fresh for 7 days*.
    • TwinTech cooling help preserves taste and texture.
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3. Slow spoilage

Generally, fruits and vegetables have to be stored in a humid environment to keep them fresh, crisp and bursting with flavor for longer. But too much humidity and they could rot, too little and they could wilt.

TasteLockAuto crispers of the UltimateTaste 900 control humidity levels with a membrane that automatically releases excess moisture to reduce condensation and stop early spoilage. Check out our tips to store vegetables and fruits in the fridge.

4. Track temperatures

As a general rule, stick to 4°C below to slow down bacteria growth. However, other items may require different temperatures to keep their freshness and flavor, like meat at -2°C or some fruits at 7°C. Check out on how to set the correct refrigerator temperature in our article.

Frequently asked questions about how to deodorize the refrigerator

1. What caused the fridge to smell bad?

  • Refrigerator smells come from either bacteria or mold, often from food spoilage or moisture buildup. The interior of the refrigerator is primarily made of plastic, and plastic absorbs odors. If the refrigerator is not regularly cleaned, it is most likely the reason why it smells.
  • Many people forget the drip pan when it comes to cleaning the refrigerator. The pan sits under the fridge, catching moisture from the condensate line that may cause mould and unpleasant smell in the long run.
  • Some refrigerators have an air filter that purifies the circulating air and a water filter for the water dispenser or ice maker. Both of these need to be cleaned once every six months.


2. How to get rid of durian and jackfruit smells in the fridge?

Strong-smelling fruits like jackfruit or durian can last a long time in the refrigerator if not cleaned properly. To clean, use a clean towel with lemon juice and wipe every nook and cranny of the cabinet. Fresh lemon has a pleasant, cooling aroma and good bactericidal and deodorizing properties, which can even eliminate the smell of jackfruit and durian.

3. How to deodorize the freezer compartment?

First, unplug the freezer and remove all the food, placing it in an ice bucket to prevent it from defrosting. Next, mix warm water with baking soda or vinegar, dip a clean towel into the mixture, and use it to wipe the freezer compartment and eliminate any bad odors. For a fresh scent, you can also add some orange, tangerine, or lemon zest to the freezer.

4. Can I use lime to get rid of a smelly fridge?

Yes, you can. To clean the fridge shelves, you can squeeze lemon juice onto a cloth or towel and wipe them down. Alternatively, you can place a few citrus slices in a bowl and leave them in the fridge for greater absorption power. It usually takes a few hours before you notice the odors have dissipated.

To store them in the most ideal setting, use the TasteSealFlex compartment of the UltimateTaste 900. It has five presets from -23°C to 7°C so it can easily adapt to any temperature you need. Watch this video to learn more about our UltimateTaste 900 refrigerators, as a part of our Make it last campaign to make sustainable eating the preferred choice:


Electrolux 609L UltimateTaste 900 french door refrigerator

A fresh-smelling fridge means food tastes better and lasts longer. The UltimateTaste 900 Refrigerator makes it easier for you to keep it clean. Learn more about other refrigerators from Electrolux Malaysia.

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609L UltimateTaste 900 french door refrigerator 
609L UltimateTaste 900 french door refrigerator 
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