The occasional household odor, no matter how unpleasant, is common. Maybe you let those onions sauté a bit too long, or perhaps you’re still hanging onto leftovers from 3 weeks ago. Odors like that are fairly easy to remedy.

Some odors, however seem to come from nowhere and linger for days – or weeks – on end. Here are six steps for locating the source of unpleasant fridge odors and banishing them once and for all.


  1. Empty the fridge out completely. Turn the temperature up to its warmest setting or unplug your fridge so it doesn’t continue to run while you remove its contents.
  2. Check each item for freshness. Use your nose and eyes as guides, smelling and checking each item before deciding to toss or keep it. To prevent future odors, store food in glass vs. plastic containers and make sure lids are properly sealed.
  3. Deep-clean the interior of the fridge. Avoid using regular dish soap as it often has its own fragrance that simply masks odors. Wipe up any spills or crumbs with a damp cloth, then wipe down all shelves, drawers, doors, and seals with a mixture of hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda. For extra stubborn smells, wash things down with a solution of one tablespoon bleach and a gallon of warm water. Do a final wipe down with just clean water and dry with clean towels.
  4. Deep clean the freezer, too. Toss any items past their freezer-shelf life or if you notice fuzzy ice crystals forming. Then make sure freezer vents are clear of obstructions to ensure proper air flow. If you have a built-in ice maker, remove the ice bin and wipe it clean with the same baking soda or bleach solution you used on the fridge, then wipe clean with a damp sponge.
  5. Air the fridge out. Like any enclosed space, odors can get trapped in your fridge and soak into the plastic walls and shelves. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the fridge and freezer, keep the doors open for at least 30 minutes to allow air to circulate. You might want to unplug the fridge so it doesn’t keep running, thus wasting electricity. Also, if the cleaning and airing out time is more than 1-2 hours, place perishable food items in a portable cooler to prevent them from spoiling.
  6. Deodorize your fridge. Leave an open box of baking soda on a shelf to naturally deodorize the fridge and help prevent future odors. Active charcoal and fresh coffee grounds are effective substitutes.

You know what else can stink to high heaven? Kitchen, bathroom, and shower drains…not to mention your garbage disposal.  Actively keeping them clean should solve the problem but can’t ensure clog-free operation.  Therefore, contact Burton any time you encounter a clogged drain or toilet problem that your DIY efforts can’t resolve.  We can show you how to keep them odor free, too!