5 Ways to Deodorize Your Fridge — Using Things You Already Have on Hand

updated Jan 28, 2021
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Credit: Kitchn

Getting slammed with the smell of cold, pungent leftovers isn’t my favorite way to reach for strawberries in the morning. And don’t even get me started on the unidentifiable odors that waft through the garage when we crack open the spare fridge. 

Even when the odors aren’t bad ones, any overwhelming olfactory experience can be off-putting — especially when it comes to food-related smells where you store other food! You don’t have to do a big fridge cleanout (just yet!), but you do need to deodorize your fridge. Luckily, it’s easy enough to do with some items you likely already have on hand. Here are five things you can use.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Baking soda

No surprise here. You’ve likely heard this one: Baking soda is the go-to fridge odor absorber, and it works. Place an open bowl of baking soda in the fridge, or put a spill-proof box specially made for use in the fridge. You could also put the baking soda in an old jar and punch some nail holes in the lid. Or do it the way your mom likely did it, and just put an opened box of baking soda in the fridge.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

2. Vanilla

If you prefer not just the absence of odors, but also the presence of a little something that makes you happy, this fridge-deodorizing method is for you. Soak a cotton ball in some vanilla extract, place it in a bowl, and put it in the back of your fridge. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

3. Coffee grounds

The nitrogen in coffee neutralizes odors. Rather than throwing away your used grounds, spread them out on a baking sheet to dry and then use them like you would baking soda, either in a bowl or in a more spill-proof container. 

Credit: Lauren Volo

4. Lemon

You know that lemon that’s been peeled naked because you’ve been a zesting machine? You can use it to freshen the inside of your fridge. Cut it up, place the slices on a plate, and put it on a shelf. You can also use the juice to soak a few cotton balls (like with the vanilla extract method, but decidedly cheaper!). 

Credit: Kelli Foster

5. Oats

Oats are natural odor absorbers, and pouring some into a container that you place in the fridge can turn them into fridge-fresheners. Use them the same way you’d use baking soda or coffee grounds. 

What do you use to keep your fridge fresh?