Your refrigerator gets a lot of use and can get dirty and smelly from time to time. Foods may spill and stains may set in, making them more difficult to remove. Foods may also go bad and leave a lingering odor. There are many ways to do a fridge clean out and deodorize it effectively.
Empty it All Out
The New York Times suggests emptying the fridge out entirely to clean it. You may be tempted to clean around food to try and save time or effort. However, you will ultimately be more efficient if you empty the fridge and throw away any expired or spoiled food as you go. Also take out removable drawers and shelves when cleaning. This will streamline the cleaning and scrubbing process and make it easier for you to see what food you have. When putting the drawers and shelves back in, you can reorganize the food to make items easier to find.
Use Baking Soda
Martha Stewart recommends baking soda to clean the interior of the fridge. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart hot water and use a damp cloth. The baking soda will help deodorize the interior of the fridge. For substantial and caked-on stains, Martha Stewart recommends putting the baking soda solution on the stain and allowing it to soak and re-hydrate for 10 minutes. If the stain has not softened, it may need to soak for longer. Wipe it off with a damp cloth or paper towel. Repeat the process if needed.
You can also soak any removable bins or shelves in the baking soda solution. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda for 1 quart of warm water. Dry thoroughly before re-installing. Avoid washing the bins and shelves in the dishwasher.
Clean Fridge With Household Items
You can use a variety of products to clean your fridge. Just remember to use them separately and never mix them. White vinegar or dish soap and water can do a great job cleaning. Toothpaste can work as a gentle abrasive, according to HGTV. It also leaves behind a fresh minty scent.
Buy a Commercial Cleanser
Some store-bought options include glass cleaner or Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, as recommend by The New York Times. As for a scrubbing tool, Dobie Pads, sponges or a dish cloth provide mild abrasion. A toothbrush works well for fitting into small and hard to reach spots in your fridge.
Use Powerful Fridge Odor Absorbers
Vanilla extract and orange extract can work wonders to get rid of lingering food odors. HGTV suggests putting some cotton balls in vanilla extract, and then placing them in a bowl in the back of the refrigerator. This will help cover odors and replace them with delicious scents. Activated charcoal is another great odor eliminator. HGTV recommends putting activated charcoal in a clean sock. Fill the sock and seal it with a knot at the top. Place this in the back of your refrigerator. Activated charcoal should work for one to two months. Replace as needed.
Keep your vegetable bin fresh by placing a crumpled piece of a brown paper bag in it. HGTV suggests leaving the bag in the back of the bin for 48 hours. The bag is a great fridge odor absorber. Coffee grounds are an excellent fridge odor remover as well. Martha Stewart suggests placing fresh coffee grounds on a baking sheet or tray inside the fridge until the odor has disappeared. The fridge may temporarily smell like coffee, but that will go away quickly.
Try some of the easy fixes for cleaning out your fridge. Your food will taste better and make it easier to find and use what you have.
Meg Scanlon earned a Masters from Johns Hopkins University. Her writing can be found on Hunker, Cuteness, Funny or Die, BarkPost, Taste of Home, LoveTV and ALittleBitFunny.com.