ua en ru

7 reasons why your refrigerator has unpleasant smell: Ditch these habits

7 reasons why your refrigerator has unpleasant smell: Ditch these habits Why the refrigerator smells unpleasant (illustration: Freepik)

Although refrigerators are used every day, care is often forgotten until the fridge starts to emit, to put it mildly, an unpleasant odor. There are many reasons why refrigerators smell unpleasant, but sometimes we don't even realize that some of our own habits contribute to this.

Real Simple tells about habits that lead to the appearance of an unpleasant odor in the refrigerator.

Dealing with stale food odors

One of the major causes of unpleasant smells is stale food. According to cleaning experts, expired or spoiled products, as well as crumbs, can often decompose and create lingering odors.

Therefore, it's important to always get rid of anything causing an unpleasant smell. However, it's worth remembering that simply disposing of the product without properly cleaning the refrigerator afterward is ineffective.

Irregular refrigerator cleaning

This is another fairly obvious reason: if you don't do it regularly, you're essentially allowing food particles to rot in the refrigerator.

There are different opinions on how often the refrigerator should be cleaned. Some believe that cleaning the shelves every month is sufficient. Others think it should be done weekly.

In general, thorough cleaning once a month may be sufficient. However, if your refrigerator smells unpleasant, it may require more frequent cleaning.

Delaying cleanup of spilled liquids

Cleaning experts note that another cause of unpleasant odors can be the failure to immediately clean up spilled liquids - moisture can lead to mold growth and spoilage of products, resulting in unpleasant odors.

That's why it's important to immediately wipe up the liquid and then treat the surface with a multi-purpose spray or cleaning solution to properly remove residues.

Lack of odor absorber replacement

Some products act as natural odor absorbers, while others may serve as deodorizers. For instance, baking soda, stored in a ventilated container in the refrigerator, absorbs unpleasant odors.

However, it should be replaced monthly, or else it becomes ineffective. Additionally, refrain from using refrigerator baking soda for cooking - dishes may acquire an unpleasant taste.

As an alternative to baking soda, activated charcoal or coffee grounds (which should be replaced every few days) can be used - or specialized odor absorbers, which should also be replaced regularly.

For a pleasant odor in the refrigerator, citrus peels or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract can be used.

Plastic container usage

Plastic containers are incredibly convenient and help organize space in the refrigerator. However, they can exacerbate unpleasant odors inside the appliance - as the plastic of the container, especially if damaged, can absorb odors.

On the other hand, glass containers do not allow odors to pass through and preserve the freshness of products for longer.

Improper lid sealing

Even if you exclusively use glass containers, improper sealing can lead to the development of odors. Especially if the containers store products with strong and persistent aromas - such as onions, garlic, and certain cheeses.

Therefore, improperly sealed plastic lids can contribute to the spread of odor from the product throughout the appliance.


If refrigerator shelves are lined with mats, it can help solve the odor dilemma.

For instance, reusable rubber mats, which can be cut to size, contain spilled liquids, prevent the occurrence of unpleasant odors, and are easy to clean, ensuring hygienic cleanliness in the refrigerator.

Also, we discussed which food containers are safe for health.