It’s happened to all of us: we’ve opened the fridge for a quick midnight snack and got hit with an unpleasant smell. When was the last time that you cleaned and freshened up your fridge? 

The fridge can be difficult to conquer. Sure, you know that you should clean it every time you clean your kitchen, or at least once per month, but that doesn’t mean that you will.

Unfortunately, poor cleaning will almost always lead to a smelly refrigerator, even if you make your best effort to avoid leaving anything dirty or rotten in there.

We’re here to help you learn how to clean a smelly refrigerator. Read on to learn more. 

Unplug the Fridge and Leave It Open

The first step of cleaning a refrigerator that smells is opening it up and airing it out. Make sure that you unplug it first to avoid wasting energy (or making your home cold). 

Sometimes airing it out is enough, but you’ll still want to move on to the next steps just in case. 

Take Everything Out

While your fridge is airing out, take everything out of it. Clear off your counters, tables, and even clean parts of your floor if you have a lot of things in your fridge.

Even things that you know are still good need to be removed. You’re going to be cleaning your refrigerator later on and you won’t be able to do that effectively if there’s still food inside.

If anything is obviously rotten, throw it out. That’s right, we see that Tupperware container that you’ve left in the fridge for weeks. Do you even remember what’s in there? 

You might be shocked at what’s lurking in the back of the fridge.

Do the Smell Test

Once you’ve removed any obvious offenders, start checking “use-by” dates and doing the smell test for anything that you’re unsure of. 

Keep in mind that “use-by” and “best-by” dates aren’t always accurate. If you’re worried about wasting food, see what you can ignore. You can also move straight onto the smell test if something still seems safe to eat.

The smell test is, perhaps, the least fun part of this process. You’re going to pick up everything that you’re unsure of, open the container, and smell it. 

If it smells fine, put it with the rest of your “good” foods. If not, throw it away. 

Wipe Everything Down

If your refrigerator has removable shelves or drawers, this is when you can remove them. This will make the cleaning process easier. Set aside drawers and fill them with water and vinegar (or dish soap) so that you can get into any nooks or crannies. 

Wipe down the shelves and the interior of the refrigerator with warm water and vinegar. This is just to get rid of any debris, liquid spills, or soft grime. 

Scrub With Cleaners

Once everything is wiped down, you’re going to have to put on your gloves, grab your cleaning products, and get to work. 

Use a sponge with both a rough side and a soft side to get rid of any stuck-on grime or dirt. If you’re struggling with a particularly stubborn area, make a paste out of water and baking soda and let it sit on the spot. 

Avoid using chemical cleaners with strong smells or you’ll exacerbate your smelly fridge problem. You don’t want chemical smells to get into your food. 

Rinse With Water

Once you’re done wiping your fridge with vinegar and cleaning it with cleaning products, rinse it with water. You can use a microfiber cloth or sponge with warm water or use a spray bottle to reach the back of the fridge. 

This will remove any residual smells and residue from the shelves. Make sure that you dry off all of the surfaces before you put your food back in, however. 

Put Everything Back

Your fridge is now clean and smell-free! It’s time to put all of your food back and plug the fridge back in. 

It’s a good idea to put things that are close to going out of date near the front of the refrigerator so you remember to use them soon. Otherwise, you’ll end up with the same problem. 

Tips for Keeping Your Refrigerator Fresh

Once you have your fresh and clean fridge, how are you going to keep it that way? You don’t want to end up with a smelly fridge again in a matter of weeks.

First, consider placing a container of baking soda in the back of your fridge. This should absorb odors, so even if there is something making your fridge smelly, it won’t be as noticeable. 

When you pack away leftovers, it’s a good idea to label them with dates. You can use dry-erase markers for this. That way, you know what leftovers that you should be eating first (or what to throw away next time you clean your fridge).

Make a habit of wiping down the walls and shelves of your refrigerator every time you clean your kitchen. It might be annoying, but it will prevent the problem from getting serious. 

Smelly Refrigerator? No Problem

If you have a smelly refrigerator, it’s time to grab a sponge, put on your gloves, and start cleaning it. It’s a time-consuming process but you’ll be so relieved once you’re done. Don’t let your fridge stay smelly! 

If you’ve let your fridge (and kitchen) get out of hand, why not get professional refrigerator cleaning help? At Detail Cleanings, we know how to freshen up your fridge and make your kitchen sparkle. 

Contact us or get an instant online quote today.