What To Do When Your Fridge Smells Bad

We’ve all been there. That day you walk around the house with your nose in the air like a cartoon hunting dog, sniffing and snorting around every room looking for, well, you know… that really stinky smell. Then you found it. Your refrigerator. But you’re confused because there doesn’t appear to be any three week old pizza boxes or leftover chopped onion.

Before you freak out and never invite another guest over to your smelly house again, take a breather. I promise, stinky smells in the fridge can go away. And it’s not that hard to banish them forever. These 5 steps will turn your big metal hunk of stink into a fresh-smelling food storage container, just the way it’s supposed to be.

How To Clean Your Refrigerator In 5 Easy Steps

1. Empty it out completely and purge any old items. Make sure you use sturdy trash bags if you’re dumping old food, especially leftovers, and take the trash out immediately after finishing your purge sesh.

2. Remove and wash all shelves and drawers. Put them on the counters or kitchen floor and let them acclimate to room temperature. Once they’ve warmed up a bit, wash them in warm soapy water, dry thoroughly, and let them acclimate again. *Never put very cold drawers and shelves under hot water, or very hot drawers and shelves immediately back in the cold fridge. They can crack.

3. Wipe the interior of the fridge with disinfectant. You can use a spray or pre-soaked wipe, just be sure it’s gentle enough for food areas. I like using Clorox Anywhere Spray because it’s strong enough to disinfect surfaces but gentle enough to put food on it.

4. Wipe bottoms of items as you fill the fridge back up. Take a second to wipe off the bottoms of the juice bottles and milk cartons and condiment jars as you refill the refrigerator. If your shelves and drawers were a gooey mess, chances are it’s on your containers, too.

5. Use an open box of baking soda to neutralize future smells and replace it monthly. Make sure you write in big letters with a sharpie “Do Not Use For Cooking” to ensure it doesn’t accidentally end up in your food. The baking soda absorbs the stink, and it can definitely affect the flavor of your grandma’s cake if you try to bake with it.

how to clean your stinky refrigerator

Bonus Tip:

If at all possible, open up all the windows in the house. More than likely, that smell isn’t just hanging out in the fridge. While it may have started there, it has definitely spread it’s ways around your home, whether you realize it or not. By opening the windows as you clean the fridge, you’re giving your home a chance to air out and the breeze will push out all the old stink and in the fresh Springtime breeze.

Organized-ish Printable Binder Kits

Need More Cleaning Help?

You’re in the right place! I just launched my newly updated Organized-ish Binder Kits on Etsy and trust me, you need them! The Bundle Kit has pages of shopping lists, checklists, cleaning plans, timelines, and helpful tips to kick off your Spring Cleaning the right way and make your house sparkle even more than it did when you first moved in. You can grab the whole collection right here!




  1. Thank you for all these tips, especially this one on baking soda. I had no idea it could absorb the smells in the fridge.

Leave A Comment