We’ve heard this question so many times over the years: “My refrigerator stinks and I don’t know why”. That’s because it’s surprisingly common to have a stinky fridge! If you’ve ever had a strange odor coming from your refrigerator, you know it can be hard to find the source of the smell and that sometimes it seems to stick around even after you clean it. We’ll discuss some of the most common causes of refrigerator odor and offer some solutions to help you get rid of the stink!

Why Your Refrigerator Stinks and How to Fix it

Let’s dig into the problem, starting with finding out where the smell is coming from!

Why Does My Fridge Smell?

There are a few different reasons why your refrigerator stinks. The most common culprits are:

  • Spilled food: If you’ve ever had a spill in your fridge, chances are the odor is coming from there. Even if you think you’ve cleaned it up well, food particles can get into cracks and crevices and start to rot, causing a nasty smell.
  • Mold or mildew: If mold or mildew is growing somewhere in your fridge, it can cause the whole appliance to stink.
  • Poor ventilation: If your fridge is not well-ventilated, it can cause odors to build up over time. This is often due to a dirty air filter or a blockage in the vents.

how to clean a stinky refrigerator

How to Clean a Smelly Refrigerator

Now that we’ve covered the common reasons why your refrigerator stinks, let’s get to work getting rid of the smell with these simple steps.

  1. Clean up spills and stains; Use a mild soap and warm water to scrub your fridge from top to bottom, then dry it thoroughly.
  2. Remove mold or mildew: If you see mold or mildew growing in your fridge, you’ll need to remove it immediately. Scrub the area with a mixture of vinegar and water, then dry it completely.
  3. Throw out old food: It’s important to regularly check your fridge for expired or spoiled food. If you find anything that is past its due date, throw it out!
  4. Clean the vents: If your fridge has a vent, be sure to clean it regularly. A build-up of dust and debris can cause odors to get trapped in the vent, so be sure to keep it clean!
  5. Replace the air filter: If your fridge has an air filter, be sure to replace it every few months. A dirty air filter can cause odors to build up in the fridge.
  6. Use baking soda: Baking soda is a natural odor absorber, so it’s great for getting rid of smells in your fridge. Just open up a box and place it on a shelf, or put some in a bowl and leave it in the fridge.
  7. Bonus- Clean Ice Maker: The ice maker doesn’t usually cause odors, but a stinky fridge can cause ice to taste and smell bad. If you’re having ice problems, check out our blog on smelly refrigerator ice!

refrigerator cleaning tips

Try These Tips to Prevent Odors

  • Keep it clean and dry: Mold and mildew love moisture, so it’s important to keep your fridge clean and dry. Wipe up any spills immediately, and make sure the vents are clear so that air can circulate properly.
  • Organize your fridge: Keeping your fridge organized helps you see when food is rotting and notice when something spills. Check out our guide on how to organize a refrigerator for our best tips!
  • Wipe down surfaces regularly: Wipe down the shelves, drawers, and doors of your fridge with a mild soap and water solution at least once a week.

By following these tips, you can keep your fridge smelling fresh and clean. And remember, for any problems you can’t solve with a guide, call our expert refrigerator repair service team at Oak Valley Appliance!