We’ve all experienced it before: We open the refrigerator door with the intention of getting something yummy to eat, but then a strange odor hits us like a tidal wave, turning our legs to jelly and making us lose our appetite. You all know what I’m talking about right? It doesn’t really matter if you store a lot of food in the fridge or not– sometimes the fridge just has a way of picking up bad smells!
The worst part is how the smell can sometimes latch itself onto the other contents of the fridge, effectively contaminating what could have been something fresh and delicious. A smelly fridge is personally one of my pet peeves, but let’s face it, NOBODY likes that.
The good news is learning to control unwanted fridge odors isn’t all that hard. Here are some best practices that can help with refrigerator odor situations big-time:
1. Give your refrigerator a major clean-up.
This exercise is important whether or not you smell something emanating from your fridge. Thorough cleaning is key to an odor-free and bacteria-free fridge. Throw out any food that is way past its expiration date and if you find something rotten in one of the bins, make sure to clean the bin itself after throwing the bad food out.
You can use dishwashing liquid to scrub all the shelves, bins, and other removable parts of the fridge on a regular basis. Once you’ve taken out all the contents of your fridge, wipe the walls, floors, and all the nooks and crannies of your fridge. Don’t forget to clean the drip tray underneath! Before putting the shelves and bins back in, make sure to thoroughly dry them.
As for the freezer, you should also take out all contents, transfer to a cooler, and then defrost it. Bad odors have a way of mixing with the ice inside the freezer, and the only way to remove them is through defrosting. Plus, if ice is already too thick inside the freezer, this hinders the freezer’s efficiency at preserving food.
2. Use odor removers found inside your kitchen.
Most people know about the odor absorption abilities of baking soda already, but I bet you didn’t know that vinegar can also neutralize bad odors. Just place a bowl of vinegar in the fridge and it will act the same way as baking soda does. Also, these two can be mixed with water and used as a cleaning solution for the fridge!
Other common kitchen items that are also great odor-absorbers are oats and coffee grounds. Put them in a bowl and place in the fridge for 24 hours for instant odor absorbing magic.
3. Good air circulation is everything.
The main function of a refrigerator is to preserve food, and the way it does this is through the cold air circulating inside. If your refrigerator is functioning properly and keeping your food cool, this will reduce chances of spoilage and in turn keep away any bad odors spoiled food produces. The refrigerator has to maintain a temperature of below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) to be efficient. Any warmer and it will encourage faster rotting of food.
4. Use the “To each its own place” mantra.
Proper storage of food can actually do wonders for your fridge, both in terms of space and also in terms of odor prevention. It’s always a good idea to use airtight containers to store leftovers instead of leaving them in their loosely wrapped takeout boxes or in their original plates.
Imagine putting an uncovered plate of curry and kimchi right beside a plate of fresh salad and then calling it a night. You shouldn’t be surprised when the fridge starts smelling funky the next morning, and your salad will not taste the same either!
If you want to be meticulous, you can use masking tape to label leftovers by writing down the date when the food was initially packed away. If you’re like me and have some half-used ingredient that you’ve transferred from its original container, it’s always wise to copy down the ‘best before’ date indicated in its original packaging.
Another thing is storing your food in their proper bins. The reason why there is an assigned compartment for certain kinds of food is because each bin is designed to preserve something specific. For instance, your fruits and veggies bin is set to a temperature that best maintains crispness and freshness compared to the other parts of the fridge.
5. Check the contents of your fridge regularly.
It’s good to develop the habit of checking the fridge every week for anything that might need to be eaten immediately or thrown out. In many occasions, when we purchase new food items we tend to push the old ones to the back of the fridge and forget about them. Through weekly checking, we can actually keep track of what it is we may need to eat before it goes bad. And if something has gone past expiry, then at least we can throw it out before it starts to smell!
6. Invest in a fridge with odor-controlling features.
When it comes to this, the Panasonic refrigerators come to mind because they have what is called the Ag Clean. Panasonic Ag Clean is a technology that addresses antibacterial and deodorizing concerns by using a silver-coated filter.
Silver has been found to have a powerful antibacterial property, and it is what Panasonic uses in their filters to deeply clean the air circulating inside their refrigerators. As proven by a lab test in Japan, the Ag Clean filter deactivates 99% of the mold and bacteria in the fridge, helping to prevent strong and unpleasant odors from developing. In effect, all the food stored inside the refrigerator will stay clean and fresh.
And there you have my 6 tips for a good-looking and good-smelling refrigerator. I hope you learned something interesting from this post! 🙂
Full disclosure: This post is sponsored by Panasonic Philippines.