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How to Get Rid Of Bad Refrigerator Smells and Odors

Ever let food rot in your fridge? Remember these tips.

I let some veggies rot in my refrigerator, and now there’s a really foul smell. How do I get rid of it? - MIKE S., TULSA, OK

Funny you should ask: A neighbor once gave us a fridge she’d left unplugged with rotting meat inside—so we know whereof we speak.

First: You’ve tossed the veg cadavers and used a spray cleaner, right? If not, for God’s sake, man, go do it now. If the stench stays, “use a baking soda/water paste to scrub the plastic parts,” says’s Melissa Maker.

Still no good? Wipe shelves with lemon juice, Mayer says, then put a bowl of one of these odor-killers (listed weakest to strongest) on a shelf: vanilla extract; white vinegar; coffee grounds (what flight attendants use to de-stink vomit); baking soda; or activated charcoal from a pet store or aquarium.

If all else fails, you could fill the whole thing with balled-up newspapers, but really, it’d be easier to just buy a whole new fridge. (Trust us on this one.)

Then get a Berry-Breeze (, an ionic air filter that eats fridge odors and keeps produce fresh for weeks—a boon for both nose and wallet. 

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