Clean a Stinky Fridge

Eliminate bad fridge odors with newspaper and charcoal

Turn a stinky fridge into a clean fridge by disinfecting the interior and then adding newspapers and charcoal for the final treatment. Odors will be gone within several days.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Stinky fridge to clean fridge

When your power goes out and the food in your fridge and freezer goes bad, you’ve got a really stinky mess on your hands. Obviously the first step is to remove the food and wipe everything down with a disinfecting cleaning spray. But our appliance expert, Costas Stavrou, gave us the rest of the story.

Turns out the most common mistake DIYers make is not cleaning all the nooks and crannies inside the freezer. The biggest culprits? The shelf supports in your freezer. Costas says to remove them and clean behind them with detergent and disinfectant to get rid of any blood or crud. If they’re permanently attached, soak them with cleaning spray. Next, forget about those expensive charcoal odor removers or coffee (which is even more expensive). Just use newspaper and charcoal briquettes. Finally (and this is the most important part), replace the old newspaper and charcoal with fresh stuff every day for about a week or until the smell is gone. Don’t think a single treatment is enough. It isn’t.

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Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Disinfecting cleaner
  • Charcoal briquets
  • Newspaper