Using Baking Soda in the Refrigerator

baking soda in the refrigerator

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

At one point or another, you've probably encountered a dreaded mystery odor in your fridge. Finding the source of your refrigerators foul odor is an essential first step in eliminating the smell, but anyone who has encountered months old kimchi knows some scents linger long after the food is gone. The worst part of a smelly fridge is that those odors can seep into your other food and ruin the flavor. Thankfully, there's a simple home remedy that can help you get rid of pesky stains and odors. All you need is a box of baking soda!

Why Baking Soda Works

The scientific name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It is a weak base that can act as an acid depending on what it comes in contact with. The smells in your fridge are made up of food particles that float around and eventually settle into your other meals. Putting a box of baking soda in your refrigerator gives those smelly particles something other than your leftovers to bond with. The unique characteristics of sodium bicarbonate make it very attractive to both acidic and base particles, and once these particles bond with the baking soda, the odor is neutralized.

Just remember while baking soda is used in many recipes, you should not cook with baking soda that has been used to neutralize odors. Part of the neutralization process means the baking soda has absorbed the food particles, which does change the taste of the baking soda.

Using Baking Soda Boxes

Store an opened box of baking soda in your refrigerator and freezer to help eliminate odors. Replace at least every three months, although the box may need replacing sooner if it begins to absorb too many odors. Try dating the box to help remember when to replace it. You can also choose to follow your nose. If your fridge starts to smell, it's time to replace the box.

shallow box filled with baking soda

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Baking Soda and Tough Odors

If stale odors seem to have seeped into the actual refrigerator, try washing the inside of the fridge with baking soda and water. It can help get rid of tough odors. Use a one-to-one solution of baking soda and water. For really tough odors, follow up your baking soda and water rinse by wiping the surfaces down with white vinegar. Devotes of green cleaning know that vinegar is a great natural cleaning solution. As you wipe down the fridge, you'll find the vinegar's slight chemical reaction with the baking soda will help disinfect the area and eliminate stubborn smells.

Baking Soda in Crisper Bins

Try sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of your crisper to eliminate odors there. Cover with a folded paper towel. Replace every three months, just as you do the boxes of baking soda.

Baking Soda and Refrigerator Stains

Remove food and rust residue from your refrigerator with a baking soda paste. Mix your baking soda with a small amount of water, just enough to form a dough-like texture that you can rub anywhere. Most refrigerator stains can be easily removed with baking soda, with the added benefit of odor removal. Use a toothbrush to spread the paste and scrub away the stain.