There’s nothing quite as disturbing as getting ready to prepare a meal and opening a fridge to find unidentifiable bad smells! Not only does your appetite disappear, it often takes too long to find out what’s causing the stench. Is there spoiled food? A spill on the bottom shelf? Mold growing behind the door? Here are three simple ways to eliminate the smell and three ways keep it from coming back in the future.

1. Clean the fridge completely.

The first step may sound the most daunting, but it’s necessary. Go through your fridge and throw out anything that could be rotten, or anything you honestly won’t eat in the next few days. Put all your remaining food in a cooler, cover it with ice, and unplug your fridge. You’ll be keeping the door open to clean, so it’s imperative that you save your food (if it’s still good), as well as keep from wasting electricity. When you’re cleaning, scrub all the shelves, take out the drawers to soak in the sink, and wipe the space underneath the drawers. Don’t forget to swab the seal on the door and the outside surfaces! You never know what foods might drip as you’re putting them in and out of the fridge.

2. Use natural cleaning solutions.

No matter what ingredients are listed in a cleaning solution, it’s a little iffy to use chemicals around your food. Luckily there are natural cleaning solutions that can be easily made with household ingredients. It’s safe to scrub all surfaces with half a cup of baking soda dissolved into a sink of warm water. Use a mix of half white vinegar and half water to really make that fridge shine.

3. Leave odor removers on the shelves.

It’s common knowledge that you can keep an open box of baking soda in your fridge to prevent odors, but did you know you can spread baking soda on a cookie tray to soak up any odors that remain after cleaning? The larger surface area helps eliminate odors quickly–just be sure to throw out the baking soda when you’re done. You can also mix half a cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of vanilla to tackle tougher smells. Other natural odor removers you can leave open in your fridge include a dish of dried coffee grounds (the coffee smell goes away quickly, and takes other odors with it), a cup of white vinegar, charcoal briquettes, or even a bowl of oats!

Now that you’re starting over with a clean fridge:

4. Keep fresh foods visible.

Don’t tuck your fruits and veggies away in a drawer if you’re going to forget about them! Keep them on the top shelf so you see them every time you open the door. This way you’ll be more aware of when they’re going bad, and can eat them before they go to waste.

5. Use airtight containers.

Don’t store your pizza or Chinese leftovers in their cardboard containers, don’t loosely wrap the remains of your sandwich in a napkin, and don’t leave bowls of leftovers open on the shelf. Store everything in airtight containers. This not only helps your leftovers stay edible for a longer period of time, but it keeps their odors from mingling and assaulting your nose when you open the door.

6. Label and date leftovers.

This will save you from having to pop open the lid of some unidentifiable object and lose your appetite! You’ll never have to try and remember if you ate spaghetti this Monday or the Monday before. You’ll always know exactly when your food was packed away, so you’ll know if it’s good for tonight’s dinner, or needs to go out with tomorrow’s trash.

Whilst we like to treat the fridge as a safe-haven for all things food and drink, there are, in fact, foods you should not put in the fridge. Which ones are you guilty of? 12 Foods You Should Not Put In The Fridge

Featured photo credit: kenjisama via photopin cc

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