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My Fridge Smells Bad Even After Cleaning? 5 Reasons

One of the worst things about a smelly fridge is that it can make your whole kitchen smell bad. And no one wants to cook in a kitchen that smells like something died in the back of the fridge.

If you’ve tried cleaning your fridge with soapy water and vinegar, but the smell persists.

In this post we will explain the reasons and solutions to a smelly fridge.

If you have no time to read, remember these:

The first thing you should check is the seal on your fridge door. If the seal is damaged, then air can escape and cause the fridge to smell. To fix this, you will need to replace the seal.

Another common cause of a smelly fridge is food that has gone bad. If you have food in your fridge that is past its expiration date, it can cause the fridge to smell. To fix this, you will need to throw away any expired food.

If you have a garbage disposal in your sink, it can also cause your fridge to smell. The garbage disposal can emit a foul odor if it is not used regularly. To fix this, you will need to use the garbage disposal more often.

Why My Fridge Smells Persist after Cleaning?

My Fridge Smells Bad Even After Cleaning

There are a few possible explanations:

1. Old food lurks in the back of the fridge.

It is starting to rot and emit an unpleasant odor. Even if we think we’ve cleaned out our fridge thoroughly, there’s always the possibility that something has slipped through the cracks.

Give your fridge another good cleaning, paying special attention to any nooks and crannies where old food could be hiding.

So next time you’re doing a deep clean, make sure to check those hard-to-reach spots, like behind the shelves and in the crevices of the doors.

2. Your fridge isn’t properly ventilated.

If the air isn’t circulating properly, odors can quickly become trapped inside the fridge and start to build up.

Make sure that your fridge has plenty of ventilation by leaving the door open for a few minutes each day.

You might also want to consider investing in a fridge with an internal fan, which can help to circulate the air and prevent odors from becoming trapped.

3. Food that’s past its expiration date

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If food is sitting in your fridge long past its expiration date, it’s going to start to smell bad.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure you’re regularly checking the expiration dates on all the food in your fridge and throwing out anything that’s expired.

4. Dirty refrigerator coils

Refrigerator coils are located either behind or underneath your fridge and they help remove heat from inside the fridge so that it stays cool.

But if these coils get covered in dust or other debris, they won’t be able to do their job properly, which can cause your fridge to overcompensate by working overtime and using more energy than necessary.

Not only will this drive up your energy bill, but it can also cause your fridge to develop a musty smell.

To clean your coils, simply unplug your refrigerator, pull it out from the wall, and vacuum the coils with a soft-bristled brush attachment (or you can use a coil-cleaning brush if you have one). Once they’re clean, plug your refrigerator back in and voila—your fridge will be smelling fresh again in no time!

5. Spilled food or drinks

Even if you’re careful, spills happen—and when they do, they can quickly lead to foul-smelling fridges.

The key to preventing this is to clean up spills as soon as they happen (before they have time to set in and stain) by wiping them down with a clean cloth or paper towel dipped in warm soapy water.

Once the area is clean and dry, place an opened box of baking soda inside your fridge (this will help absorb any lingering odors).

Just be sure to replace the box every few months so that it doesn’t become saturated and start smelling itself!


A smelly refrigerator is not only unpleasant—it can also make cooking in your kitchen less enjoyable (not to mention cause headaches). But fortunately, there are some easy ways to prevent foul smells from taking over your fridge.

By regularly cleaning your refrigerator coils, throwing out expired food, and wiping up spills as soon as they happen, you can keep those unwanted odors at bay and ensure that your kitchen always smells fresh and inviting!

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