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You may know that baking soda is amazing in terms of keeping your refrigerator smelling fresh. Just leave a box open to help fight odor or sprinkle some onto a wet sponge and scrub the interior with it.
“Disinfectants—like bleach—should never be used inside refrigerators,” Cleanipedia states on their website. “As with other kitchen cleaning products, any disinfectant that comes into contact with food could make people ill because of the strong chemicals they contain. Stick to specially formulated products that are safe to use inside a fridge, or opt for natural cleaners instead.”
Cleanipedia also suggest emptying the whole fridge, of course, if you’re doing a full cleaning. Whether you are doing the former or just trying to maintain your refrigerator’s current cleanliness, here are some of our favorite all-natural (i.e., nontoxic!) ways to do so.
Yep, you know how we love vinegar around here and when it comes to cleaning our fridges, it’s no exception. All She Cooks has a great methodology when it comes to using vinegar for cleaning a fridge, which includes three parts hot water to one part vinegar. (She uses Cleaning Vinegar, although I use plain old white vinegar like my grandma taught me, and that works just fine.) Tough-to-remove stains will benefit from straight, undiluted vinegar.
All She Cooks also recommends using washable shelf liners (like these) in the fridge to prevent too much of a mess later on.
According to the book Who Knew? by husband and wife Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin, salt is a great ingredient to use when cleaning your refrigerator. All you do is dissolve a cup of salt into a gallon of hot water and that’s that. You can add the juice of a lemon, too, for a nice scent. (By the way, Who Knew? is full of money-saving cooking and cleaning tips and you can buy the book used for only $.01 on Amazon, which I’m about to do.)
3. Cotton Balls And Vanilla (Or Another All-Natural Scent)
I don’t know about you, but I love the scent of vanilla, and your fridge will, too. Just soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract—in a shot glass is ideal—and you can place it anywhere for it to do its thing, according to Bon Appétit’s Ashlea Halpern. I tried this trick with peppermint essential oil and it worked, too. Another friend uses lemon juice, as well as leaving lemon slices in various places. (Like I mentioned above, the key is not using disinfectants, because you don’t want to pollute the food within and, in essence, your family’s bodies.)
I was raised on cleaning everything with vinegar or lemon juice, and a big jug of vinegar and a bag of lemons were always on hand in my home. When cleaning with a lemon, squeeze some juice onto a towel, wipe (or scrub!), and the surface will soon be as good as new. Other people, like my neighbor and experts at Maid Brigade, suggest leaving lemon halves inside the fridge at all times to curb unwanted scents.
QuickAndDirtyTips.com also has great advice for cleaning with lemons—including first rolling the lemon on the counter, then microwaving it for 10 seconds (in order to get the most juice from it); using half a lemon as your scrubbing tool (once you’ve removed the seeds); using both sides of the lemon (for then the oils will be released, i.e., a stronger lemony scent); and, finally, using the used-up lemons in your garbage disposal. (I will be doing all of these things from now on!)
5. Tomato Juice
I found this cleaning remedy the most surprising, yet when I tried it, it worked! A friend said she learned this tomato juice method from her mom, and it’s easy. Since people say tomato juice is key in getting rid of the scent from a skunk, I guess it’s not too shocking that it works for fridge odors, too. Just soak a cloth or sponge in tomato juice, wipe down your fridge, then rinse with soapy warm water (I prefer the all-natural Dr. Bronner’s soaps as I mentioned earlier). Like magic, your fridge will look brand new again. (And you can go make a Bloody Mary with the leftover juice.)
Photo by triviaqueen