7 Common Reasons Your Fridge Smells Bad (Even After Cleaning It)

There could be several reasons why your fridge smells bad even after cleaning. Some of these reasons are more obvious than others, but fortunately, many of these problems are easily resolved, and you can get your fridge smelling great again.

If your fridge still smells after cleaning, it’s possible that the plastic has absorbed odors. You may need to use bleach or vinegar to do a deeper clean, or you can place an open bowl of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. Examine your refrigerator’s draining system, clean the coils, and look for leaks. Before we spend hundreds of dollars on repairs or even a new refrigerator, let’s look at some obvious and not-so-obvious culprits to solve the mystery of that stinky fridge and how to get a smell out of a fridge!

Reason 1: Missing spots

When most people clean their refrigerator, they simply wipe down the shelves and walls with soapy water or a cleaning spray. However, there are some frequently overlooked spots in the fridge that could be the source of your odors.

Underneath the vegetable baskets is a frequently overlooked area, as are the shelves on the fridge door (especially the ones with covers). My fridge got wet and mold grew inside the magnetic strip on the fridge door (the one that creates a seal and keeps the door shut). Check every corner to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Fridge smells bad (Source: Internet)
Fridge smells bad (Source: Internet)

Reason 2: Food leftover in the fridge

If you clean your fridge and then put stinky leftovers back in it, your fridge will still smell because odors from these foods are still emitted.

It could be that garlic roast, or it could be some forgotten milk or leftovers that have developed their own microbiome in the back of your refrigerator.

Food leftover in the fridge (Source: Internet)
Food leftover in the fridge (Source: Internet)


  • Using odor absorbent substances such as coffee powder to eliminate the odor.
  • When cleaning your fridge, make sure to check all of your food and remove any smelling food or items that have gone bad.
  • When storing food with a strong smell, store it in a closed container.

Reason 3: The smell is actually in the freezer

If you’ve given the fridge AND freezer a thorough cleaning, haven’t missed any spots, and have removed all bad food and your fridge still smells, it’s possible that the odors have been absorbed by the fridge’s walls.

Plastic can absorb and then release odors, and if you’ve had moldy food in your fridge, this odor may have gotten into the plastic at some point.

The smell is actually in the freezer (Source: Internet)
The smell is actually in the freezer (Source: Internet)


If you have this problem, you should approach it in two parts. To begin, clean the refrigerator with vinegar or bleach. This will kill any hidden mold and eliminate most odors.

After that, place some baking soda in an open bowl in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. This can absorb unpleasant odors. The baking soda can then be discarded, or new baking soda can be added to continue absorbing odors.

Reason 4: Wrong temperature

The temperature of your fridge could be a covert cause of its odor. Bacteria may be growing in your fridge due to the temperature, and your food may not be staying fresh for as long, releasing unpleasant odors.

Wrong temperature in the fridge (Source: Internet)
Wrong temperature in the fridge (Source: Internet)


Maintain a refrigerator temperature of 35°F to 37°F (1.6°C to 2.8°C). Bacteria can grow quickly in a fridge that is above 40°F (4°C).

A simple fridge thermometer can help you keep track of your temperature. If your temperature is acceptable, we can proceed to the rest of the scene.

Reason 5: Dirty drip tray

Your drip pan could be to blame. When deep cleaning, the drip pan is frequently overlooked.

Remember that the tray contains moisture, which is ideal for the growth of mold, bacteria, and, as a result, foul odors. Get the user manual for your refrigerator and locate and remove the drip pan.

Dirty drip tray (Source: Internet)
Dirty drip tray (Source: Internet)


Clean it thoroughly with soapy water, then add a cup of vinegar to the soapy water for an extra kick. Reinstall your drip pan after it has dried completely. To avoid mold, repeat this process every three months.

Reason 6: Clogged drainage system

Every refrigerator has a drain hole that collects excess moisture and drips it into the drip tray. If the drain hole becomes clogged, the condensation will produce a foul odor.

Don’t be alarmed if your drip tray is empty or no water is draining from your refrigerator’s drain hole.

Drainage system in the fridge (Source: Internet)
Drainage system in the fridge (Source: Internet)


You should call a professional in this case. However, before calling the professionals, check the make and model of your refrigerator and see if you can unclog the clogged drain with simple tools.

Reason 7: Freon Leak

We’ve reached the point in the investigation where the big guns must be called in.

If you have thoroughly cleaned and eliminated all possible suspects and still find nothing, you may have a freon leak. This could be the source of a chemical odor in your refrigerator.

Freon is the component that modern refrigerators use to keep the inside cool. Although freon cooling is an internal closed system, leaks can occur. Freon is harmful not only to your food, but also to your health (in large quantities).

Freon leak in the fridge (Source: Internet)
Freon leak in the fridge (Source: Internet)


If you are not familiar with fixing the fridge, it is better to call a professional to help you.

Keep your fridge smelling good

Have you successfully removed foul odor out of your fridge? Since the reasons can be various, we have mentioned 7 most common reasons that make your fridge smell bad even after cleaning. We hope our solutions can help you to resolve your case.

Need some tips? We’re here to help

The fridge stored many different kinds of food and some of them may cause your fridge to be smelly. It is not difficult to handle that odor. However, if you are unable to find out the reason for the odor as well as the solutions for it, you might want to hire a professional cleaning team!

You can count on sparklingandbeyond.com to complete your plan easier! We provide you with affordable and reliable cleaning services and a lot of helpful tips.

Feel free to contact us today! Our experienced cleaning experts are waiting for you!

If you want to check our availability and pricing, please check here.

Spread the love

 64 total views,  1 views today

Sparkling and Beyond

Sparkling and Beyond is a top-quality company which provides professional cleaning services for both residential and commercial areas


Enter your email & name to get your 15% off code

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll top