How to eliminate refrigerator odours

3 mins read Commercial refrigeration, Tips

Sometimes, especially after long use, a refrigerator or commercial cool room develops nasty smells. These should not be ignored as bad odours could be a sign of potentially dangerous bacteria lurking around.

Opening or walking into your fridge should never make you convulse in disgust. In this article, we will explain a few ways to eliminate bad odours from your refrigerator units.

1) Deep clean

Oftentimes, the smell in your unit might just be the result of lack of cleaning. It can be hard to determine the exact source of bad smells. And even if you find one, there may be other perpetrators.

Firstly, determine whether you are able to turn off your machine without damaging the items in the fridge. If you are, then turn off the fridge.

If you need the items to remain cold and don’t have a cooler or second fridge, then just compartmentalise the items so that you can clean sections of the fridge whilst everything remains cold.

Secondly, once you determine how the items in the fridge will stay cold, then begin by removing the shelves and cleaning them thoroughly. Use warm water with some baking soda or vinegar added to it. This will help clean, but also fight the smell.

Ensure any removable parts are disconnected and washed, wiped and dried. Bacteria can form in unlikely places. If all parts that can be cleaned are dealt with, then it increases the chance of complete odour removal.

Lastly, the floor and the walls, depending on the material, may be wiped or mopped. If you notice any mould or bacteria, be sure to target those areas.

2) Use de-odourisers

Smells can stick even after deep cleans. Using items that absorb odours is a great idea.
Baking soda has no smell in and of itself, but it is awesome at neutralising odours. Place an opened box or container of baking soda in the back of a few of your shelves and it should absorb any unpleasant smell.

You can also opt to use liquids such as apple cider vinegar that has been mixed with water and boiled. This is especially effective in freezer units.

If you have more time on your hands and can afford to not have your fridge for a few days, then ground coffee beans are great too. Just spread ground coffee on trays and place them on the shelves of your fridge. It takes a few days for odours to be removed which is why this is only feasible if you have more than one fridge.

3) Avoid the smells

Being proactive like labelling and dating items correctly, throwing away old items, keeping shelves organised and clean and making sure items that fall are picked up are some of the best ways to keep away bad odours. By staying clean and tidy, smells are less likely to form.

4) Place a non-harmful fragrance

Sometimes, no matter what you do, smells just persist. If there is no avoiding it, then placing a non-toxic fragrance or natural odour can help.

A bag of charcoal mixed with lavender or rosemary may help. Or local stores may have chemical-free substances that could be used. Either way, a persistent smell may be hard to eliminate but easy to cover up.

Having a clean, fresh-smelling commercial cool room or refrigerator is key. Bad smells can leech onto items or be a sign of worse things.


If you are having trouble with your fridge or want an expert opinion about the smell, efficiency or maintenance of your unit, then contact JD Refrigeration at 0404 840 296.

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