How to Clean a Smelly Fridge at Work

How to Clean a Smelly Fridge at Work

The following contribution is from another author.

It’s not uncommon to bring a packed lunch to work, right? You get there in the morning, place it in the fridge, and when the clock strikes noon, you grab it and sit down to eat. Simple. 

However, the last thing you want to add to that experience is the smell of a rank odor assaulting your senses when you open the fridge door.  

Nobody wants to deal with a smelly fridge, especially while at work, and no one wants to take responsibility for cleaning it. When the time comes, that appliance will need sanitizing.

Here are some helpful fridge-cleaning tips while you and your co-workers draw straws over who must get the cleaning gloves on:

Fridge Cleaning 101

Empty That Fridge 

Firstly, you should take everything out of that fridge. Many individuals in the workplace have a bad habit of leaving food and other products in the fridge for longer than is proper. Who knows what relics you might find?

Go through each item, double-check the expiration dates, and check in with each co-worker to ensure you aren’t throwing out someone’s lunch for the day. Anything past the expiration date should get thrown out, as many food products can lead to atrocious smells once spoiled. According to specialists that do office cleaning in Winnipeg, the scent of spoiled food could be happening because of a power outage. Most unplugged refrigerators can keep food cold for up to 4 hours if left unopened. Don’t take any chances by holding onto food that may no longer be edible. 

Start Scrubbing

Start by scrubbing the interior and unplugging the fridge. Remove the shelves, bins, drawers, and other loose components. Then, wash those components in a sink full of hot, soapy water.

You can also use soapy water or a multipurpose cleaner with a sponge or washcloth for the interior. Consider sanitizing the fridge with a bleach and water solution for persistent odors. Bleach will kill lingering bacteria and microbes that may be causing the smell. Remember to wear rubber gloves when handling cleaning supplies. Alternatively, using nitrile gloves can provide an extra layer of protection against harsh chemicals in cleaning products and reduce the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Our friends that do Ottawa fridge repair recommend cleaning the condenser coils if the appliance emits a strong burning smell. Condenser coils are located underneath a refrigerator and work to keep the refrigerant cool. If the coils get dusty, they can work less effectively (and the dust can create a burning smell). Try using a metal coil-cleaning brush and vacuum out any loose dust. 

Deodorizing Time

You can use various multipurpose cleaners for particularly rancid smells within the fridge. You can also use edible products, such as white vinegar and baking soda, which absorb odors. Some additional odor absorbers include dry oats, citrus peels, and coffee grounds. Whatever deodorizing method you choose, place it in a small bowl in the fridge for at least 24 hours to remove lingering scents. 

Air It Out 

Once the cleaning process is over, you should let the fridge air out, as it will allow lingering scents to dissipate. Ensure the appliance is unplugged and leave the door open for at least half an hour. Keeping the fridge unplugged will prevent your office from wasting electricity. If the smell persists, give the interior another wipe down with cleaning products or try another deodorizing method. 

We hope you found these tips helpful, especially if you’re on fridge-cleaning duty. We understand that cleaning is never easy, but consistently keeping the work fridge spotless will decrease the chance of horrible smells in the workplace and keep your colleagues happy and healthy. 


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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