How to Keep Your Mini-Fridge Smelling Fresh – What to Know

Few things are as bad as opening your mini-fridge, only for your nose to be attacked by a terrible combination of smells. Most food smells are delightful, but when many are mixed together and locked into a small space for a prolonged period of time, the odor can turn downright dreadful.

Refrigerators are designed to keep food smells locked inside. Unfortunately, the plastic interior has a tendency to absorb and lock in odors. Once that has happened, it can be very difficult to get the stench out. But before you start Googling how much a minifridge is, you could try and see if it just needs a little cleaning. 

Here are a few steps to keeping your compact refrigerator smelling fresh:

Keep it clean 

Storing your food products properly in tightly sealed containers will prevent bad smells from clinging to the walls of your mini-fridge.

Do not allow spills to linger, and clean them immediately. This not only prevents awful scents from lingering on the walls of your compact fridge; it also prevents stains. Give your fridge a deep clean on a regular basis to ensure bacteria and mold doesn’t develop.

Having a mini-fridge mat on your carpet can also prevent moisture from building up mold. 

Clean it with vinegar

Vinegar is the secret ingredient to a lot of cleaning techniques, and it’s wonderful for removing foul odors. If you’re not averse to the smell of vinegar, you can use a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water to scrub the inside of your refrigerator. Finish the job by leaving a cup of vinegar inside as long as needed to combat any residual odors.

Or opt for lemon, instead

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, lemon is an amazing substitute. Lemon has similar antiseptic properties to vinegar and can be used to wipe down the walls of your compact refrigerator. The smell that it leaves is definitely a more pleasant scent than vinegar.

Lemon slices in a bowl can also combat residual smells, but be careful not to leave them in too long as they can develop mold. 

Use baking soda, charcoal, and coffee

You can also prevent smells by leaving an opened box of baking soda or ground charcoal in your fridge. Baking soda and charcoal absorb bad smells and moisture. These common household cleaning staples not only get rid of the smells in your fridge, but they also make it an inhospitable environment for mold.  

Some people have also been known to recycle their coffee grounds to keep their fridge smelling pleasant. Coffee has a powerful scent that is known to block out others. Make sure to regularly replace the baking soda, charcoal, and coffee grounds as their effectiveness wanes over time.

Whip out the industrial cleaners

If the smell persists, you might have to wipe down your fridge with stronger solutions, like bleach and industrial cleaners. This can leave a pungent scent in the fridge (that can go away if you use the baking soda or charcoal technique), but these strong solutions can definitely eliminate the bacteria and mold from which such smells arise. 


It may take all of these solutions and more to get your mini-fridge smelling like brand new again, but with enough patience and elbow grease, you can make the most out of your compact refrigerator. Nothing that lasts long ever comes without maintenance and attention, and your mini-fridge is no different. 

Need more information about mini-fridge maintenance and proper use? We have articles covering all sorts of topics from how much a mini-fridge costs to buying guides that compare the best brands. Check out our other posts and make sure to stay tuned for more updates.

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