You’ll Gag When You Discover What’s Really Causing That Dodgy Fridge Stench!

Ever cracked open your fridge expecting a whiff of last night’s delightful dinner, only to be hit by a stench so nasty it makes you gag? 

We have been there before and it’s certainly worrying, especially when you check your fridge and you don’t find rotten or expired food. 

But before you throw everything in the bin out of frustration, let us help you identify what may be the culprit of that foul stench. Trust us, many of them are actually gross! 

The Mouldy Remnants Lurking In The Back

We’ve all fallen victim to this one. You do a big food shop, pack the fridge full to bursting, and next thing you know there’s some sad, shrivelled pepper just chilling behind the milk. 

food in fridge

Or half an onion slowly turning into a biohazard in the salad drawer. 

Once mould starts spreading its gross, fuzzy strands over your forgotten produce, it’s only a matter of time before your whole fridge will be overrun by a dank, musty, stench. 

The Dreaded Spill You Can’t Quite Locate

There’s nothing worse than an unidentified spill turning rancid in some hard-to-reach nook of the fridge. 

You can scrub and scrub, but that smell will still linger unless you address it directly. 

Maybe it was that questionable curry from a few weeks back that splashed everywhere when you dropped it. 

Or your housemate’s dodgy homemade brew that started leaking brown sludge onto the veg drawer. 

Whatever it was, you better get your gloves on and start hunting the culprit, or that funky smell will just get even worse!

The Long-Forgotten Food Rotting Under The Fridge

We’ve all been there – you go feel around under the fridge shelves for that pesky spoon you dropped and bam! Your fingers brush against something soft and disgusting. 

You lift it towards your face, and you recoil in horror at the mouldy and desiccated tomato rolling across your palm. 

How did it even get there? Who can remember? But one thing’s for sure – that little thing has been stewing in its own putrid juices for weeks on end.


It’s no wonder that everytime you go near your fridge, you always have the tendency to gag!

The Mystery Of Stagnant Water

It’s not uncommon for fridges to collect a bit of water inside, thanks to their cooling process.

But beware, this isn’t just harmless condensation. Why?

Because when water mixes with food crumbs and other residues, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, transforming into a smell so foul it could clear a room. Yuck!

You may want to think twice before ignoring the moisture in your fridge. Take a cloth or paper towel and wipe it off!

Other Culprits Behind A Foul-Smelling Fridge, And What You Can Do

Now that you know the extremely disgusting reasons why your fridge smells like wet socks, you may be curious about the other culprits that may be causing this smell issue

Here are the possible reasons, and tips on what you can do:

The Deceptive Expiry Date

Ever trust an expiry date only to find the food has gone bad way sooner? 

Sometimes, even if your fridge door seems shut and the settings look fine, food can spoil unexpectedly. 

That carton of milk with a week left before it expires? It could turn sour and start smelling up your fridge, making you think something died in there!

  • Quick Fix: Don’t just rely on dates – use your nose and eyes too. Check your food regularly for any signs of spoilage and toss anything that smells off.

SEE ALSO: Does leaving your fridge door open overnight damage it? (what really happens)

Innocently Smelly Food

Do you enjoy eating pungent food? Don’t be surprised if the smell starts spreading inside your fridge when you don’t store it properly!

Foods like fish, onions, or kimchi naturally pack a potent smell that can take over your fridge, even if they’re not spoiled. 

We know, we can’t get enough of them either! But if you want to keep your fridge smelling like, well, a fridge, make sure to be wary when storing smelly food items.

  • Quick Fix: Keep strong-smelling items in airtight containers to stop their odours from taking over. Placing a cup of bicarbonate of soda in your fridge to soak up any stray smells will also help!

Neglected Trays, Bins, And Filters

Fridges have many nooks and crannies, and you may not be cleaning them enough. 

Drip pans and other removable trays in your fridge catch condensation and food particles, but if they aren’t cleaned regularly, they can become a breeding place for bacteria and mould!

If your fridge has a filter, it could also be clogged with dust and dirt, trapping bad smells inside!

  • Quick Fix: Set a reminder to wash these components now and then. For removable parts, just take them out, scrub them down with soapy water, and make sure they’re dry before putting them back. If you’re not sure how to do it safely, check the manual or call in a pro!

The Ultimate Solution? A Regular Deep Clean!

When all else fails and your fridge still smells off, it might be time for a thorough deep clean. 

This not only helps eliminate odours but also improves your fridge’s efficiency and lifespan. 

Pull everything out, unplug, and go to town with soapy water and a sponge. Make it a spa day for your fridge – after all, it works hard to keep your food fresh.

person arranging stuff in the fridge

Of course, make sure to read the manual to avoid damaging your appliance!

And there you have it! Hopefully, these tips will help you say goodbye to bad smells and hello to a fresher, cleaner fridge. 

Got any other tips or want to share your own fridge cleaning victories? Let us know in the comments!

SEE ALSO: Fridge Leaking Brown Liquid? (here’s why & what to do)

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