About Refrigerator Deodorizers

Updated July 19, 2017

Many homeowners wonder how best to remove food smells and unpleasant odours from their refrigerators. With all the different products out there, what kind of deodoriser would work best for your refrigerator? Once you learn about different types of deodorisers and how they work, the decision can become a little easier.


Refrigerators often accumulate a number of food odours---which is inevitable, since so many different types of foods are kept inside them. Thus, the purpose of refrigerator deodorisers is to neutralise unpleasant smells within a fridge, either by absorbing the scents or by masking them with other scents. Deodorisers also work to prevent the build-up of such smells by freshening the air within the fridge continuously.


There are two type of fridge deodorisers: homemade and storebought. Homemade deodorisers are usually inexpensive and simple and are often (though not always) composed of baking soda. Usually, you can make such a deodorisers out of a recycled container and a certain amount of baking soda, then leave the container inside the refrigerator, often in a far corner or in the side door. Storebought deodorisers are more high-tech and often run on batteries. Some release small amounts of activated oxygen; others work like miniature fans to keep air circulating in the refrigerator. Some absorb smells by using absorbent materials like charcoal; they may either be electric devices or small pouches containing certain absorbent compounds.


Most homemade fridge deodorisers work by absorbing smells. Some homemakers swear by a carton of baking soda, claiming that placing one in the refrigerator is the cheapest and least "chemical" way of removing odours. Another popular homemade deodoriser is a crumpled up piece of newspaper that has been dampened and placed in the back of the fridge. Many people claim that the crumpled paper absorbs smells and can be thrown away the next day, leaving the fridge smelling clean and fresh. Activated charcoal-based deodorisers also work to absorb smells because charcoal has many tiny pores that trap airborne odour-causing molecules and remove them from the fridge. Charcoal is used for a variety of absorption purposes outside of deodorising, such as water filtration. Activated oxygen-based deodorisers work by pumping activated oxygen, which is heavier than normal oxygen, into the inside of a refrigerator. This oxygen falls to the bottom of the fridge and as it sinks, it oxidises those airborne odour-causing molecules and neutralises them. Air circulation devices are basically tiny fans that work to keep air circulating around the fridge. This ensures that smells are kept airborne and in motion, so that they can be flushed out and dispersed when the fridge is opened.


When looking to purchase a refrigerator deodoriser, you should take several things into consideration. Consider the price first. Homemade deodorisers are often less costly than storebought ones, because they utilise common household objects and materials and do not require batteries. However, storebought deodorisers are often more efficient at removing smells than homemade remedies. Some have claimed that baking soda contains very little absorbency, and is in fact much less potent than popularly believed. Storebought deodorisers are often well-tested and scientifically developed and it is simple to check online reviews for such products when looking for one that really works.


Many cleaning and deodorising products can be hazardous to indoor birds. The lungs of pet birds are very sensitive to a variety of chemicals and can be harmed if the bird accidentally inhales even the smallest amount of these substances. Before you use any such products, it is important to clear it with a veterinary expert. If you are unsure as to whether or not your deodorising product is safe for use around your indoor bird, remove the bird to a different location in the house, preferably a room not connected to the kitchen by any air vents.

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About the Author

A 2004 graduate of United World College of the American West in New Mexico and a 2008 graduate of Vassar College in New York, Philosophy Walker is a freelance writer and poet. She has published pieces in the "Los Angeles Times," the "Poughkeepsie Journal," and "Barron's Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges."