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How to get rid of rotten milk odor

Milk may build strong bones, but it can also build an intensely sour smell when it spoils. Once a milk product goes bad, the nose-wrinkling stench can permeate the entire area. Sour milk smells are commonly encountered in refrigerators or in the kitchen, but can also be found in carpet and upholstery if milk was spilt and not cleaned up. Take steps to get rid of the rotten milk odour to freshen up your fridge, room or car.

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  1. Remove the source of the odour. In your refrigerator, discard milk, cream or other liquid dairy products that may be spoiled. In dishes or cups, empty out the spoiled milk product. In carpet or upholstery, use paper towels to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Removing the source of the smell will immediately help diminish the strength of the odour.

  2. Freshen the fridge if milk has spoiled and soured your fridge's air. Discard food that may have absorbed the smell and now emit it themselves, including bread and eggs. Wipe down any fridge surfaces that may have been splashed with spoiled milk. Place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb any remaining odours and instantly freshen the appliance's air.

  3. Scrub any dishes that held spoiled milk and now smell like rotten dairy. Dishes made of nonporous material such as glass or ceramic should be scrubbed with standard dish soap under warm water. Rinse and dry. Porous dishes, such as those made of plastic, may need to be soaked in hot water. If odours persist in the plastic, soak for 15 minutes in white vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodoriser. After soaking, scrub the plastic with dish soap and rinse.

  4. Clean carpet and upholstery if milk has spilt on it and since soured. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the milk spot. Allow the baking soda to sit on the spot for 30 minutes. The powder will absorb the rotten milk odour. Vacuum the baking soda away.

  5. Douse the carpet or upholstery with white vinegar if odour remains. This may occur if the spill was not immediately wiped and the spoiled milk soaked deep into the fabric's fibres. Let the upholstery or carpet soak in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Sprinkle baking soda over the wet area and scrub with a sponge. Wipe with a sponge dipped in fresh water to rinse.

  6. Tip

    Commercial products such as Febreze can efficiently eliminate a sour milk odour. Apply to the odour-causing area according to the product's specific guidelines, as instructions vary by manufacturer. Exercise caution when using such solutions near food preparation areas, as not all odour-removing products are food-safe.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sponges and rags
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

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