Remember that pizza you had delivered last week? It was a large on sale and you were unable to eat every slice? Most likely you put the leftover pizza in the refrigerator and forgot about it. Then probably a couple of days later you were snooping around the fridge for something to eat when you spotted that Pizza box on the bottom shelf. Most likely you pulled it out hoping you would be able to resurrect a slice. But as you suspected the pizza was dry and unappealing looking.
Photo of a freezer with newspaper inside for odor control
At that point the pizza was probably still safe to eat, but who would want to. Now ask yourself if the leftover pizza is dry, what happened to the moisture that was in it? The answer is that the moisture from the pizza slice sublimated to the surface and became a gas. A process we normally call evaporation. The bad news is when the moisture molecules left the pizza it picked up the smells from the pepperoni and anchovies and whatever else you normally order on your pizza. I used pizza as an example but the fact is all foods in a refrigerator will eventually dry out via the process of evaporation.
So where did that odor filled vapor go? As the fan in the freezer moves the air in the refrigerator some of it will be deposited onto the evaporator and get washed down the drain line during the defrost cycle. 100% of the air in a refrigerator circulates through the evaporator located in the freezer. After that the odor filled vapor gets pushed around the refrigerator as cold air. As the air moves around, a percentage of the odor causing molecules get stuck behind the scenes in the insulation and plastic areas of the air flow channels that you cannot see. And even if you were a refrigerator serviceman you would not be able to clean these areas. So what’s the answer?
Well believe it or not if you have a smelly fridge, the best way to remove refrigerator odor is to use newspaper.
That’s right newspaper. It’s right there next to the trash can on it’s way to the recycle bin. Before you pitch it in the recycle bin put some in the fridge because newspaper acts like a thirsty sponge to odor laden molecules floating around your refrigerator. Simply take one section of the newspaper and crunch it up into a ball then put it in your freezer. Leave the newspaper in the freezer overnight and give it the sniff test the next day. You will be amazed at the amount of odor that is been absorbed by the newspaper. By the way you only need to put newspaper in the freezer section to keep your fridge fresh.
More information at United Dallas Appliance Repair