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How to Clean My Refrigerator Without Chemicals

Updated on December 24, 2012

Those Forgotten Left Over Foods Can Really Stink up the Refrigerator and Freezer!

With the best intentions we pack away left over food that remains at the end of a delicious meal. Three weeks later when rummaging through for a snack, we just can't figure out why the fridge reeks! Those little spills and old vegetables can make quite a fuss after a few weeks of neglect. Nothing screams "clean me" louder than aged cheeses or a milk spill that goes unnoticed. Here are a few tips for rescuing your by "Green Cleaning the Refrigerator and Freezer" from the smells bad blues!

Spills and over loading your refrigerator can lead to bad smells if not cleaned properly with essential oils!
Spills and over loading your refrigerator can lead to bad smells if not cleaned properly with essential oils! | Source

That Not So Friendly Freezer Fragrance

When Your Freezer needs a good cleaning this is the best way to remedy the problem:

  1. Remove and place all contents in a cooler full of ice temporarily.
  2. Turn the temperature on the freezer side of the unit down. (If yours doesn't have a separate temperature control, simply leave the freezer door open for about 5 minutes.)
  3. Wipe down the interior of freezer, rinse thoroughly, replace food items, turn temperature back up.

Essential Oil Freezer Cleaning Recipe:

  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 7 drops eucalyptus essential oil

NOTE: For Refrigerator Cleaning use the same Cleaning recipe, just increase the essential oil amount to 10 drops.

Maintaining Freezer and Refrigerator Freshness Recipe

If simply maintaining a fresh aroma in the refrigerator is your goal, give one of these Essential Oil scented Recipes a try!

A Little Bit of Joe Goes a Long Way! (For those who love the smell of coffee)

  • ½ cup fresh-ground coffee beans
  • 8 drops essential oil (vanilla bean, mace, or ginger are great companion fragrances with coffee)

If Vanilla is more Your Style, place a small bowl in the fridge containing this recipe:

  • 2-oz Vanilla extract (imitation extracts even works with this aroma)
  • 3 drops Lemon Essential oil (adding lemon makes the fridge smell like 50/50 ice-cream bars!)

Make an Essential Oils Starter Kit

If you're just starting out and don't really have any essential oils on hand, then you may need a few tips on how to get started; you know, which essential oils to get first that are also painless on the pocketbook. A sort of essential essentials list. The chart below will help you get going in no time at all!

Essential Oils and Herbs Starter Kit Chart

(click column header to sort results)
Lemon balm
Sweet orange
Tea tree
*Handle cautiously, this essential oil can be irritating to the skin, nose, and eyes of some people.

What Do You Think About Green Cleaning?

Do You Use Essential Oils as Cleaning Agents?

See results

Have Suborn Odors in the Refrigerator? Try one of these Recipes!


Use the fresh herbs that are in bloom in your garden. Just cut a few stems of a fragrant rich plant, like sage, mint, or rosemary. Tie the sprigs together and hang them from a rack in the fridge. These super fresh herbs will keep things smelling great fro about 2 and a half weeks.


Place lining on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator that has been sprinkled with 10 - 15 drops of essential oils like, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or a sweet orange/tangerine. Take this out and replace it after 2 or 3 days.


A fresh slice of bread placed on a saucer can absorb several odors from your fridge. For a very slight fragrance you can add 2 - 4 drops of an essential oil scent you like best.

Pure Essential Oils for Cleaning
Pure Essential Oils for Cleaning | Source

Essential Oil Cleaning and Safety

  1. Essential oils are a highly concentrated form of volatile oils extracted from plants and should always be used externally, NEVER internally.
  2. A few drops of essential oil is equal to 30 to 40 cups of herbal tea.
  3. Use extra caution when using food-related oils; citrus oils, in point, can be a tempting treat to a young child or pet who may think it is something tasty to eat.
  4. Essential oils can be irritating to sensitive skin.

A good practice to follow is, be just as safe when handling "herbs and essential oil cleaning recipes" as with those store bought chemical formulas. Keep out of reach of children and away from pets!

This article and all of its content is copyright protected ©2011 K9keystrokes

Comments for "Green Cleaning Refrigerator and Freezer Smells, an Essential Guide"

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  • nifwlseirff profile image

    Kymberly Fergusson 6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

    Vanilla essence (alcohol based) is also a wonderful scent to add when cleaning fridges with the bicarbonate soda and water solution. For me, in a refridgerator it smells more 'foody' and homely than eucalyptus, although I love eucalyptus on my floors and in the bathroom!

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    livelonger~ A special treat to find you here today! You are so right, those almost invisible spills bring stealthy smells. Once my nephew had gone fishing and caught several tiny sunfish, brought them home, and stored them in my sister-in-laws fridge without cleaning them. About a week later was when we discovered the beauty of a tidy fridge as well as the strength of essential oils! He was around 11 then, he's 17 now.

    Thanks so much for making it by for a little Green Cleaning!

    HubHugs and Shalom, my friend~


  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Flora~ I enjoy lemon scented anything, it just smells so fresh and clean. Nice to see you today!



  • livelonger profile image

    Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

    Great stuff, K9KS! For some reason, we've been able to avoid the "stinky freezer and refrigerator" phenomenon, but I am intimately aware of the problem, having smelled fridges that stunk like something died in them. I think you're spot on that nearly-invisible spills & stains were the culprit. I do like the idea of using baking soda & some essential oil to clean, and coffee beans to maintain a nice smell.

    Thank you, HubHugs, and Shalom, my friend!

  • FloraBreenRobison profile image

    FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

    I usually try to pick either scentless options or lemon-scented options.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone~ I have also read the many formulas for deodorizing our fridge and freezers. But the added fragrance and helpful essential oils attributes (antibacterial, anti-fugal, antibiotic, and antiviral)make me feel really good about adding them into the recipes. In the colder months when the flu and common cold are lingering on every doorknob and light switch, I keep telling myself the oils have it under control! I sure am thrilled to see you in the HubHood this morning! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Big Thanksgiving-week HubHugs~


  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Denise~ Glad to hear you're thinking about using the green cleaning recipes here! The fun part is finding a scent (or blend of scents) that are appealing to you. When I'm trying to cut back on my calorie intake, I will use essential oils that DO NOT smell good to me in the fridge to discourage those midnight binges. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.



  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    All of the other fridge deodorizing solutions I've read about in the past involve only scentless solutions, so I had no idea that one even had the OPTION to use lovely essential oils! How cool!!

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

    HA! I never thought to put the aromatherapy oils in the mixture. Cool! I like your tips. :) I took your poll-I'm going to start using them in the fridge. Rated it up!