NC State Extension Publications


After your power has been restored, you will need to clean and deodorize your refrigerator and/or freezer. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Remove all drawers, racks, and shelves. Wash them in soapy water and rinse in clear water. Then wipe them down with a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
  • Wash the inside of the appliance with a mixture of 1 cup of baking soda to a gallon of warm water.
  • Turn on the appliance and fill it with clean, crumpled newspaper that has been sprinkled with water.
  • Continue to run the appliance for several days, changing newspapers every other day.
  • Once refrigerator odor has been significantly reduced, place an open box of baking soda inside, and start using your refrigerator again.

In some cases, the odor may actually be in the insulation. If this is the case, the refrigerator or freezer odors can be more difficult or perhaps impossible to remove. If the insulation panels are removable, you can dismantle and deodorize or replace the insulation. Before doing so, check the owner's manual for the appliance and review the manufacturers instructions on how to safely remove the panels.

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For more information on disaster preparedness and recovery visit the NC Disaster Information Center.

Prepared by NC State Extension specialists.

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Publication date: June 5, 2014
Revised: March 27, 2024

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