We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Secret to a Fresh-Smelling Fridge Is Next to Your Grill

A woman looking in a refrigerator and holding her nose.

Whether it’s chopped onions or leftovers, you’ve likely opened your fridge to discover a less-than-pleasant scent. You’ve also likely tried placing baking soda inside to dissolve it. Turns out, though, charcoal might be more effective at smell absorption.

Both charcoal briquettes (the same kind you’d use for a cookout) or activated charcoal pellets, which you can find at pet stores, trap odors better than baking soda.

While baking soda is effective thanks to its ability to absorb acidic molecules, not all foods fall into that category. Therefore, it can’t take care of every smell in your fridge. Charcoal, on the other hand, is more porous, which provides it with more places to trap and contain odors.

Plus, charcoal is made of carbon, which does absorb all smells, unlike baking soda. No matter how odd this might seem, if you stick a small brick of charcoal or a few pellets in your fridge, you’ll have more luck getting rid of pesky food smells.

America’s Test Kitchen tried this trick. For a month, testers were asked to investigate the scents of two different refrigerators—one had baking soda inside and the other had charcoal. During that time, smelly items in the fridges (ranging from onions to tuna fish) were swapped out. However, testers continued to choose the fridge with the charcoal as the least smelly.

So, next time your fridge starts to smell a bit ripe, just grab some charcoal! Of course, giving it a good deep clean wouldn’t hurt either.

[Via America’s Test Kitchen]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?