Skip to main content
Product Help | KitchenAid

Removing and Preventing Odors

Removing and Preventing Odors in KitchenAid Refrigerators

There are things you can do to help prevent odors and eliminate odors from your refrigerator.  If you do have odors in your refrigerator there are a couple of things you can do as well. Please see the basic odor removal process or the stubborn odor removal process below. 

Preventing odors: 

  • Keep foods tightly wrapped or covered; this also helps keep food from drying out
  • Wipe spills up immediately
  • Clean both sections about once a month
  • Keeping the Refrigerator and Freezer well organized, including crisper drawers, will help you manage freshness levels. 
  • Discard any spoiled or rotten food.
  • Routinely clean under the refrigerator, removing any dirt or items that may have gotten trapped. 
  • Some models come with an air filter that is 15 times more powerful than baking soda at reducing common food odors inside the refrigerator. If your refrigerator has an air filter, regularly replace it according to the indicator tab. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about using the air filter

Basic Odor Removal

  1. Remove all food
    • Check for any spoiled or rotten items
    • Check for items that may not have been sealed properly when they were stored.
    • Check for any items that may have spilled or leaked
  2. Unplug the refrigerator or disconnect the power.
  3. Remove all removable parts. This includes all crisper drawers, bins, and shelves. 
    • Hand wash, rinse, and dry
  4. Clean all interior walls and the bottom of the refrigerator
    • Hand wash, rinse, and dry
  5. Replace all removable parts
  6. Plug in the refrigerator or reconnect power. 

Additional Information

  • Always use a clean sponge or soft cloth when cleaning all surfaces.  
  • Use a cleaning solution of mild detergent and warm water.
  • Do not use abrasive or harsh cleaners such as window sprays, scouring cleansers, flammable fluids, cleaning waxes, concentrated detergents, bleaches, or cleansers containing petroleum products on plastic parts, interior and door liners, or gaskets.
  • Glass Shelves and Bins are dishwasher safe, but hand washing is primarily recommended.
    • Shelves with under-shelf LED lights are NOT dishwasher safe
    • Place Shelves and Bins on the top rack of the dishwasher
    • Make sure the shelves and bins have come to room temperature before placing them in the dishwasher to avoid cracking and breaking

Stubborn Odor Removal

Only use this process if the above "Basic Odor Removal" process does not work. Depending on how strong the odor is, it may take several weeks for the odor to be eliminated. For best results, this process should be completed with an empty refrigerator. 

  1. Remove all removable parts. This includes all crisper drawers, bins, and shelves. 
    • Hand wash items in a cleaning solution made of 1 part vinegar and 1 part warm water
    • Rinse items in a solution made of 1 part lemon juice and 1 part warm water
    • Thoroughly dry all removable parts with a soft cloth
  2. Replace all removable parts
  3. Add activated charcoal
    • Place some activated charcoal in a paper bowl.
    • Place one paper bowl inside the freezer compartment and another one in the refrigerator compartment. For very strong and stubborn odors, multiple bowls can be added to each compartment.
  4. Add baking soda
    • Open two boxes of baking soda.
    • Place one box in the freezer compartment and the other in the refrigerator compartment. 
  5. Add newspaper
    • Take the newspaper and roll the pages in loose paper balls
    • Place a couple of newspaper balls on a paper plate. 
    • Add one drop of cooking vanilla to each newspaper ball
    • Place one paper plate on each shelf in the refrigerator and freezer section.
  6. Add a breath mint
    • Dampen a breath mint and place it on a paper plate
    • Place the plate on the center shelf of the refrigerator
  7. Plug in the refrigerator or reconnect power.  

If Odor Remains

Depending on how strong the odor or smell is, it may take several weeks or months for strong penetrating odors to dissipate. 

  1. Repeat the above process every week to every couple of weeks until the smell is gone or has dissipated.
  2. Continue changing out the charcoal, baking soda, and newspaper balls

If you would like to download or view product literature for your appliance, please visit our Manuals and Literature page.