How To Clean A Smelly RV Refrigerator


If you have spent time in an RV, you know how quickly a fun trip can turn into a disgusting one when an RV refrigerator starts smelling bad. Much like the refrigerator in your house, an RV refrigerator can become smelly when food is left in it for too long. The difference is that an RV is a pretty confined space, so smells can get intense quickly.

To clean a smelly RV refrigerator, empty it of all food, drink, and condiments. Wash with soap and water, then proceed to odor removal. There are many products available to clean and deodorize an RV refrigerator. What you use will depend on your budget, what you have available, and your needs.

Cleaning an RV refrigerator may seem like a daunting (and pretty gross) task, but we are here to give you all the tips and information you need to get that refrigerator sparkling and smelling fresh again. Let’s dive into the world of the RV refrigerator and learn precisely how to make your next RV trip smell as good as it feels.

How To Clean An RV Refrigerator

The first step to getting rid of refrigerator odor is to get it clean. But the first step to getting your refrigerator clean is to clear or empty it out.

Clearing Out The RV Refrigerator

Use a cooler box and empty out all the food, drink, and condiments from the refrigerator. Place the goods that are likely to go off into the cooler box to avoid having any waste.

Remember that RV refrigerators have a lot of hidden pockets and places where food and crumbs can get stored and forgotten about. Be sure to check the entire refrigerator and empty every last item from it.

Once you have emptied the main food items, go back and empty all the crumbs and splashes from the refrigerator too. Those little bread crumbs that get into the tiniest places and dried-up splashes of ketchup can really add a foul odor to a refrigerator and an RV. Be sure to check the refrigerator for a drip pan too. These are designed to collect drips but tend to breed a host of bacteria, which can add to a nasty smell.

Cleaning The RV Refrigerator

Once you are sure that there is no more food, drink, or sauce left in your RV refrigerator, it’s time to get cleaning.

Begin with the removable shelves and doors of the refrigerator. Remove each one and give them a once over with hot, soapy water and a good rinse. If they are still smelly, change the water out and give them another wash with hot, soapy water.

 Once you are satisfied that they are clean, let the shelves and doors air dry while you tackle the refrigerator’s interior.

Moving to the body, or interior of the RV refrigerator, grab yourself a soft cloth or paper towels to continue your cleaning. Stay clear of sponges with abrasive edges, as this will scratch the interior of your refrigerator.

Give the refrigerator’s interior a clean with soapy water, but keep the water to a minimum. It is difficult to rinse the interior, so we would not want to make it overly wet. Be sure to clean in all the corners and creases to get every inch of dirt out.

When you have cleaned your RV refrigerator and are sure that it is sufficiently dry, it is time to move on to the smell-busting bit. Don’t forget to leave the door open on the fridge, as any residual moisture leftover from cleaning could eventually result in a mold issue.

How To Get Smells Out Of A Smelly RV Refrigerator

There are a few products we can use to get rid of bad smells from an RV refrigerator. Let’s start with the most simple and easy to use and work our way up to what the pros use.

Using Baking Soda To Get Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

Suppose you have washed your RV refrigerator interior a few times and have not noticed a marked improvement in the smell. In that case, it may be time to whip out some baking soda to help get the job done. The magic mixture is 1 cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of water.

Wipe the inside of your refrigerator with this solution and leave it to work for a few days. The baking soda will continue to soak up bad smells long after you’ve wiped the refrigerator down. After a few days, return to the refrigerator and rinse or wipe off

the baking soda, which may smell pretty bad by then.

Using Vinegar To Get Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

Another great product you can use to get rid of bad smells in your RV refrigerator is white vinegar. The magic mixture here is a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. Place it in a spray bottle and spray it inside your refrigerator. Once you have covered as much ground as possible, thoroughly wipe the refrigerator down.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

Who would have thought that this household staple could be used to clean a fridge? Wiping down the refrigerator with some good ole fashioned hydrogen peroxide may do the trick of removing smells from the unit. Simply pour some onto a soft cloth a wipe down the fridge and this may help to eliminate those nasty smells. Tip: Be sure to keep the hydrogen peroxide in its brown bottle or in a similar dark-colored bottle. Do not switch the liquid to a clear spray bottle as it will not work as effectively.

Using Newspaper To Get Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

Reading the newspaper may be a great way to pass a relaxing morning while on vacation with your RV, but did you know that it can also help you deal with those unpleasant odors that love to take over the refrigerator?

To get the best out of your newspaper, separate the sheets and crumple them into balls. Place the balls into the refrigerator and spray a little water onto them. Leave the balls in the refrigerator for a day or so. When it’s time to take the newspaper out, add a little vinegar and use them to wash your RV windows for a fantastic shine!

Using Fresh Coffee Grounds Or Oats To Get Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

You can use coffee grounds or oats to help remove bad smells from your RV refrigerator. Spread them on a plate or baking tray and place them in the refrigerator.

Leave them for a few hours or days, depending on how intense the odor is. When you remove them, the smell should have improved immensely.

Using Charcoal To Get Smells Out Of An RV Refrigerator

Activated charcoal is used for a variety of hobbies and functions. Many fish tanks have charcoal in the filter, for example. If you are keen to try activated charcoal to help with the bad smells coming from your RV refrigerator, you may want to buy it in bulk or get it from the marine section of your nearest convenience store. If you have been using charcoal for a barbeque, you may find that using 2 or 3 grilling briquettes will do the trick. If using grilling charcoal, do ensure that it has no lighter fluid or any other substances.

To get the best results from activated charcoal, grind it and spread it over a plate or baking tray, and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours or days, depending on your needs. The more surface area of charcoal you use, the more odor it will soak up.

For odor maintenance, try these charcoal deodorizer bags. These are attractive bags with activated charcoal inside, suitable for keeping odors to a minimum in your RV refrigerator. These bags are reusable for two years and may prove to be very handy! I recommend always keeping one of these charcoal bags in the RV fridge.

Hidden Places In An RV Refrigerator That Could Be Hiding Bad Smells

Because RV refrigerators are designed to hold as much as possible and be as effective as possible, they have a few hidden places that could add to the nasty smells you are experiencing.

  • Drip Pans: These are at the bottom of the refrigerator and are designed to catch drips from the body of the refrigerator. It’s a good idea to locate your drip pan and give it a good clean to get rid of dirt and foul odors.
  • Evaporator Coil and Fan: These are what keep your refrigerator cool. It’s a good idea to give these a clean if you have been noticing some less-than-enjoyable smells in your RV.
  • Rubber Seals: Lift up the seals that go around the refrigerator and give them a clean. Be careful not to puncture them, but use a soft cloth over a flat tool to get into the grooves under and on the seals.

In The End…

In the end, having an RV refrigerator that smells as fresh as a summer breeze may be as easy as using a few products that you already have in the pantry or near the barbeque. Once you have given the refrigerator an excellent clean and managed to get rid of the odors that were making you miserable, remember to maintain the refrigerator by cleaning it out regularly and keeping it in excellent condition. Happy camping!

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Eric

I have been camping most of my adult life and am passionate about having the best camping equipment as well as writing. Combine these two items and you have our site.

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