Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Tips for getting a stinky RV fridge smelling new again

To avoid a stinky RV fridge, when unplugging your RV from power and turning off the propane to your fridge it is important to remove all food, wash and dry out the refrigerator and freezer, and leave the door ajar. This is important for winterizing your RV or preparing it for storage, but it’s also important to do if you plan on selling your RV.

What can you do if you didn’t properly prepare the fridge before storage or something really stinky has penetrated its walls? What can help get rid of those terrible scents?

Here are some things you probably have on hand that will help get rid of fridge smells:

  • Coffee beans or ground coffee is widely used to soak up the smell. You can sprinkle the beans or grounds in and later vacuum them out, or you can lay them on newspaper for a few days for easy cleanup.
  • Cut lemon or peeled onion has worked for some folks.
  • Bleach or vinegar can kill the smell. Mix lemon with vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it down. Let it sit awhile before washing it away.
  • Kitty litter absorbs odors. Try leaving it in for a week and then wash out the fridge.
  • Baking soda and charcoal briquettes are also popular choices. Change them out every day and in a week odors should be gone. These bamboo and charcoal packs are the most popular fridge deodorizer on Amazon, check them out. Lots of people used wadded newspaper and charcoal to absorb odor.
  • I did read about putting a bowl of RV toilet deodorizer inside fridges, but I’m not recommending this technique nor am I sure I would be desperate enough to try it. But perhaps in lieu of a new refrigerator it would be worth a try if nothing else works.

It is also important to clean the seal on the door well. Smells and other nasty stuff can linger there. That vinegar and lemon spray mentioned above will come in handy here.


Defrosting the RV freezer/fridge correctly


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. If you had meat thaw and the “meat juice” leaked, then hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle will help neutralize and disinfect your fridge. It will seep into the cracks and kill bacteria and the smell. It is pretty safe but I always wipe down afterwards with plain water.

  2. As an old time refrigeration guy — Crumpled up newspaper in a closed reefer for a week will do the best…. I have removed rotten meat smells this way….


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