Forget Baking Soda—Coffee Grounds Are More Effective at Getting Rid of Weird Fridge Smells

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

coffee grounds

So, you went out of town and totally forgot that carton of milk in the back of your fridge (ugh, guilty). Or you thought those leftovers were totally fine for a few more days…until you walked into the kitchen and realized they absolutely, definitely were not. Even after you’ve thrown everything out and have deep-cleaned the disaster zone formerly known as your refrigerator, those unpleasant scents can linger for a while. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to hold your breath when you grab a glass of water for the next week. In fact, there’s an easy fix, and—best of all—it’s a great way to recycle used coffee grounds.

Seriously. Place a small bowl of coffee grounds on a shelf in your refrigerator, and they’ll absorb the odor, just like baking soda does. But unlike baking soda (and what makes us love this five-minute hack even more) is that it adds subtle notes of java to the air, making your morning stare-into-the-fridge-as-I-decide-what’s-for-breakfast routine all the more pleasant. That’s because coffee contains nitrogen, which is effective at neutralizing odors.

If you’re worried about having an open bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge (what if someone tips it over, and then you have another mess to deal with?!), you can always store the grounds in a nylon stocking, according to Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean.

 However you choose to store the grounds, just be sure to swap them out every couple of months to keep your fridge smelling fresh year-round. You may find you like the hack so much you start putting little makeshift coffee sachets everywhere (gym bags! Drawers! Car consoles!), like the folks at El Dorado Coffee Roasters do.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...