How to Get Rid of Rotten Milk Odor

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Milk may build strong bones, but it can also build an intensely sour smell when it spoils. Once a milk product goes bad, the nose-wrinkling stench can permeate the entire area. Sour milk smells are commonly encountered in refrigerators or in the kitchen, but can also be found in carpet and upholstery if milk was spilled and not cleaned up. Take steps to get rid of the rotten milk odor to freshen up your fridge, room or car.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponges and rags
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Remove the source of the odor. In your refrigerator, discard milk, cream or other liquid dairy products that may be spoiled. In dishes or cups, empty out the spoiled milk product. In carpet or upholstery, use paper towels to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Removing the source of the smell will immediately help diminish the strength of the odor.

  • Freshen the fridge if milk has spoiled and soured your fridge's air. Discard food that may have absorbed the smell and now emit it themselves, including bread and eggs. Wipe down any fridge surfaces that may have been splashed with spoiled milk. Place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb any remaining odors and instantly freshen the appliance's air.

  • Scrub any dishes that held spoiled milk and now smell like rotten dairy. Dishes made of nonporous material such as glass or ceramic should be scrubbed with standard dish soap under warm water. Rinse and dry. Porous dishes, such as those made of plastic, may need to be soaked in hot water. If odors persist in the plastic, soak for 15 minutes in white vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer. After soaking, scrub the plastic with dish soap and rinse.

  • Clean carpet and upholstery if milk has spilled on it and since soured. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the milk spot. Allow the baking soda to sit on the spot for 30 minutes. The powder will absorb the rotten milk odor. Vacuum the baking soda away.

  • Douse the carpet or upholstery with white vinegar if odor remains. This may occur if the spill was not immediately wiped and the spoiled milk soaked deep into the fabric's fibers. Let the upholstery or carpet soak in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Sprinkle baking soda over the wet area and scrub with a sponge. Wipe with a sponge dipped in fresh water to rinse.

Tips & Warnings

  • Commercial products such as Febreze can efficiently eliminate a sour milk odor. Apply to the odor-causing area according to the product's specific guidelines, as instructions vary by manufacturer. Exercise caution when using such solutions near food preparation areas, as not all odor-removing products are food-safe.

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