The inside of a refrigerator can become a massive petri dish for stains, odors and, in some cases, unidentifiable sticky material from dinners long past. If you arm yourself with the right solutions, you can tackle the inside of your refrigerator and leave it looking clean and smelling fresh.
Baking soda is an effective multipurpose cleaner and is especially useful for the refrigerator because it deodorizes as it cleans. "Good Housekeeping" magazine recommends mixing 4 tbsp. baking soda with 1 quart water. Apply the solution to a soft cloth, and then go to work scrubbing the inside of the refrigerator. Use a second cloth, dampened with water, to rinse. As a preventative measure against odors, always keep an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator.
Like baking soda, lemon juice can deodorize foul-smelling refrigerators, and the citric acid is useful for breaking up difficult stains, spills and residue. Dampen a soft cloth with full-strength lemon juice -- do not add water -- and wipe down the inside of your fridge. Rather than rinsing, just allow the lemon scent to linger and leave your refrigerator smelling fresh.
If an unpleasant odor lingers after you have scrubbed the entire inside of the refrigerator, try wiping it down with a soft cloth dampened with vanilla extract. Apply it directly to a cloth, and go over the walls, shelves and drawers. Do not rinse, but allow the extract to deodorize continuously. "Reader's Digest" magazine also recommends soaking a cotton ball in vanilla extract and leaving it inside the refrigerator.
Like lemon juice, tomato juice is an effective cleaner because of the acids it contains. In addition to citric acid, tomato juice has malic acid, which provides more cleaning and deodorizing punch. Using tomato juice will require some elbow grease, though, because after dampening a cloth with undiluted tomato juice and scrubbing the interior of the fridge, you will need to go over it with hot, soapy water to remove the tomato residue. Finally, use a water-dampened cloth to remove the detergent from the refrigerator.
Because acids prove very effective in cleaning and deodorizing refrigerators, you should add acetic acid to the list, as well. You can find a safe concentration of acetic acid in household white vinegar, which is sometimes labeled as distilled vinegar. Mix vinegar and warm water together in equal parts. Dip a sponge in the solution, and go over the inside of the refrigerator.