4 Home Remedies To Keep RV Fridge From Smelling Bad

Most people that travel in a motorhome, RV, or caravan, likely stock their refrigerator with a variety of goods. When long-term travel comes into play, how do you keep your fridge from smelling?

To keep your RV fridge from smelling, you will need to routinely clean it with white vinegar, bleach water, or a dawn dish soap solution. Furthermore, you could use natural deodorizers such as coffee grounds, baking soda, and vanilla extract.

The root cause might also be the certain types of food you put in your fridge, as well as your organizational skills. As you will see, each plays a vital role in keeping your RV fridge smelling great.

Ways to Keep Your RV Fridge from Smelling

There are a handful of steps you can follow to keep your RV fridge smelling great at all times. The best thing to do is to make a list of what actions you have taken to narrow the source of the smell.

Deep Clean

Depending on how bad the smell is might indicate how bad you need to clean your RV fridge. The good thing is, you might already have a few ingredients needed to make it work.

Make sure your fridge and freezer have completely thawed and your food is safely stored elsewhere. The best and safest cleaners are when you use a solution that is made from baking soda, bleach, or dawn dish soap.

Go easy on the bleach, as this is the most potent one and could damage rubber seals if you use too much. Do not forget to clean those seals on your fridge and freezer, as smells and bacteria can be trapped here.

Check Temperature Settings

If you often experience bad smells from your RV fridge after cleaning, your temperature settings might be off. If you are storing meats or cheeses that seem to give off a funky smell that is not normal, it is important to check your temperature.

If you notice water droplets forming towards the back of the fridge, it is too warm inside. You should also check the seals along the door to ensure no air is leaking out.

It is best to have a thermometer to measure the temperature. This way you can see if you need to adjust your temperature settings to a colder climate. and to learn exactly what temperature you should keep your RV fridge and freezer at you should check out my other article here.

Use Natural Deodorants

While deep cleaning and checking the temperature are essential, you could try using a natural deodorant. The good news is that these are handy when you need a break from the smell but ultimately will not fix the solution in the long run.

Coffee Grounds

If you drink coffee, do not throw away your grounds. Simply save them in a bowl and keep them in your fridge for a day or two.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has a variety of excellent uses. Using it as a cleaner and deodorant is two reasons why you should keep some on hand.


Plain dry oats can be found in many pantries as a breakfast item or snack. In addition, a bowl of dried oats can also help with smells in your RV fridge.

Vanilla Extract 

Another baking item that can help with smells is vanilla extract. A few drops in something like a bottle cap towards the back of your RV fridge can do wonders.

Organization Skills Could Affect Fridge Smells

The types of food and how you store it in your RV fridge make a huge difference. Most people might underestimate certain foods’ odor and therefore could affect your nostrils after a few days.

Fruits and Veggies

If you have a humidity setting on your RV fridge, then you might want to consider putting it on high for your leafy greens. For fruits and other types of vegetables, you should use a dryer setting to slowly release humidity.

Consider storing these fruits or vegetables in the lower drawers or sections that are separated. This will keep smells to a minimum and keep your produce from climate change.

For produce that typically grows in warmer climates, such as avocados, oranges, and cucumbers, these do best on the counter. This will save space in your fridge and not add a smell.

Dairy and Meat Products

You want to store dairy products on the lower shelves of your RV fridge towards the back. This is the coldest section of the fridge, so foods that spoil quickly in warmer temps must be kept here.

In addition, you may want to store meats that need to be cooked here too. Wrapping them in additional freezer wrap or plastic bags may help with natural odors.

Door Racks

The warmest part of the fridge is the door rack. If you place food items that need to be cooked, you risk ruining the food before you even get to cook it which leads to bad smells.

No food should be stored in the door rack unless it is quick food items such as jerky. Drinks, such as water, soda, or some juice can be placed here.

Is Your Freezer to Blame?

If you have deep-cleaned your fridge, do not skip cleaning the freezer. Since you are deep cleaning one, you might as well clean the other as a rule of thumb.

Remove Ice

When ice builds up on the back wall, it can retain bad smells. You should also check the ice maker, if applicable, or the ice you have stored. Since you already have the freezer thawed, it is best to do a quick wipe-down of everything.

Remove Freezer-Burned Foods

Foods that are freezer-burned need to be discarded as soon as possible. No reason to store foods that you are not going to eat anyway.

You should properly store your foods in a freezer-safe container or freezer wrap. Be sure to write a date on when you stored it so that you lessen the risk of freezer burn and eat it by an appropriate date.

Overfilling Freezer

Putting too many foods or items in your freezer can be harmful to the health of your fridge. It will cause it to work harder than it needs to, as well as improperly cool down food.

Rikard Adamsson

Hello! My name is Rikard Adamsson; I am the creator of Motorhomeking.com. I live full-time in my motorhome, and right now, I am traveling through Europe the right way, without campsites; yes, wild camping and being off the grid works excellent even in a real beauty from 1996. I have done a lot of rebuilding and upgrades. I am happy to share my experiences with everything regarding motorhomes, RVs, or caravans with you here at motorhomeking.com.

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