How to Deodorize RV Refrigerator

How to Deodorize RV Refrigerator
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Deodorize your RV refrigerator effectively to tackle unpleasant odors with simple, effective methods.

A smelly refrigerator in your RV can be a nuisance, but there are ways to solve the problem. This guide will tell you how to clean and deodorize your RV refrigerator using simple, practical tips to keep it fresh and clean.

Fellow RVers frequently recommend using charcoal briquettes and wadded-up newspapers to deodorize RV refrigerators. These materials are highly effective at absorbing and neutralizing unpleasant smells. Charcoal, with its porous structure, captures and holds odor-causing molecules, while newspapers, with their absorbent fibers, help to soak up moisture and odors. Combined, these methods provide a powerful and natural solution for maintaining a fresh-smelling RV refrigerator.

Why Charcoal and Newspaper Work

Charcoal Briquettes:

Charcoal is highly porous and has a large surface area, making it effective at adsorbing odor-causing molecules. Here’s how it works:

Adsorption: The charcoal briquettes trap and hold volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other odor-causing molecules on their surface. This process is known as adsorption (not absorption), where molecules adhere to the surface of the charcoal.
Continuous Action: As air circulates around the charcoal, more odor molecules are captured, gradually reducing the refrigerator’s overall odor.

Wadded-up Newspapers:

Newspaper also helps absorb odors, though it is less effective than charcoal. Its primary use is to absorb moisture. Here’s how it works:

  • Absorption: The porous nature of the newspaper fibers allows them to absorb moisture along with some odor molecules.
  • Air Circulation: Wadding up the newspaper increases its surface area, allowing it to interact more with the air inside the refrigerator, capturing more odor particles.

Step 1: Clean the Refrigerator Thoroughly

Before you start to deodorize your RV refrigerator it’s crucial to clean your refrigerator thoroughly. This helps remove any lingering food particles and bacteria that may be causing the odor. The best household cleaner for this task is a vinegar and water solution.

  • Prepare the Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Remove All Items: Remove everything from the refrigerator. Remove shelves and drawers if possible.
  • Soak Removable Parts: Soak shelves and drawers in a sink filled with warm, soapy water. If possible, set these sites outside in the sun to dry. Sunlight is a good germ killer.
  • Spray and Clean: Spray all surfaces inside the refrigerator, including shelves, walls, and door seals, and let the solution sit for a few minutes.
  • Scrub: Use a sponge or cloth to scrub the surfaces, focusing on any areas with stubborn stains or residue.
  • Rinse and Dry: Wipe down the surfaces with a cloth dampened with clean water to remove any remaining vinegar solution. Dry all surfaces with a clean towel to prevent moisture buildup.

Step 2: Deodorize RV Refrigerator with Charcoal

After cleaning, it’s time to deodorize your RV refrigerator using charcoal briquettes. Here’s how:

  • Break the Briquettes: Place 4 to 6 briquettes in a paper or plastic bag and break them into smaller pieces to increase their surface area for better adsorption. You don’t have to pulverize them. The bag is for containment and easy and clean handling.
  • Contain the Pieces: Place the broken pieces in shallow bowls or trays.
  • Distribute Evenly: Place the bowls or trays on different shelves inside the refrigerator.
  • Monitor and Replace: Check the charcoal every few days. If the odor persists or the charcoal seems saturated, replace them with new pieces.

Step 3: Absorb Moisture with Wadded-Up Newspapers

Wadded-up newspaper can also help absorb moisture in your refrigerator. Here’s how to use it effectively:

Wad Up Newspaper: Take several sheets of newspaper and wad them up loosely.

Place Throughout: Place the wadded-up newspapers throughout the refrigerator.

Change Regularly: Replace the newspapers every two days to ensure they continue absorbing odors effectively.

Step 4: Enhance Air Circulation

Camco RV Fridge Fan

This is optional, but using a battery-powered refrigerator fan can help speed up the deodorizing process by circulating air inside the refrigerator. This helps the charcoal briquettes and newspapers absorb odors more efficiently.

I have read comments and reviews saying the little battery-powered fans are worthless because they hardly move any air. The fan is meant to circulate the air inside a closed refrigerator gently, and it does that well. The fan is primarily used in hot climates to circulate air through the cooling fins.

Fan Placement: Place the fan in a central location within the refrigerator for best air circulation.

Deodorize RV Refrigerator: Additional Tips

  • Baking Soda: To help absorb odors, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator. Replace the box every three months to deodorize RV refrigerator.
  • Regular Inspection: Routinely check for expired or spoiled food and remove it promptly to prevent odors from developing.
  • Proper Storage: Use airtight containers to store strong-smelling foods like cheese or leftovers to contain their odors.
  • Temperature Check: Ensure your refrigerator is set to the correct temperature (typically between 35°F and 38°F) to keep food fresh longer and minimize odors.

More RV Refrigerator Tips

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RV Refrigerator: Propane or Electric?

Traveling with Your RV Refrigerator On or Off?

RV Refrigerators: How Level is Level Enough

Deodorizing your RV refrigerator doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By cleaning thoroughly and using effective methods like charcoal briquettes, wadded-up newspapers, and improved air circulation, you can keep your fridge smelling fresh and clean.

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