What to Do If Your Office Refrigerator Stinks

Your office’s break room should be a sanctuary, a safe place to decompress and relax during a busy day. The last thing anyone wants is to walk into that room and be assaulted by grotesque odors. But it can: Sometimes the office fridge can make a big stink. And nothing can run your lunch break faster than a smelly fridge.

At Quality Janitorial, we know how to keep your office clean from top to bottom. Here’s what you should do if your office refrigerator stinks or starts to stink.

Related: 5 Ways A Clean Office Improves Employee Productivity

Check The Dates

The first thing you should do if your office fridge stinks is to check its contents. If some food went bad in there, it could be the cause of the stench. Food going bad can pose a serious health risk: Over time spoiled food can develop mold or attract pests, which can spread illness out beyond the confines of the fridge.

Check anything with an expiration date on it and throw out anything that’s past its date. If most of the food in your fridge is in Tuperware or other containers people brought from home, you may have to “follow your nose” and throw out anything that smells wrong. If you haven’t already done so, make it a policy that all food and drinks stored in the fridge have a name and date attached to them. Keep a roll of masking tape or a stack of Post-It notes on hand so employees can tag their food.

Set a weekly clean-out task. Rotate the person who does it so everyone on staff feels responsible for the fridge. Seven days is a good limit to set on container food. If someone has let their food sit in the fridge for a week without touching it, get rid of it. There’s a chance it’s either already spoiled or on the verge of going bad.

Do the same thing with drinks that aren’t sealed. Cans and bottles that haven’t been opened will last for awhile. But milk and any open drink containers could become contaminated or spoiled over time, and should be cleaned out along with the expired food.

Wipe The Shelves

If the smell persists after you’ve taken out the expired food, you’ll want to wipe down your fridge. Unplug the fridge, empty it out completely and then remove all the shelves, drawers, and covers in the fridge. Mix together a solution of half warm water and half vinegar. Use a soft cloth to wipe down all these fridge parts with your solution. Let them air dry: The process should remove the vinegar smell.

Dust And Wipe The Fridge

After cleaning the shelves, drawers, and covers, you can move on to the fridge itself. Using the same water/vinegar solution, wipe down the outside of the fridge and the door seals. Clean out every crevice in your fridge. Wipe down the interior of the fridge as well: Make sure that you don’t miss a spot! Once that’s done, you should dust the back, top and bottom of your fridge. This will remove any dust and debris that could be blocking the fans.

Keeping your fans unblocked can keep your fridge from stinking up your office. The fans help circulate cold air inside the fridge, which can help keep musky odors from forming in there.

Let It Run

After you’ve done all this, plug the fridge back in, leave the doors open, and let it run for several minutes.This will increase its circulation. Put all the shelves and drawers back in place. Get two cookie pans and evenly spread baking soda across both pans. Place one sheet on the middle shelf in the fridge and place the other in the freezer. Close the doors.

Ideally you should leave the baking soda pans in your fridge for a few days. The baking soda will help neutralize any lingering odors in your fridge. Remove and discard the baking soda after a few days or after you’ve noticed there’s no more odor in your fridge.

Call For Help

When all else fails, seek out a professional. While these techniques should make most fridges musk-free, some odors can be caused by problems that can’t be fixed so easily.

Related: Top Cleaning Tips To Keep Your Office Healthy

For more cleaning tips or to learn more about Quality Janitorial Services, give us a call at 602-487-7068.

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