Sorry, baking soda.

By Flora Tsapovsky
April 23, 2021
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While the fridge will never be as pristine as your linen closet—hey, there's produce in there!—having it smell nice and fresh is a logical request. Up until now, the common way to deodorize a fridge has been a box of baking soda but, according to America's Test Kitchen, there's a new sheriff in town. Enter charcoal. In a month-long sniffing trial held by the kind people of ATK, charcoal beat baking soda in battling persistent fridge odors like tuna, onion, and Parmesan. 

Refrigerator Fruits and Vegetables with Cabinet Fronts
Credit: Getty/Karen Moskowitz

How did charcoal outperform the method we all know and love? Thanks to its unique structure and makeup; the pores trap odors perfectly, while carbon (the chemical element that's abundant in charcoal) absorbs bad-smelling particles.

What type of charcoal should you use to deodorize your fridge in trendy 2021 fashion? Look for either briquettes or pellets. In fact, you might already have some in your garage, stored away for the next grilling session. For a fancier look, you might want to consider a designated charcoal cube. Buy the charcoal in bulk, keep in a dry spot, and replace it whenever nasty smells make themselves known again.

For the best possible outcome, place about two cups of charcoal in an open plastic container and leave in the back of the fridge. Just let your kids know these are not chocolate treats you're hiding back there!