Leave Your Fridge Smelling Pristine With A Fragrant Pantry Ingredient

There's nothing worse than opening the fridge and being met with a wave of "fridge smell," the unpleasant amalgamation of potato salad, prepped meats, and maybe a Styrofoam box of pizza leftovers. Thankfully, you can still avoid this situation with a simple trick. The only thing that stands between you and a divinely aromatic fridge is a DIY potpourri, and chances are you probably have everything you need lying around already.

You might have heard of folks popping a box of baking soda in the fridge to eliminate smells, and while this method will get the job done, it's merely a neutralizer and doesn't add anything exciting to the mix. That's where the vanilla extract comes in. To put this hack to use and have your fridge smelling great in no time, simply wet a few cotton balls with vanilla extract, place them on a small dish like a tea plate, and pop the dish in the fridge. That's it. If you're fresh out of vanilla extract, rest assured – you can whip up your own homemade version by combining vanilla beans and vodka. 

Vanilla extract to the rescue

It's no secret that humans are attracted or repelled by certain scents, and room fresheners exact a major psychophysiological influence on mood and stress levels. According to a study by Northwestern University, the olfactory areas are directly connected to the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for storing memory. In other words, there's a scientific reason why the scent of vanilla subliminally evokes fond feelings of Christmas morning, baking with grandma, or stopping by your favorite childhood bakery for a treat.

While vanilla boasts lots of benefits (like being naturally calming), the cotton ball method will work fine with any other flavored extract as well. Depending on your aromatic preference, give almond, lemon, peppermint, or rose extract a try. And don't just stop at your fridge. This technique can also be used in your pantry, kitchen cupboards, dresser drawers, school lockers, or even your car.