How Coffee Grounds Can Help Neutralize Fridge Odors

After whipping up a homemade café latte, you may think there is nothing else to do with your used coffee grounds but to throw them away. However, you may want to consider holding onto them in case of an odor emergency. When food spoils or spills in your refrigerator or freezer, it can leave behind a smell that lasts for days. Thankfully, that smell can be easily eliminated with a few bowls of coffee grounds.

Once your coffee grounds have served their initial purpose of creating a delicious beverage, let them sit out in a small bowl for a few hours so they can become completely dry. Then, set one bowl in your freezer and another in the fridge. You could also keep the grounds in small plastic containers, but just make sure that the grounds are exposed to the air. By the next day, you should notice that any unpleasant aroma has been replaced by the scintillating scent of coffee. Dropping in a bit of flavor extract, like vanilla or peppermint, will add a sweet-smelling boost to the grounds.

Coffee grounds have natural odor-eliminating properties

This hack works because the caffeine in coffee grounds contains nitrogen, which is well suited to absorb bad odors, particularly sulfuric smells like those from rotten eggs. In fact, a 2012 study from the City College of New York details how combining coffee grounds with carbon may be effective at eliminating strong odors from sewage systems. If coffee grounds can help knock out the smell of a sewer, they can definitely neutralize the smell of spoiled milk in your fridge.

You can use the grounds as a one-time trick to neutralize odors that occur suddenly, like spoiled food. Or, you can keep the grounds in the fridge or freezer for about a week to keep things smelling generally fresh. If you're leaving the house for a few days, it might be a good idea to leave some coffee grounds in the fridge to make sure you don't return to any pungent smells.

There are many surprising ways to utilize used coffee grounds, from keeping bugs at bay to exfoliating your skin. So, the next time you have some old grounds lying around, save them for a rainy day, or a smelly fridge.