So, you went out of town and totally forgot that carton of milk in the back of your fridge (ugh, guilty). Or you thought those leftovers were totally fine for a few more days…until you walked into the kitchen and realized they absolutely, definitely were not. Even after you’ve thrown everything out and have deep-cleaned the disaster zone formerly known as your refrigerator, those unpleasant scents can linger for a while. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to hold your breath when you grab a glass of water for the next week. In fact, there’s an easy fix, and—best of all—it’s a great way to recycle used coffee grounds.
Seriously. Place a small bowl of coffee grounds on a shelf in your refrigerator, and they’ll absorb the odor, just like baking soda does. But unlike baking soda (and what makes us love this five-minute hack even more) is that it adds subtle notes of java to the air, making your morning stare-into-the-fridge-as-I-decide-what’s-for-breakfast routine all the more pleasant. That’s because coffee contains nitrogen, which is effective at neutralizing odors.
If you’re worried about having an open bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge (what if someone tips it over, and then you have another mess to deal with?!), you can always store the grounds in a nylon stocking, according to Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean.
However you choose to store the grounds, just be sure to swap them out every couple of months to keep your fridge smelling fresh year-round. You may find you like the hack so much you start putting little makeshift coffee sachets everywhere (gym bags! Drawers! Car consoles!), like the folks at El Dorado Coffee Roasters do.