The Vanilla Extract Tip To Get Your Fridge Smelling As Fresh As Ever

Has your fridge been smelling less than stellar lately? Maybe it just smells a bit musty and "off". Maybe it absolutely smells like something rotted in the back of the produce drawer. If the latter is the case, clean your fridge first. The Centers for Disease Control recommends simply cleaning your fridge with warm, soapy water — though you can also use a mixture of a tablespoon of bleach and a gallon of water if you feel the need to properly sanitize. Then move on to tackling that icky smell.

You don't need to run to the store to buy a specialty product, and you don't need to use the time-tested method of setting an open box of baking soda on the top shelf. While that will absorb odors, it will make things smell neutral, and you have the opportunity for your fridge to smell amazing. So reach into your pantry and grab a bottle of vanilla extract. Just pour a few drops of extract onto a cotton ball or round, and place the cotton in the back of your fridge. The next time you open your fridge, any icky, musty smells will be gone, replaced by a light vanilla aroma.

Other ways to use vanilla extract

Removing unwanted scents from your refrigerator is only one of the unconventional ways you can use vanilla extract. Beyond this fridge hack, you can also use vanilla extract as an insect deterrent. Just mix one tablespoon with water and spray it around your house. The mixture is also safe to use on skin to repel insects. If you like the way the extract makes your fridge smell, you can infuse your entire home with a similar scent, by using a cotton ball or Q-Tip to rub a little extract onto your lightbulbs (while they're turned off!). Want a big hit of a scent, fast? Use vanilla and other fragrant ingredients you likely have in your fridge or pantry, and create a simmer pot – a simmering pot of water filled with ingredients like vanilla, fruit, cinnamon, and other spices, which infuses your home with a quick, all-natural scent.

However you end up using your vanilla extract, whether in your favorite baking recipes or for one of these unconventional uses, make sure to store your vanilla extract properly, so it lasts as long as possible. A dark, cool spot is best; think the back of the pantry, away from any appliances or sunlight. Heat can cause vanilla extract to spoil quickly.