Recently, people on social media have been advising you to replace that box of bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda) in the back of your fridge with a roll of toilet paper.
Does this weird trick work? We asked kitchen and appliance experts to see what the pros had to say!
Why put toilet paper in the fridge?
Ruiz Asri, editor of Honest Food Talks, says toilet paper’s absorbency is behind this hack. “Moisture in the refrigerator often contributes to mildew and unpleasant odour,” Asri says. The toilet paper absorbs excess moisture, along with foul smells. References to toilet paper in the fridge can be found as far back as 2015. But its dedicated use of it as an odour absorber seems to be more recent, with videos appearing on TikTok and Facebook.
Does it work?
Yes, to a point. While TP will absorb odours, other options are more efficient, take up less space and generate fewer odd looks from houseguests. Amy, from the parenting blog Amy & Rose, has tried the TP technique. She had some fishy smells in the fridge, and her daughter suggested that she try the toilet paper hack. So did it work?
“In my experience, somewhat,” she says. But here’s the catch: It’s just a temporary fix.
Alternative fridge odour busters
So if you want something longer lasting that takes up less space, read on for some alternate odour-fighting strategies.
Bi-carbonate of soda
Bi-carbonate of soda (also known as bi-carb and baking soda) is the go-to solution for many households. It caught on in the 1970s, when one manufacturer promoted it as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical cleaning. By 1994, a US newspaper reported “more refrigerators are likely to have bi-carb than working light bulbs.”
Bi-carb is a base material, which means it neutralises acids. Because most odours are acidic, it can cut off the smell at the source. (Side note: After deodorising a fridge with bi-carb, don’t use the contents of that box for baking. Cooking can reactivate those acids and contaminate your cake.) As the bi-carb interacts with more acids, it becomes less effective. Most people will need to replace it every three months.
Now discover the many other healthy uses of bi-carb.