For decades, people have been putting open boxes of baking soda in their refrigerators to absorb strong odors. In recent years, baking soda brands have released specialized refrigerator deodorizers that are even easier to use. But the drawbacks of both of these products is that they’re consumable. If you want a deodorizer that works forever, use charcoal.

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need
Charcoal briquettes (not self-lighting) Right now Longs has an eight pound bag for $4.99. You will have quite a few briquettes left over.

(Either have a bar-b-que or package these up in ten briquette bags with instructions for how to do this, and give them as ‘stocking’ stuffers to your neighbors.)
Bowl or open container
Medium cooking pot
Pick out a bowl, jar or canister that is big enough to hold about 10 charcoal briquettes.

Put 10 briquettes in the container. Make sure you use plain, untreated charcoal and not the self-lighting kind.

Put the container in the refrigerator. The charcoal will absorb the odors just like baking soda does.

After a few months, you may begin to smell odors in your refrigerator again. Eventually, the charcoal will absorb enough odor that the briquettes themselves will begin to smell. When this happens, take the briquettes out of the refrigerator and transfer them to a cooking pot.

Place the pot of charcoal on the stove over medium heat for several minutes. When the coals are heated all the way through, the odors will be neutralized. Allow the coals to cool completely in the pot.

Wash and dry the container that held the coals in the refrigerator. Put the cooled charcoal back into the container and replace it in the refrigerator.

Or even easier, dispose of the used briquettes and start over with ten new ones. And remember get the plain ones not the self lighting kind. If you do, and you do heat in a pot (no water) the heat will ignite them.

I also saw an article advertising a book of household hints. One was how to use Wonder bread to deodorize a refrigerator. I didn’t buy the book, so I can’t tell you how this is done, but I guess you just put a few pieces of wonder bread here and there and it will absorb odors.

Another good hint, is similar. If you make a sauce or soup too salty, put a  peeled potato or two in pot and continue to cook. The potato will absorb the saltiness. You can then shred the potato and make good hash browns.