Does Baking Soda In the Fridge Work

Some people absolutely swear by using baking soda to eliminate odors and others fervently call the idea a myth.

The Science

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a weak base that is also amphoteric, meaning that it can act as either an acid or a base, depending on what it comes into contact with. When bits of foods float around your fridge, things start to smell. Because baking soda is made up of millions of small crystals, each crystal provides a surface area to attract both bases and acids. So if you have enough baking soda surface area available for all of those floating food molecules, it will neutralize their odors.

There are other substances that absorb odors but baking soda is inexpensive, readily available, and the most commonly used solution. The key seems to be getting enough baking soda surface area to absorb all those smells, which is why Arm & Hammer has created a few products specifically designed for use in the fridge or freezer.

The Testing

We decided to test the baking soda theory, and minced up some garlic and left it in an open bowl in the fridge. After a few hours, the refrigerator smelled very much like garlic. We set a container of baking soda in and left it overnight.