New fridges have a number of offgassing odors that are coming from the glues, rubber seals, and the plastic.
If you want to take a look at which new fridge brands have lower offgassing see the post on appliances for the chemically sensitive.
Buying the floor model can also be beneficial for some people as it will have already partially (or fully) offgassed.
The following strategies have worked for chemically sensitive folks to offgas a new fridge. You don’t need to use all of the methods, just chose the ones that work best for you.
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When I was extremely chemically sensitive I left my new fridge running in a garage for a month before using it. Most chemically sensitive people agree that in 1-3 months this will be offgassed enough. During this time we left it open as much as possible.
You can also take the drawers out and put them in the sun.
Wash with Vinegar
Washing out all residues inside the new fridges can help. Highly sensitive folks have reported that wiping the inside of the fridge down with vinegar specifically helps the offgassing odor.
But be sure to remove the vinegar with water so that nothing rusts.
Wash with Hydrogen Peroxide
Another option is to wipe the refrigerator interiors with a paste of baking soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a little dish soap. You can let that sit for a while, and then rinse with water.
Alternatively, you can just spray hydrogen peroxide onto the interior plastic, let that sit for a bit, and then wipe it down with water.
Essential Oils to Break Down VOCs
Certain essential oils have the ability to break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We know that citrus oils that are high in d-linonene like grapefruit oil can act as a solvent and break down other hydrocarbons and it worked very well in some of my experiments to remove plug-in air freshener odors.
Anecdotally, peppermint essential oil and vanilla oil (or extract) can also break down odors. Painters have added these to paint, and one paint manufacturer adds vanilla in some paint lines to help with the new smell of paint. Another paint brand adds cinnamaldehyde, citronella, or eugenol.
In my experiment, I mixed about five drops of essential oil into a non-toxic dish detergent and let it sit on the item for an hour or two. Then removed it with water.
You don’t need to use all three cleaning methods, choose the one that works best for you.
Use Sorbant Materials
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