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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I bought a new wine fridge and found a severe citrus smell inside. I left the door open for a couple of days, but the smell came back again. I repeated this a few times, but the citrus smell is always there. Any reasons?
—Leung, New York
I can’t think of any reason a citrus smell would purposely be there other than to hide some other, more insidious odor? You can call the manufacturer to see if they have any advice or ideas. I’ve previously given advice on how to neutralize the odor of new plastic—perhaps that is what the citrus notes are trying to cover up?
See if you can isolate where the smell is coming from. If it’s just inherent in the way the inside smells, the best thing you can do is what you’ve already done—prop the door open, maybe have a fan blowing on it, or put it outside or in the sun to help air it out, if that’s possible.
You could also try to get a product to absorb the smell—something with activated charcoal, or even unscented kitty litter. I’ve heard a sock full of coffee grounds also absorbs bad odors, but then you run the risk of your fridge smelling like coffee instead. Good luck!
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