Why You Should Leave A Jar Of Baking Soda In Your Smelly Cabinets

If your cabinets possess a musty or otherwise unpleasant smell, chances are high that bacteria is trapped within. Before panicking, however, rest assured that the common pantry staple, baking soda, possesses near-magical powers when it comes to eliminating, or — to be more precise — neutralizing odors lodged deep within kitchen cabinets. Every homeowner strives for a clean home, but it can seem the decks are stacked against you when unpleasant smells are emanating from the cabinets themselves. What causes the foul smells to begin with? And what can be done to eliminate the unappetizing scents moving forward?

The kitchen is fondly referred to as the "heart of the home," but this space is also exposed to constant activity. From boiling and sautéing to frying and baking, kitchen surfaces are bombarded with grease stains from a barrage of steam and oil vapors that continually wash over them. Over time, most cabinets' structural integrity will be compromised by the invasion of water molecules, which, if unable to escape, will promote the growth of mold and other bacteria. Baking soda's power lies in its chemical makeup: as a base, it can neutralize acids that are often responsible for bacteria growth and subsequent foul smells. 

How to yield the best results

Many individuals may be familiar with the practice of leaving an opened box of baking soda in the refrigerator, hoping it will eliminate nasty odors from the air and yield fresher-tasting food. Unfortunately, this may prove ineffective for especially persistent smells and more aggressive bacteria growth. The same is true for deodorizing smelly bathrooms or — of course — your malodorous kitchen cabinets. Rather than popping open the box corner, try pouring a generous amount of baking soda into a dish — such as a dinner plate or a glass baking dish — so that it covers a larger surface area and can more easily interact with the air.

In order to eliminate the most odors from your kitchen cabinets, begin by emptying the offending spaces of all dishes (now is a great time to run them through the dishwasher), pour a hefty amount of baking soda into a medium-to-large dish, and leave it in the cabinet overnight or until you have noticed a decrease in odors. Once satisfied with the results, remove the baking soda, replace your dishes, and breathe in your newly acquired freshness. You may find that this hack takes care of the issue for the long term, but depending on the condition of the cabinets it may need to be repeated periodically if you notice odors returning.