Refrigerator Air Filters or Baking Soda?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It is a practice that even our grandmothers have indulged in: Leaving an open box of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator for odor absorption. It seems that no refrigerator would be complete without that little yellow box. This practice has become so prevalent that Arm & Hammer even released a specially designed package just for this purpose.

Does It Work?

Refrigerator owners have often used a fresh (or not so fresh) box of baking soda to keep unwanted fridge odors away. Baking soda can absorb odors because of its ability to neutralize pH levels. A low pH is considered acidic, while a high pH is considered base. Food odors come from food that has been in the fridge for awhile, and has become more acididic over time. Baking soda neutralizes the odors that result from this acidity.

So there is solid science behind putting baking soda in your refrigerator. However, the effectiveness can be limited by the fact that the box itself has little surface area. So understandably, it might fail to deodorize an entire freezer or refrigerator. Baking soda would perhaps work best if sprinkled on a shallow plate or pan. You also have to change it every thirty days. 

The Alternative

Activated charcoal, or activated carbon, is a very powerful odor buster. In fact, it can be up to seven times more effective than baking soda. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been exposed to high levels of oxygen, thus making it highly porous and absorbent. It works by attracting and trapping impurities within its pores. Activated charcoal is so powerful that professionals apply it in a number of situations, including chemical purification and emergency medical detoxing.

Activated charcoal is the main component of refrigerator air filters. These filters attract and bind odor particles in the air. Also, you only need to change the filter every six months.

Is it Safe?
Activated charcoal is perfectly safe to use, touch, and use around your children and pets. In fact, emergency doctors administer activated charcoal in capsule form to treat poisonings and drug overdoses. This is indeed a safe product to keep around your home.

Since they're more effective and longer lasting, refrigerator filters have quite the advantage over baking soda. So are you ready to throw out the yellow box at the back of your fridge?

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