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Help! Stinky cheese is ruining my fridge!

I recently moved in with a roommate who has extremely potent aged cheeses in the fridge. The entire fridge smells SO BAD I am afraid to put any of my own food in there. :( The cheese is wrapped in ziplock bags. Is there a better way to wrap it so it doesn't smell? Do I need to take everything out of the fridge, clean it out somehow, and put it back wrapped better? There are already 2 boxes of baking soda in there! lol

Advice please?

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  1. Perhaps suggest to the roommate that s/he get a small dorm-sized fridge for his/her room and put the cheese in there?

    Otherwise, wrapping the cheese in several layers of butcher paper AND putting in several ziplock bags is the only way I could think of cutting down on the smell.

    1. The extra dorm fridge sounds like a good idea.

      Might also be a good time to test out the box of Arm and Hammer theory.

      4 Replies
      1. re: chileheadmike

        junglekitte said at the end of her original post that there are already two boxes of baking soda in the main fridge.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          So it does. I guess that kills the theory then. Now off to get my glasses checked.

          1. re: chileheadmike

            Just don't rub your fuzzy eyes with chili fingers. That's gotta hurt.

            1. re: chileheadmike

              IIRC, Cook's Illustrated debunked the odor killing value of baking soda in the fridge a few years ago.

        2. I've read that plastic is not actually a good thing to keep cheese wrapped in making contact with the cheese, though I can't remember the issue with it. I store cheeses, including smelly ones, in tightly sealed glass food storage containers and don't get stinky fridge odor from them.

          1. I think that I remember Americas Test Kitchen checking out the baking soda in the fridge, and it did not help.

            1. I use a Tefal Cheese Preserver which has an activated carbon filter. This prevents odors and regulates humidity. You can also buy replacement filters. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had to go to France to buy it. Works great, and let's just say my cheeses are not shy!

              Putting them in tupperware is okay, give them some room to breathe. Cheese can then be wrapped in wax paper or parchment paper. Wrapping your cheese in plastic makes it wet and slimy. This makes the smell worse and the cheese gets disgusting pretty rapidly.

              1. Are you using freezer bags?
                Freezer bags (Ziploc, Glad and others) are thicker and usually have double zippers which are designed to form a tight seal. Regular storage bags are not as good.

                The above suggestion of using a glass tupperware container sounds good too, plus a freezer bag.

                1. I don't see it listed on the US Tupperware site, but Tupperware in France sells an amazing cheese keeper -- it has a membrane in it that lets the cheese breathe, while keeping the cheese absolutely contained (even bleu and goat cheese behaves with this one)...don't know if the US company would let you order it, but it *rocks*.

                  Otherwise, the Tefal one above works well, too -- and I *think* it's available stateside, but not sure where.

                  You don't want to put cheese in a sealed plastic bag because cheese is a collection of living organisms (think yogurt) -- and if you seal it, it dies...and begins to decompose.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Sealing yogurt doesn't kill it, though, nor does sealing wheels of cheeses in wax, right?

                    1. re: mcf

                      Since I am the only stinky cheese eater in my family, I usually have cheeses for a long time. I wrap them in wax paper and store them in an airtight plastic container, like any one used for food storage. There is no odor at all until I open it to pull out a cheese and that usually clears the room!

                      1. re: mcf

                        wax allows the passage of air.

                        And yogurt is consumed within a FAR shorter time period than cheese.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          That's true of yogurt, but I have yet to find a limit to how long past the sell by date I can keep unopened yogurt in my fridge without it ever going bad. I do it to make sure all the lactose is completely fermented before I eat it. I buy it as old as I can find, and keep it around for months.

                      2. re: sunshine842

                        Is this the Tupperware product you have?

                        Otherwise, the US site has a rectangular box for keeping a block of Velveeta. . . not what I need.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Yep, that's the one -- and it works absolutely fantastically well.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Thanks much, found one in the US and it's on the way to me.

                      3. Wherever l lived, had my own cheese fridge, not for stinkage but kept warmer than normal fridge so cheese aged properly. Two or three ziplocs mask most of aroma. If none of this works, l will move in with your roommate.

                        1. Baking Soda doesn't really do anything for odor. The absolute best thing I found to use is Activated Charcoal. I bought a product called "Fridge-It" and it works great. For a large fridge I used two. I got mine at a camping supply store, but you can also get them online (Amazon). They absolutely removed a bad odor.

                          1. Put the bagged cheese in a tight sealing container, like a glass Snap n Lock.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: paulj

                              I don't even bag it; it stays fresh and moist in the tightly locked glass container. Works great, no smells.

                              1. re: paulj

                                not if it's an artisanal cheese -- if it's artisanal, it needs to breathe.

                              2. Our refrigerator is generally full of cheese, including blues and washed rind , as well as manchego, gruyere, and hard grating cheeses, and i dont remember a stink., ever.

                                we tend to wrap in plastic wrap (sorry), or keep in selleer's paper wrap, either individual pieces or whole plate of cheeses

                                maybe roommate's collection is a bit out of control, aging wise??? Are you actually observing your roommate eating this stuff?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  This is a really old post of mine and have since solved the issue. My solution was to double wrap them and put them in a fridge in the garage away from other foods. We also got a new fridge for the regular foods because that one was old anyway. :) The cheeses we keep are much stronger than any manchego, gruyere, or other typical hard cheeses. They are extremely aged Danish cheeses like gamle ole, havarti, and esrom flown in from Denmark. They taste nothing like the havarti you can get at any normal market in the US that I've seen! Suuuuuper strong, yet buttery and delicious....but unfortunately you need to wash your hands really well after eating it. haha!

                                  1. re: junglekitte

                                    Those are the same cheeses I buy, stinky and washed rind cheeses, and ripe. I still never get stinky fridge from them. I just put them in sealed containers. I can assure you I get them as stinky as you do, and in NY in the U.S.