My power was off and the refrigerator was full of food. How can I clean and remove mold from it? It has been sitting for 6 months.
By Tami from Valpo, IN
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The Archives at the bottom of the page and also the website I posted will help you clean your refrigerator.
By mrs christmas02/27/2011
Use bicarbonate of soda mixed to a paste with water and a scouring pad for non-stick pans so you don't scratch the surfaces. Then wipe it out with white vinegar. If you fill a small open container with bicarb powder and leave it the closed fridge it will also absorb the smells as well as the things you buy for this purpose.
One of my good friends had to leave her house in a hurry because of a hurricane (Katrina). Her house was okay, but the fridge was a loss. And that was after a few weeks. I can't imagine what it would be like after 6 months.
And I remember on an episode of the BBC show How Clean is Your House they tested the inside of a woman's fridge, and it came back that the fridge should no longer be used. Besides the yuck in the dirty fridge, the chemicals they'd have to use to clean it would make the fridge unsafe to use afterwards.
So please be careful. Six months is a long time. If, after you clean it up, you have any doubts, you should probably let it go.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I have a GE top-bottom fridge that was sitting in my buddies garage for at least a year. Surprisingly roses didn't grow inside but mold did, some tiny pin head sized mold. I was able to get some sort of eggs for some creature that loves smelly stuff, and some disgusting looking black sludge off the bottom.
I used the whole bottle of Clorox all purpose cleaner with bleach and hosed everything out. Aside from some stains on the bottom that aren't coming out without a torch, the thing is spotless. I opened a box of baking soda and put it in there but it still freaking reeks. It wouldn't surprise me if there was still mold on some of the inner workings of the fridge but I don't know if I can get to them.
If anyone knows what parts I should specifically look at please let me know and please for the love of god tell me how to get rid of this smell!
Shane from Orlando, FL
By Grandma Bess
I don't know about the mold issue. But as far as the smell goes: Place several shallow bowls of vinegar in the fridge and leave them for a day or so. This should remove any trace of nasty smell from the fridge. I don't know how it works so well, but the vinegar somehow "sucks" up any "all" nasty odors (even from frying fish!).
What a nasty cleaning job that must have been! Sounds like you needed a gas mask to clean that fridge! Good for you for taking it on! I like the charcoal idea as well. (02/02/2008)
We had to store our items in storage for about 3 months. My refrigerator was stored with the doors closed and it is overrun with mold and smells terrible. What is the best way to clean this?
KH from Ellabell, GA
Is it possible to clean a refrigerator that has been sitting with food in it for a year with no electricity and has mold and mildew in it? It has an ice and water dispenser.
By someonewhoneedshelp from PG MD
The trick for mold inside of the insulation, etc. is to buy an ounce of pure cinnamon oil. Cover the bottom of a small bowl with a layer of oil and place the bowl in the fridge. A few times a day, use a hairdryer on high-hot to heat the oil and diffuse it throughout the inside of the fridge while the fridge is running. Try to "shoot" some of the cinnamon oil into the air ducts as well. You may also want to rub a little oil around the ducts. Improvise a bit.
We had an unconquerable smell in our fridge for 3 weeks. I tried the cinnamon oil because I was desperate and my girlfriend was insisting we get a new fridge. It was so bad after 3 bleach cleanings that we couldn't keep food in there for a day without it smelling powerfully of mold. The cinnamon oil worked in about 3 days, amazing. It still is working, as everything smells slightly of cinnamon oil even 3 months later.
The oil is expensive, but it's an amazing antifungal and antiseptic (see the NYTimes), and it smells good! Best of luck! (03/23/2010)
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