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Cleaning a Moldy Refrigerator

Category Appliances
Refrigerator
After a power outage or malfunction a refrigerator that had food in it is not a pretty site. Mold can grow rapidly in these conditions. This is a guide about cleaning a moldy refrigerator.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 2 found this helpful
August 16, 2010

I need help removing mold from my refrigerator.

By Jackie from Detroit, MI

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Answers

August 16, 20100 found this helpful

To remove mold from a refrigerator I found this home-made remedy that could be helpful for you.

Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.

Here is an eco-friendly website for cleaning.

http://eartheas  ic_solutions.htm

Happy cleaning! CaressaK

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 20, 20100 found this helpful

If this is visible mold, like bluegreen mold you might see on bread, just wash it with soap and water, then rinse with bleach. I would use it full strength, but you could dilute it with water. Bleach kills mold. Be sure to use hot water as well, when you are washing. I would do this with black mildew as well.

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

All those who have had problems with their GE Monogram Refrigerator with mold should post a complaint here. They changed the fan settings which did not work. I cleaned the entire refrigerator with bleach. All the drawers rusted and had to be replaced. The mold is back again. This has been ongoing for 4 years. This is 2010. Refrigerators should not mold! Please post your complaint as I would like to know how many of us are out there when I contact the company again!

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

I am also having a problem with m y GE Monogram refrigerator. After I clean it, it just continues to grow and grow. I have never had this problem with any other refrigerator. What can I do to eliminate the mold?

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December 21, 20100 found this helpful

I'm having the same problem with our GE Monogram. We also have a pool of water under the bottom bin in the fridge.

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

I also have a GE Monogram and no matter how many times I clean it , it comes back. Does anyone know if there is a recall on this product?

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February 2, 20111 found this helpful

I have a GE Profile and am most unhappy with it. It has black mold that I have been cleaning away for years now and it has water that pools at the bottom. I have never had a refrigerator mold like this before. Black mold in every crevice. It is gross! Anyone know if GE is doing anything to help it's customers?

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By 0 found this helpful
January 22, 2008

How do you get mildew and mold out of a freezer that had food left in it with no electricity? The doors were left open so it is dried on there. The smell is not that great either. Can you pressure wash it out? It is a new fridge with a bottom freezer that is being left in the house we are buying.

I would hate to have to get rid of it, but the mold/mildew mixture looks pretty bad. It also oozed a sticky looking liquid on the floor. I can't wait to see what is under the fridge. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

NiqueLSU from Baton Rouge, LA

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January 22, 20080 found this helpful

Don't pressure wash it because you could ruin the motor, etc. in the unit. Clean it out with some diluted bleach and warm water.

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January 22, 20080 found this helpful

Definitely scrub it well with nonabrasive cleaner and use bleach to remove the mildew and mold. Rinse with baking soda and water and leave a box of soda in the frig. Clean thoroughly the sealant around the door getting under it if possible. A spray bottle of degreaser or bleach may help to loosen it free from the seal if it's caked on.

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January 22, 20080 found this helpful

All you have to do is put a metal bowl inside with boiling water {be careful not to spill it. If you could put some lemon juice that will help. Let it sit {unplugged} for 1/2 an hour w/ door closed.

It will "steam" the inside of the freezer. Now what you do is buy {cheap} paste toothpaste w/whitner. This has bleach in it, use a nail brush or old toothbrush, and work the moldy area's. You can also use this on the rubber seal around the doors {only if white}. After you have washed with the above, make sure you rinse it with some nice warm cloths.

Now if you have a smell which is possible, cut two lemons in quarters, and place in a bowl for atleast a day before turning the freezer on. This can be used either on or off for the fridge. Also if you use freshly ground coffee, place in a cloth napkin and tie a ribbon around it. This also helps take care of odors.

Best of Luck.

Kim

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 22, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks so much! I hope this works.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 23, 20080 found this helpful

Make a mixture of bleach and water and spray it on the mold or pat the mixture on with a rag. The mold will dissolve in a short time then rinse with water and dry. Wear some eye protection and gloves.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 22, 20080 found this helpful

Every thing you read says do not use chlorine bleach on the seals of refrigerators. Because it will ruin the rubber seal. So why is everyone saying to use it here? Larry

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 8, 20090 found this helpful

I left my fridge in my college dorm and they turned the electricity off. I went to my dorm today and there is mold inside my fridge HELP! What do I do?

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February 13, 20101 found this helpful

Cinnamon oil. Especially if the smell persists after you've cleaned the interior thoroughly.

I accidentally unplugged our fridge/freezer for two weeks while we were gone for Christmas, and when we came back, the entire interior was coated in mold. We cleaned the fridge in and out with bleach and warm water, then left it open (keeping our food outside) for a week. There was no visible mold, but it still smelled so strong that you could smell it from outside the apartment. We tried putting the food back in, but everything smelled and tasted of mold, even when we kept it in ziplock bags. We cleaned it again with bleach and water. The next day we cleaned it with lemon juice, salt, and water. Slightly better. But still terrible. The problem was that the mold had grown into the air duct systems, and there was no way we could access those areas to clean them. When we would plug the fridge in after cleaning the air that would blast out would be noxious and overwhelming.

Finally, I told my girlfriend that we would get a new fridge if the smell wasn't completely gone in 5 days. This seemed impossible. I found some studies saying that cinnamon oil is a superb antiseptic, and has been shown to slow mold growth in moldy bread by more than 10 days when the oil coats the paper around the bread. Why not give it a try, I thought, since nothing else was working.

I bought 2 oz of cinnamon oil in Manhattan for $30 (you can get it somewhat cheaper on the internet). I covered the bottoms of two mall porcelain bowls with cinnamon oil and placed the bowls in the fridge. A couple of times a day I would blow a hair dryer, on high hot, into the bowls so that the oil was heated and diffused (use a face mask--this stuff is strong!) throughout the fridge and freezer. I kept it up until the bowls were very hot. Then I would close the doors. The smell was very nice compared to the mold smell that we'd lived with for the previous 3 weeks. I tried to blow the oil especially into the hidden areas that were accessible to air/mold.

Within 2 days, the mold smell was almost completely gone. Within 4 days all you could smell was cinnamon. I continued the treatment for about 5 days. It's been about 3 weeks now, and the fridge and freezer both smell impeccable, if cinnamony. My girlfriend is amazed and very pleased.

The research supports this stuff. It's a little work, and the cinnamon oil is expensive, but it's a miracle. I promise it works.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
February 13, 20101 found this helpful

Cinnamon oil. Especially if the smell persists after you've cleaned the interior thoroughly.

I accidentally unplugged our fridge/freezer for two weeks while we were gone for Christmas, and when we came back, the entire interior was coated in mold. We cleaned the fridge in and out with bleach and warm water, then left it open (keeping our food outside) for a week. There was no visible mold, but it still smelled so strong that you could smell it from outside the apartment. We tried putting the food back in, but everything smelled and tasted of mold, even when we kept it in ziplock bags. We cleaned it again with bleach and water. The next day we cleaned it with lemon juice, salt, and water. Slightly better. But still terrible. The problem was that the mold had grown into the air duct systems, and there was no way we could access those areas to clean them. When we would plug the fridge in after cleaning the air that would blast out would be noxious and overwhelming.

Finally, I told my girlfriend that we would get a new fridge if the smell wasn't completely gone in 5 days. This seemed impossible. I found some studies saying that cinnamon oil is a superb antiseptic, and has been shown to slow mold growth in moldy bread by more than 10 days when the oil coats the paper around the bread. Why not give it a try, I thought, since nothing else was working.

I bought 2 oz of cinnamon oil in Manhattan for $30 (you can get it somewhat cheaper on the internet). I covered the bottoms of two mall porcelain bowls with cinnamon oil and placed the bowls in the fridge. A couple of times a day I would blow a hair dryer, on high hot, into the bowls so that the oil was heated and diffused (use a face mask--this stuff is strong!) throughout the fridge and freezer. I kept it up until the bowls were very hot. Then I would close the doors. The smell was very nice compared to the mold smell that we'd lived with for the previous 3 weeks. I tried to blow the oil especially into the hidden areas that were accessible to air/mold.

Within 2 days, the mold smell was almost completely gone. Within 4 days all you could smell was cinnamon. I continued the treatment for about 5 days. It's been about 3 weeks now, and the fridge and freezer both smell impeccable, if cinnamony. My girlfriend is amazed and very pleased.

The research supports this stuff. It's a little work, and the cinnamon oil is expensive, but it's a miracle. I promise it works.

Reply Was this helpful? 1

January 22, 20150 found this helpful

I had my fridge off last Wednesday before bed time planning to turn it on the next morning before leaving for work. Unfortunately, I missed out and got back home only in time for bed, and had totally forgotten.

Before leaving home again on Friday morning, my son opened the fridge and that's when we found there was spoiled food. Could not do much. Was busy again the whole weekend, and have been busy beginning this week due to opening of new school year.

Today I opened it to remove trays from the bottom and when checking the top, found small worms crawling around. What do I do with this stinky fridge? It is still good? Can I clean it and reuse it? How?

By Jay R from Suva, Fiji

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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By 0 found this helpful
February 26, 2011

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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By 0 found this helpful
October 15, 2010

How does copper help in killing mold?

By Lilian from Kenya

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
October 18, 20100 found this helpful

What kind of mold are you trying to remove? Actually, copper can create green mold on the copper itself.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 19, 2008

How do I clean moldy fridge seals and keep it from rusting?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 20, 20080 found this helpful

I am not sure about the seals, but bleach kills mould on most anything. But it may be harmful to your seals. I suggest to try bleach on a little area and clean it off. Then look at it after a day or two and see if there is any damage. If it looks OK, use it on the rest of the area.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
November 22, 20080 found this helpful

Change your seals to silicone seals and they can get clean with soap and water.

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November 27, 20080 found this helpful

Hydrogen peroxide is also a mold destroyer. I would try regular household chlorine bleach. What is it that is rusting? Painting over exposed metal will keep it from rusting. I don't really understand where you are getting rust.

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December 8, 20140 found this helpful

The power was off at one of my rental properties for three months. The tenants left a small amount of food and one container in the fridge. There were fruit flies all over the house. I haven't dared open the fridge since I put the power back on. Should I clean it out at this point, or get another fridge?

By Yve W.

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Cleaning a Moldy Refrigerator

We are faced with the same problem. My daughter's fridge needs to be replaced and I told her to go and get mom's. Mom passed away a year ago and the fridge is just sitting there and she had bought it new about 4 years before her passing. I told my daughter to take it by a car wash on the way to her house and use those power wash sprayers first before taking it home to be scrubbed. She hasn't done it yet, but maybe it is a thought for you. It's worth a try and really beats the price of a new one. (07/17/2009)

By grannygirl

Cleaning a Moldy Refrigerator

Remove any food that is still in it.

Try a spray bottle filled with a heavy bleach and water solution and spray liberally all over the shelves, door, and everywhere. Let that stand for several hours, then respray. I've done this before with a fridge that was left open on the back porch in the summer heat.

If odors are still a problem, try either baking soda or coffee grounds in a bowl in there to absorb the odors. (07/17/2009)

By JSRP

Cleaning a Moldy Refrigerator

The bleach answer is your best bet if it's all surface stuff, but if the smell has gotten into the 'lining' inside there is nothing you can do. We had a nice fridge that somehow got unplugged with a freezer full of meat. I tried everything I could think of to eliminate the smell. I finally called a couple of manufactures and dealers and asked for advice, that's what I was told and they were right. We taped it up and warned the junk guy to open at his own risk. It was bad. (07/17/2009)

By Hiswitnessishere

Cleaning a Moldy Refrigerator

They're right about the bleach for the surfaces, although vinegar works well, too.

But if a smell persists, a strong smell, then you have mold in the insulation and in the cooling ducts, etc. One person below claims that there's nothing that you can do, but I had the problem and it's been fixed for three months now.

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)

By Dasein

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 16, 20100 found this helpful

Due to loss of electricity my refrigerator is severely molded. How do I clean and sanitize it? Please help.

By Sarah from NY

Answers:

Removing Mold from a Refrigerator

Start by scrubbing it well with baking soda made into a paste with water. Wipe all of that off. Then wipe down with a bleach and water solution, all surfaces that you can reach, prop the door open (out of contact with kids that might think it is a good place to play and get trapped), and leave it set for a few days. You may have to repeat the bleach process a few times. Then wipe down again to remove the bleach, let it dry, and restart it. Hopefully that will help. An old toothbrush will help with scrubbing out any stubborn mildew. (03/24/2010)

By fatboyslimsmom

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

March 22, 20100 found this helpful

I have black mold in my Sub Zero refrigerator. Any suggestions?

By Marilyn

Answers:

Black Mold In Refrigerator

Remove food, turn off refrigerator, and clean with a solution of warm water and bleach. It should take care of your mold problem. (11/19/2009)

By MCW

Black Mold In Refrigerator

Vinegar has always worked great for me. Pour some in a spray bottle and spray the inside of your fridge. Let it sit for 10 minutes then wipe out. Vinegar is an excellent alternative to cleaning chemicals. Hope that helps. Best of wishes. (11/20/2009)

By rblave000

Black Mold In Refrigerator

There are two very effective ways to kill mold in the refrigerator:

1. Make a spray solution of 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide and water (1/2 and 1/2); then spray the affected area and away the mold goes.

2. I sell bulk health supplements and usually have olive leaf powder on hand. Olive leaf powder (about 1/2 cup) dissolved in about a quart of water, kills mold also, and lasts a very long time. Frontier Coop sells olive leaf powder by the pound. These two solutions will kill mold wherever you find it: refrigerator, on the walls in basement, etc.

Peace and health, Joyce in Connecticut (11/21/2009)

By akiba37

Removing Mold from a Refrigerator

We have a GE Monogram Refrigerator and have been battling the mold issue as well. Our phone call last year to GE provided us with nothing! We will now try the route of changing the fan in the hopes of curing the problem. It is frustrating for sure! (12/31/2009)

By gymgrl

Removing Mold from a Refrigerator

Cinnamon oil. Especially if the smell persists after you've cleaned the interior thoroughly.

I accidentally unplugged our fridge/freezer for two weeks while we were gone for Christmas, and when we came back, the entire interior was coated in mold. We cleaned the fridge in and out with bleach and warm water, then left it open (keeping our food outside) for a week. There was no visible mold, but it still smelled so strong that you could smell it from outside the apartment. We tried putting the food back in, but everything smelled and tasted of mold, even when we kept it in Ziploc bags. We cleaned it again with bleach and water. The next day we cleaned it with lemon juice, salt, and water. Slightly better. But still terrible. The problem was that the mold had grown into the air duct systems, and there was no way we could access those areas to clean them. When we would plug the fridge in after cleaning the air that would blast out and would be noxious and overwhelming.

Finally, I told my girlfriend that we would get a new fridge if the smell wasn't completely gone in 5 days. This seemed impossible. I found some studies saying that cinnamon oil is a superb antiseptic, and has been shown to slow mold growth in moldy bread by more than 10 days when the oil coats the paper around the bread. Why not give it a try, I thought, since nothing else was working.

I bought 2 oz of cinnamon oil in Manhattan for $30 (you can get it somewhat cheaper on the internet). I covered the bottoms of two small porcelain bowls with cinnamon oil and placed the bowls in the fridge. A couple of times a day I would blow a hair dryer, on high heat, into the bowls so that the oil was heated and diffused (use a face mask--this stuff is strong!) throughout the fridge and freezer. I kept it up until the bowls were very hot. Then I would close the doors. The smell was very nice compared to the mold smell that we'd lived with for the previous 3 weeks. I tried to blow the oil especially into the hidden areas that were accessible to air/mold.

Within 2 days, the mold smell was almost completely gone. Within 4 days all you could smell was cinnamon. I continued the treatment for about 5 days. It's been about 3 weeks now, and the fridge and freezer both smell impeccable, if cinnamony. My girlfriend is amazed and very pleased.

The research supports this stuff. It's a little work, and the cinnamon oil is expensive, but it's a miracle. I promise it works. (02/13/2010)

By Dasein

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 19, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone have black mold in their GE Monogram refrigerator?

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September 4, 20090 found this helpful

We have black mold growing in the fridge and toilets. One morning last week we woke up with black filled nostrils and we were spitting black.

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July 15, 20090 found this helpful

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?

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March 15, 20090 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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November 16, 20070 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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