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 aj from PG MD
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)
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)
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)
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)
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