How to Clean Refrigerator That Is Smelly After Being Unplugged

Updated on January 07, 2013
P.H. asks from McKinney, TX
10 answers

I'm going to be leasing a rental house soon and the house has a refrigerator.
Someone unplugged the refrigerator and kept the doors shut and now it is smelly.
Does anyone know the best way to resolve this problem? Thank you!

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answers from Appleton on

Wash it out with baking soda in warm water. Maybe put some baking soda in some bowls and leave in for a few days.

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answers from Columbia on

Bleach water. Put something in the door so it stays open while ti dries out, and then once it's dry, turn it on and put it on a colder setting than normal. Put a few open containers of baking soda inside.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Clean it with baking soda and then leave some inside in an open bowl. You can use bleach and water too if there is mold.

I am a landlord and I would request that they replace the fridge. If there is any mold inside there is a chance that it will always smell. Another option is to purchase your own fridge and ask the landlord to remove the old one until after you move out. Then you have your own fridge.

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answers from Los Angeles on

It's nearly impossible because the mold gets inside it but try scrubbing with baking soda and water... everything. Then open the doors and let completely dry and try putting plates of baking soda or coffee grinds inside to absorb odor. After it is completely dry you can plug in the fridge. I'd leave the odor absorber in for longer but it should clear out eventually.

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answers from Portland on

My father repaired and sold appliances. He would sometimes get a smelly refrigerator in and would clean it with bleach and water (or you can use vinegar and water), dry it out, and then sit large containers of unused coffee grounds inside with the door closed for a few days. He said it worked most of the time.

If the mold has gotten into the insulation there will always be an off smell but it will not be as noticeable once the refrigerator has been turned on and run for a few days as it was when it was warm.

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answers from Atlanta on

clean with some bleach and water

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answers from San Francisco on

I had the same problem i moved in to an aprment and the frige smalled and i just used water and blech and it worked wonderfully try it it might work for you too good luck :)

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answers from Seattle on

10% Bleach solution in a spray bottle will help (spray on and let it sit for a while before wiping off), after that keep a bowl with baking soda in the fridge at all times.
Our fridge (in the last rental we had) never totally lost that smell but if you kept it COLD (as in colder than you usually would) it was acceptable.
Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

Clean it with vinegar, then leave the door open to air out.



answers from Amarillo on

As others have said the baking soda after the bleach. When I stored my frig after drying it out I placed in a cloth bag charcoal briquettes to absorb any odors in the frig and freezer sections.

Eight years later the frig was fine with no odors.

Just make sure you get the rubber gasket as clean as possible with the bleach.

The other S.

Next question: Stinky Deep Freeze!