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Feb 21, 2008 11:03 AM

Foul odor in fridge

HELP! I have this horrible odor coming from ym refrigerator and freezer. We have taken everythingout of the freezer, cleaned it well, (it's frost-free), and put everything back. The power has not been out, the food in the freezer never defrosted. Nothing that came out of the freezer smelled bad. The refrigerator part is used only for sodas and drinks, no food has ever been stored in there. we have pulled the unit away from the wall to check for the dreaded dead animal (Yuck), and we have flushed the drain with a clorox solution. Having said all that, short of just trashing the refrigerator, can anyone offer any suugestions? The room in which the fridge is in only smells if the fridge is open, so that rules out a dead animal in the wall ( I guess?).
My other questions is that I'm having dinner for 16 at my house on Saturday and am serving lasagna. I was hoping to make the lasagnas Saturday morning, then store them (in this fridge as there will be no room in the main fridge) until I cook them Saturday night. Will they absorb this foul odor assuming it's not yet gone? Could it affect the taste? I'm am also making a pastry dessert that I was hoping to also store o in there until I cook it Saturday night. Any suggestions?????

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  1. I'm concerned no one's answered your post and and that you're going to store the lasagnes in the fridge. I don't have any answers to your problem but if the odor is truly horrible, then don't do it. Why risk it? I'm pretty sensitive to food absorbing fridge odors, and even though lasagne is pretty hardy, I'd be afraid to ruin food you were planning on serving to guests. And please, DON'T store the pastry in there.

    Try calling your friendly neighborhood appliance store and get their input on what's going on with your fridge. Maybe you could store the food in a very good cooler/ice chest or at a neighbor's house.

    1. My first thought was that there is something (dead) in the space at the bottom of the refrigerator. You might have to take off a panel at the front or back. It's where you go to clean the dust out of the mechanism. The other thought I had is that at some time or other the unit got turned off long enough for something to have gone bad in the freezer.

      Too bad you don't have a frozen back porch. That's where I'm storing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yayadave

        Exactly. That happened to my parents once. We had this horrific stench (smelled like bad vomit) for a while by the fridge. They couldn't find anything in it. The stench eventually dissipated. Months later my mom was doing a thorough cleaning of the fridge and took off the bottom panel to clean it out. She screamed as she came up with a dead mouse shell (the body part rotted away).

        Seriously, take the fridge apart and really do a thorough check.

        And I find that activated carbon works better for absorbing odors than baking soda.

      2. My parents had a problem with a fridge odor, and it ended up being mildew on the coils. They were never able to completely get rid of the smell, and can only keep bottled and canned beverages in there now (they've moved it to the garage now). Call a repair place, and see if they have any suggestions.

        1. Always keep a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda in the fridge, with the lid torn off...if you are trying to get rid of some smells, I would put several shallow bowls of it in there. It works wonders

          3 Replies
          1. re: steakman55

            Baking soda doesn't absorb orders in the refrigerator. I believe the whole idea was perpetuated by Arm and Hammer on the side of the box to sell more baking soda.

            1. re: KTinNYC

              Oh no, really? I fell for it. There's a box in there now.

              1. re: fern

                Here is link explaining the science and don't feel bad about falling for the marketing. I'm pretty sure I have a box in my fridge from when I moved into my apartment 5 years ago...


          2. I had the problem of an electrical failure while out of town for two weeks so the rotten food created an odor in the refrigerator that was truly obnoxious. Unfortunately it was told that it gets into the insulation and cannot be removed. I tried everything including the baking soda and nothing worked. After the fact there was one solution I was told might be successful which was too stuff the refrigerator with crumpled newspaper. The ink apparently absorbs odor. Good luck.