I just died in your fridge tonight ... it must have been some kind of mold...
Oh man, there was a whiff of something awful on Saturday night after work. I thought maybe it was just the loosely-wrapped roasted garlic. So I tightened the seal, did a quick check of the veggie bin... found and disposed of elderly grey pepperoni, one shriveled beet, week-old deli turkey, all else seemed copacetic.
Sunday morning 0500 coffee, pulled out creamer -- now it's full-on Katrina fridge toxic smell. But need to be at work in an hour! Told husband not to open fridge unnecessarily, perhaps call friends for lunch out. Won't be home till late after Mavs game broadcast so no time to search now.
Monday -- D-Day.
Disposed: tiny dried sprouted purple potato, small mummified ginger root, two jars red shredded horseradish, one fuzzy jar mustard, container of unidentifiable homemade creamy dillish-looking sauce, lemongrass tube from 2 years ago, homemade garlic/butter/artichoke sauce. Drip pan under veggies urgently needed sanitizing. Individually, nothing smells horrific. Fridge scent now at baseline.
I think maybe, like a Stephen King novel, it's still waiting in there for me.
Thanks for the helpful advice! And all the horror stories. LOL
Clorox water rinse, follow by baking soda rinse, but had a recurrence after a day... so further exploration found that the culprit was...
THE SALMON MOUSSE!
Nah, it was 3-week old steamed broccoli, hiding in a re-used opaque plastic container shoved to the rear. Once removed to the center of the compost heap, and another rinsedown, life has returned to normal. Benefit is that some old stuff cleaned out, and more room available. Broccoli has been banned for 3 weeks (I know it's unfair to punish the brassicas, but somebody's gotta pay).
The temp is okay, the mustard had just separated now that I think about it, but it still looked nasty. There was fuzzy jam though.
(And just an aside, thanks for your response also, Kagemusha, it made me laugh . My fridge really did stink, and it was awful. I posted to vent and to share. Not sure what "full disclosure" means in this context, if you need any further info I'm happy to provide.)
Get a fridge thermometer if you don't have one in there already. With all that stuff going bad, your temp might be too high. Even a degree or two in the danger zone can cause problems over time.
And I agree with the person who said you should do a chlorine rinse followed by a vinegar rinse. Years ago, I did this before a big move and even though we had to store the fridge for a month, when I opened it, it did not stink at all. The movers were shocked. I just gave myself a pat on the back.
One time when I was a kid we were moving inland from a coastal location. My folks cleaned out the fridge, but my dad left a couple of trays of bait (squid, I think) in the freezer, figuring he'd minimize the stink in the trash by pitching them right before the fridge was loaded. He specifically told the movers not to put the fridge on the truck until he'd removed and disposed of the stuff.
Needless to say, they ignored him, and then refused to unpack the boxes they had loaded in front of the fridge. It spent several weeks in transit and storage, and temps were pretty warm. By the time we got it back, the smell was unbelieveable. And it never came out. That refrigerator had to go to the big appliance store in the sky.
That happened to a friend (not bait tho.) Evidently "it" can get into the coils and it's a goner.
@OP: As others have suggested I'd check out the temp, maybe have a service call. I've never known mustard to go bad.
We had a fridge go out on a house that we weren't living in fulltime. I had a freezer full of spoiled meat and that was the nastiest job I've ever had. I'd put a couple of packages of meat in a garbage bag, gag, spray with Lysol and repeat. Bob played golf that day. He will always owe me :)
Maybe you should get the refrigerator checked, just to make sure everything is working properly? You don't want a situation like I faced last summer.
Last summer I went away for about three weeks. When I came back, I discovered that a fuse had blown on the deck outside my apartment. Instead of just shutting down that breaker, it shut off the power in my whole apartment. Bad, bad things had happened in my kitchen.
My refrigerator was relatively empty, but both that freezer and a mini-fridge-sized freezer were full of leftovers that I'd cooked and frozen, along with meat and some bagged fruits and veggies. I went to Home Depot and bought construction-grade trash bags and a pack of masks, then to the grocery store to get plenty of rubber gloves, cleaning supplies, and lots of baking soda.
After I cleaned out the carnage and scrubbed both several times, I coated the entire fridge and freezer in a baking soda paste and let that sit for awhile. The mini-freezer was too far gone to try to clean (I'll spare everyone the details...I saw things that day I wish I could unsee). I replaced the paste a few times, then scrubbed it thoroughly again the next day. I also put foil pans of charcoal in the bottom of both, and that helped.
I spent the next few weeks slowly restocking and being very paranoid about the slight lingering smell, but it was completely gone before too long. I went through quite a few of those baking soda packs during that time. At some point, my appetite even came back, though it took quite a long time!