Refrigerator Stench

beitkarenFebruary 21, 2014

Food rotted in my Liebherr fridge due to an (uninsured) handyman throwing the wrong switch in the fuse box. I discovered the mess and the stench 3 weeks later when I returned home. I have tried open boxes of baking soda, odor absorbers from the hardware store, and even cardboard on each shelf and in bins. The odor isn't as powerful but is still quite noticeable to "virgin" noses. I have not yet cleaned the fridge with bleach or any other disinfectant.
Any advice?

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Sophie Wheeler

Peroxide and baking soda. Not the drugstore weak kind. Get the thick kind from the beauty supply house and make a thick paste to put it on the shelves/bins that touched the food. Paint it on with a paintbrush on every exposed surface and let it sit until it dries. Then rinse with as much water as you can manage. If that doesn't do it, put it on craigslist for really cheap price.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Plumbing supply places used to carry a "stench remover" that worked amazingly well. I think I saw something at Bed, bath and Beyond that does the same. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 9:53AM
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If it were my refrigerator, the first thing I would try is baking soda paste, as hs mentioned above. After cleaning the paste off, I would then a wash the frige down with a vinegar solution. After that, I would try charcoal - put charcoal briquettes in dishes and place them around the refrigerator with the doors closed. The next thing I would try are coffee grounds which are supposed to absorb odor. I would try bleach last because I wouldn't want to replace stinky meat smell with heavy bleach smell.

I would think one of these methods would work. Also after deodorizing you should probably air out the fridge - turn it off and open the doors for a while.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:57PM
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Circus Peanut

Also, you might consider emptying the water in the back reservoir and scrubbing it out with a bleach solution? This does require pulling the whole fridge out, however, and you can't really remove the little water bin, so use a turkey baster or similar. A pain, but possibly worthwhile if something smelly and liquid made its way down the tiny drainhole in back of the veggie bin.

edited for clarity

This post was edited by circuspeanut on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 21:56

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 9:47PM
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LIEBHERR Customer Service offered the following guidance and it worked! I used cardboard instead of crumpled newspaper.
"First, use a 50/50 mix of bleach and water in a spray bottle.
Remove all the bins and shelves, spray them down then let them sit for 20-30 minutes then wash with warm soap and water. In the fresh food and freezer sections, spray the interiors being very careful not to get it on the stainless steel or inside the fan housings. when you spray the back wall in the fresh food section some of it will run down and get into the condensate drain. That will also help clean and sanitize that drain and drain pan in back of the unit. Let that set for 15-20 minutes then wipe out both sections. Make sure to be careful with the bleach mix and your clothes, flooring, and the stainless steel.
Liebherr Service offered the following guidance and it worked! PI used cardboard instead of crumpled newspaper.

Then install the drawers and shelves in both the freezer and fresh food section. Turn the unit on. In both sections: take used/wet coffee grounds on a plate and set on the top shelf/drawer. Then take 2-3 pieces of news paper and crinkle it up and put in the lower drawer in each section. Let the unit run for about 24 hours and see if that takes the smell out. This process may need to be done several times but usually does a good job of eliminating the odor and smell."

Thank you all for your input!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:10PM
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I'm glad you got an answer from Liebherr and that it worked!

Coffee grounds, used or unused, remove run-of-the-mill refrigerator odors better than anything I've ever tried.

This post was edited by Cavimum on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 22:35

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:34PM
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