Kitchenaid Refrigerator Stinks - Help!

candlerncJuly 15, 2008

We have a 48" Architect Series Kithenaid refrigerator that suddenly has an extremely bad odor. It's been about 2 months and we've tried everything. First we thought it had a "fishy" smell but couldn't find anything that would be creating that. We have now emptied the entire frig and freezer sections, taken everything out and scrubbed both sides with water and baking soda, as the Kitchenaid site suggested (3 times!). We also have tried putting bowls of baking soda mixed with vanilla extract which only masks the smell. The strange thing is that the smell is not there every single time you open the frig, but it is most of the time. We've pulled it away from the wall, looking for something dead, but nothing. We've called Kitchenaid and they have no suggestions. Has anyone had this type of problem? We've cleaned all of the surfaces, rubber seals, etc. and it still comes back. I hope someone can help - it was a $5K+ purchase and it's totally unacceptable Please help!!!!

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lascatx

Do you have a drain at the bottom of the fridge? You generally have one oncthe freezer side for the self-defrosting to take melted frost out the bottom and into a pan where it can evaporate. In the freezer, if that gets clogged or filled with ice, you can get a layer of ice across the bottomm. I would suspect that anything like that clogged in either the freezer or fridge could cause something funky to grow and stink. Anything mucky in the drain pan?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:58AM
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candlernc

We've checked that drain line - clean. Also the drip pan - when it had water from the defrost cycle we pulled it out, smelled it and it had no odor! It's the strangest thing - I'm thinking it must have something to do with the motor running since it doesn't always smell. But sometimes it's just horrible. I've had many refrigerators and never had this problem - was wondering if there is something inherent in this line/brand, etc.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 6:56AM
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lascatx

I have never heard of anyone having a stinky fridge. A few stinky DWs here and there, but there is some explanation for the problem if you keep searching.

If you haven't done so, I think it's time to make a service call. You've tried. My suspicion at this point would be that a mouse or other small critter got inside the working part of the fridge where you are not reaching with cleaning. My cousin had a critter die inside her wall and they weren't able to locate it and get it out (can't imiagine). She said it took a year or so to stop stinking. I'd rather pay for a service call than wait for the stink to stop.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:58PM
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weissman

I assume you've taken ALL the food out. I once had a bad smell and it was some old vegetable - celery or scallions - that was in the back of the crisper and had really rotted.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 1:23PM
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candlernc

We have taken everything out twice! Even washed off every bottle, container, etc. Very frustrating because it's always clean! DH now wants to take apart the inside back of the freezer. We've had it almost 2 years, so no warranty, so I guess it won't hurt. Maybe there's something in the back that we can't see - it still seems to be worse when the frig is running, and other than take apart the freezer, we're running out of options. Really don't know what a service person would do, so we're trying everything we can think of, but running out of options!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 6:15PM
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cat_mom

KA has a 2 yr warranty so don't wait to call if you're close to that date...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:38PM
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ya_think

I had a "dead garlic" smell in a fridge that I inherited which never went away until I took the ice maker out and apart and cleaned the hell out of every nook and cranny. Never a problem since. I am not sure what it was or how it got there, but that fixed it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:49PM
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candlernc

Has anyone taken the back off of the freezer, exposing the coils? We just did and the smell seems to be on the coils. Any idea on what to use to clean them? Made the mistake of doing this on Sunday, so no help from Kitchenaid!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:10AM
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remodelfla

I had found this "fixya" website while looking for a solution to washing machine trouble. I input "clean refrigerator coils" and a number of solutions came up. This seemed like the most straightforward. Not on a Kitchenaid frig but I'm sure it's similar. HTH

Here is a link that might be useful: cleaning coils

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 2:26PM
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tkelley95_aol_com

We have the same issue. we have been cleaning everything and could not figure it out. Smell is not inside the fridge but definitely coming form the coil area. Pulled the cardboard back off and cleaned out everything in and around he coils. The odor is definitely coming from this area and seams worse when refer fan is running -- and it is not a critter.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:47AM
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patsim

Not sure if you are still on this site as your post is old. I have the same problem and it is driving me crazy. Did you ever resolve the problem? And how if you did?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 12:49AM
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bap4469

patsim, i have this prob mine is brand new, I am going to call the place where i purchased it. Out of curiousity, what model is yours? I looked through my book and there is an air filter that should have been installed before it was turned on. I just can't imagine that is required. Oh well i will post anything they tell me.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 10:19AM
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jennla

Hi, I also have a brand new kitchenaid fridge (double door fridge with the bottom freezer) and it gets a terrible odor too. Did anyone ever get an answer as to how to get rid of it?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 6:43PM
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mandarin1

Same here, I have a 4 year old Kitchenaid 3 door Architect 2. The horrible smell started yesterday and got infused into everything, had to throw out anything that was open, anything cardboard or paper had the smell infused, and I had both baking soda and a refrigerator ionizer running. Took everything out of the fridge and cleaned, disinfected and deoderized. It wasn't dirty to begin with, there was no rotten or bad food. The smell seems to come when the fan is running. I called for service...anybody have an answer?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:16AM
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mandarin1

Same here, I have a 4 year old Kitchenaid 3 door Architect 2. The horrible smell started yesterday and got infused into everything, had to throw out anything that was open, anything cardboard or paper had the smell infused, and I had both baking soda and a refrigerator ionizer running. Took everything out of the fridge and cleaned, disinfected and deoderized. It wasn't dirty to begin with, there was no rotten or bad food. The smell seems to come when the fan is running. I called for service...anybody have an answer?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:18AM
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JimColorado

Same issue with the rotten smell. I've taken everything out, cleaned everything, and still the smell. It only happens when we open it. It seems to have started after pulling the fridge out to clean behind it. Also occurring after pulling it out, the water dispenser seems to drain so that pushing the button causes the motor to activate but it takes about 20 seconds before water comes out. Anyone have an answer?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 5:27PM
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powertoolpatriot

Unplug the fridge, pull off the evap cover and use pine sol or some other cleaner to clean the evap. Clean out the drain tray and make sure the drain going to the exterior drain tray is clear.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:59AM
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Beeswax2

Having the same problem with my counter-depth Kitchenaid 3 door fridge. The odor, (sweet smelling swamp-like) is coming from behind the fridge. I called Kitchenaid and they had nothing to offer except to suggest that I pull it out and try cleaning the drip pan to see if that was the cause. Not an easy feat, since the fridge is completely surrounded by cabinetry...

Did any of you find a satisfactory solution?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Windycove

I'm so desperate the smell in my fridge is driving me crazy and like most of you it isn't there all the time but when it is it's terrible. It started just after the new year so I thought it might be all the food left over between Christmas and New Year so I started throwing things out. You can't believe how much food I've heaved into the garbage. Washed everything more than once but the smell is still there. It's a new fridge (2 yrs) bought the upgrade with our new condo. Bottom freezer..I even thought the smell was coming from there no ice maker. Almost nothing left in the fridge and I can't stand to open the door. Came on here hoping to find a solution and found you all with the same problem. I should tell you we also have the same make of fridge in our party room and it also has a problem. It's empty and still smells. I'll be calling Kitchen Aid on Monday. I'll come back here and report and look for updates on any solutions.

This post was edited by Windycove on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 19:43

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 7:39PM
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SparklingWater

Wow, this is bad news for you all. I do own an old Kitchen Aid but this gives me pause.

Regarding this description: "First we thought it had a "fishy" smell ..."

As I posted earlier today, you might try the electrical forum with your lament. I know that months back, an experienced electrician warned that (impending) electrical wiring problems can give a fishy odor. Wouldn't it be bad news if KA repair didn't consider this, and it's motor or fan related? Why don't you cross post and see what the experts over on electrical wiring have to say?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Comer6

I have a GE Monogram, 5 years old and I have the same odor issue. The refrigerator has been empty since December 13 and GE has been here several times. The tech does not know what to do and GE will not claim any responsibility. There is a "dirty sock syndrome" that is the same smell on the coils of HVAC systems and once it happens and it permeates the HVAC system you can't get rid of it. It is the same as this. This chemical odor attaches to anything that is in the refrigerator, the ices cubes that melt in the water, the containers, produce etc... The odor in the recrigerator is toxic and I have been telling GE for over 3 months that it is mold and of course they play dumb!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:28PM
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