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stinky fridge smells

A fridge smell is the first indication that something might be wrong with the mechanics inside. After all, the smell means the fridge isn’t keeping the food cool enough to keep it fresh!

For those days that your nose is assaulted by the fridge, here are six unusual scents and what they might mean for a fridge repair.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Bad?

First and foremost, you need to clean out your entire fridge. Go through and check all the contents for any spoilage, mold, or other rot. Clean the shelves and drawers (preferably with vinegar water) to ensure that the smell isn’t coming from anything inside the fridge itself.

If you’re looking for the best way to keep your fridge smell fresh and clean, check out our 10 Secrets to a Clean Refrigerator guide.

After you’ve done a thorough cleaning, take a good whiff and see if you have any of these unusual scents.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Garbage?

If your fridge smells like garbage, it might be an indicator that your fridge has some mold, bacteria, or fungus growing in it. Even if you can’t see anything distinct, the growth can still be there.

Solution: On top of the vinegar cleaning, rub lemons all over the inside of your fridge. The reason for the lemons is that the acidity will help break down any bacteria that could be growing. You can also clean them with a harsher chemical or detergent, but make sure the chemical is anti-bacterial and/or anti-fungal.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Sour Milk?

bad smell in refrigerator

Bad news… this means at some point someone spilled sour milk in the fridge. No point in crying over the spilled sour milk, but it does mean you’re going to need some elbow grease… and baking soda.

Solution: Make a mixture of baking soda and dish soap to scrub the entire fridge with. The problem with a sour milk fridge smell is that it’s very difficult to find exactly where the milk was spilled. Because of this, you’ll want to coat the entire inside of the fridge with the mixture. If you have glass shelves, take them out and wash them down with your favorite glass cleaner.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Vomit?

Unless you had a MAJOR party foul, that foul smell could be caused by a dirty drip tray. Depending on the model fridge you have, there should be a small tray on the bottom that can be pulled out. It should be cleaned at least twice a year to prevent the fridge smell.

NOTE: Be sure to check your refrigerator’s manual before attempting to pull out the drip tray! A lot of fridge drip trays do not pull out and could break. If it breaks, that means all the water it holds will now be on the floor and causing other issues.

Solution: Deep clean the drip tray with a heavy cleaner. If your fridge smells like vomit, chances are that drip tray is dirty! Don’t be afraid to use a heavier cleaner, but remember to never mix vinegar with bleach!

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Gas?

Simple answer: there’s a gas leaking into your fridge. The main question at this point is what gas could it be? If you only smell the gas when you open the fridge, it’s likely from having rotted food in a Styrofoam container. Styrofoam holds scents in longer, and while that’s great for chinese food it’s terrible for bad scents!

Solution: If you can smell gas coming from the fridge even when the fridge door is closed, call a technician! It could be a refrigerant leak or something not connected properly. Either way, it’s best to get a professional’s opinion.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Dead Animals?

stinky Kitcheaid 5 door refrigerator

A dead animal or general “death” smell from your fridge is most likely caused by mildew being on the inside of the fridge. By “inside” that means either the inside of the fridge (where you store your food) or inside the cooling area (where you would have to tear the fridge apart).

Solution: Place a bowl of your favorite scent (or baking soda) in your empty fridge for a full day. The idea is that the scent of whatever you decide to put in the bowl will replace the fridge smell. However, if you still have the same dead smell after a full day, you may want to call a technician to check the cause.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Vinegar?

A vinegar or acetone (nail polish) smell is a good indicator that the refrigerant is leaking. Basically, the refrigerant is what makes the fridge cold. It can leak from having a hole in its hose, an improper defrost of the freezer, or even just from the appliance aging.

Solution: Call a technician. If it is refrigerant leaking, then you definitely need to call a technician! Although refrigerant is perfectly safe to have in the home, it is highly toxic when worked with. As such, only a professional should be dealing with it.

Call in the Technicians

refrigerator repair

The best way to find out why your fridge smells is by calling in the Home-Tech technicians!

They’re trained in-house, drug tested, and background checked, so you know you’re getting the highest quality of service.

Call or request a fridge repair today to find out for sure why your fridge smells… and solve it!

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