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canuck the pro
canuck the pro, Plumber
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 2689
Experience:  Plumber
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I bought a Combi Wirlpool refrigerator in September 2013. In

Resolved Question:

I bought a Combi Wirlpool refrigerator in September 2013. In the last two months it has developed a bad odour in the refrigeration department. I have emptied the unit four times and washed the interior, shelves and plastic containers in the last three weeks, using warm water and baking powder.
I have changed out the contents and replaced. The smell keeps returning.
I am now in my sixties and over the years have owned many refrigerators but have never experienced this problem before.
Any ideas as to the cause and solution?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  canuck the pro replied 2 years ago.

canuck the pro :

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been in the home improvement and repair field for 20 years. I will be very glad to help you today. Has the refrigerator always had the smell? Is the smell equally in the freezer and the fridge? Would you describe it as a musty smell and if not, how would you describe the smell?

Customer:

The smell started a couple of weeks ago and is only in the fridge dept. No smell from freezer. Very strong pungent smell rather like a very bad cheese. (All the cheese in the fridge is covered and kept in a plastic container.

canuck the pro :

There is probably some surface mold that would not be removed with baking soda. Lysol has mold and mildew blend that is excellent. Unfortunately you will have to clean the fridge again. Basically get that stuff and spray every bit of the interior of the fridge and then wipe it with a sponge or rag. the mold is not because of uncleanliness or anything like that but baking soda or powder just won't kill it no matter how much you scrub.

canuck the pro :

To prevent it happening again you may want to adjust the humidity settings for the drawers. If you want to save yourself the trouble of cleaning the whole fridge you could always remove the drawers and leave them outside overnight. Leave the baking powder in the fridge and see if it soaks up the odour.

canuck the pro :

If it does then the problem is only on the drawers and you would only have to clean them. Vinegar may do the trick too but if you end up having to do the whole fridge, might as well make it a for sure thing that will work by using the Lysol mold and mildew.

Customer:

The fridge has an antibacterial filter which needs to be replaced every six months according to the accompanying booklet. Never seen this in a fridge before and did not become aware of it until after installing the new fridge. Only had the fridge five months before the smell appeared. Does the filter have any bearing on the development of the mold?

canuck the pro :

It will keep spores from entering and the surfaces are likely anti-microbial but the surfaces on the bottom of the drawers will likely be the surface that will form biofilm.

canuck the pro :

Bio film will form when a surface is damp and dries. It can be hard to remove without the right cleaner. Vinegar is also a good cleaner for things like that but it will leave a different odour and after washing with vinegar then the surface would have to be cleaned with another cleaner. The Lysol product has anti-microbial agents in it and it is one step.

Customer:

How do I set the humidity setting for the drawers? The led display on the front of the fridge shows three settings one cold star, a second slightly bigger cold star and a third bigger cold star. Below the three stars are five display settings. I currently have it set on the third light.

canuck the pro :

Is there a setting on the drawers? Basically it just opens the vents more.

Customer:

No settings on the drawers. They are just clear plastic drawers. The upper drawers has wheel roller guides and the bottom drawer sits on the bottom of the fridge compartment. They both have glass shelves above them. Would it help to remove the glass shelves to leave an air gap above the drawers?

canuck the pro :

Well, all of that can be addressed by removing the drawers overnight to address whether the biofilm is in the fridge or in or on the surface of the drawers. Some produce drawers have an adjustment on the front of them to allow more air into the drawers. Another possibility is if there were any products blocking the vent coming in there may have been warmer spots in the fridge to allow the growth of biofilm. When you remove the bottom drawer, is there any moisture in the bottom? How about the back wall?

Customer:

No moisture on the bottom, but there is on the back wall.

canuck the pro :

Alright. That is normal. If it was excessive there would be a buildup of moisture on the bottom too. Especially since we have been opening and closing it throughout our conversation. I do think that removing the drawers overnight and putting a box of baking powder to absorb any odour overnight will address whether the biofilm is on the surface inside the fridge or on the surface of the drawers. Wherever the odour is will tell you where the Lysol is most needed to be applied. Once the film is gone (bio-film is invisible by the way and is not an indication of uncleanliness) it will no longer be an issue.

Customer:

Thanks for your help. I will do as you have suggested and hope it solves the problem.

canuck the pro :

It will, no worries. You are very welcome also. I will leave the question open so even after rating my service you can still as questions if something comes up. I will always respond. Mike

canuck the pro, Plumber
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 2689
Experience: Plumber
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