Refrigerator, We Have a Problem: Cleaning a Moldy Fridge

Refrigerator, We Have a Problem: Cleaning a Moldy Fridge

Regina Yunghans
Oct 20, 2010

If you're participating in the Kitchen Cure, chances are you've cleaned and organized your refrigerator. We're right there with you in our own kitchen.

But late last week, we discovered a much grosser problem on our hands than clutter: a moldy refrigerator.

There is a second fridge/freezer in the basement of the house we recently moved into. It was sitting empty but plugged in and running when we moved in. Not wanting to waste electricity, I simply unplugged the thing. Big mistake.

Cut to last week, when I woke up one morning randomly worried that I may have created a mold factory inside of the fridge. I rushed downstairs and opened the freezer door and sure enough - there was mold growing inside. I had created a monster.

Not so fast, though. You'll read online about refrigerators full of food being turned off for whatever reason, growing mold, and being ruined save for cleaning their interiors with bleach solutions. That didn't sound too healthy to me, and my problem was a bit less severe than that. But do you know what is another mold-and-mildew-killer? White vinegar. Used in full strength, it can be sprayed on the moldy fridge interior, left to sit for ten minutes, then rinsed (keep the doors open through all of this). Allow the interior to dry, then plug it in and shut the doors with a box of baking soda or lemon wedges inside. Pretty soon, the fridge will be deodorized and free of that big mistake.

If you are dealing with a more advanced mold issue as a result of food left in an unplugged fridge, flooding, or other catastrophic damage, please look for further cleaning recommendations. Mold can grow into the air vents and coils of the refrigerator and may not be safe for use with a surface cleaning only.

Related: What Is the Best Way To: Clean the Refrigerator?

Image: Organic Authority

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