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Foul odor in fridge

I'VE FOUND A CURE! (skip to the bottom if you want to bypass my trials and errors)
Ok, so I had a very similar situation. Went out of town for a month, forgot to pay electric bill, they shut my electric down and my fridge was without power for over a week. There was a nasty can of crabmeat in there and some chicken/fruit in the freezer. It smelt awful and it stunk up the whole apartment like something dead. There was mold all over and some brown water in the fridge basin.
First, I threw everything in there out. No way I was going to eat any of that stuff. Then I took out all the drawers, and removable shelves, etc. and rinsed them off with soapy water. That seemed to get rid of the smell on all of that, but not the inside of the fridge. I washed it down with soapy water and then I called my mom. She said use baking soda and water. I used a whole bunch and spread the baking soda and water all over and I put box in the fridge and the freezer and went to bed, hoping it would all be better in the morning. Woke up and it still smelt awful.. a tiny bit better but still not usable. Atleast it looked clean, but baking soda did nothing! BAKING SODA = Not working.
Then I started to go online and check out post like this one. I read that it's probably in the insulation and I got scared I'd have to get a new fridge (even though this one is only $420 at Sears). I tried some antibacterial soap, and still nothing. I wasn't going to fill it with newspaper because it makes no logical sense that that would work: My fridge smelt like a trash can.. trash can with newspaper in them still smell like garbage/rotten death.
I repeatedly washed and scrubbed and still nothing. I UNPLUGGED my fridge and I started taking apart the fridge to see if it was in the ventilation or something. (IMPORTANT PART:) I popped off a vent at the bottom and THERE WAS a pan with nasty mold water in it. I cleaned it out, but I knew that it wasn't the root of the stink. My fridge stunk much much more OPEN than Closed, and the pan is on the outside. It's still probably a great idea to clean out that drip pan, even tho it's not the cure. I couldn't dislodge mine easily so I just stuck my hand in there with a rag and went back and forth ringing it out over the sink.
I was timid about using bleach, but at this point it was either that or a new fridge. So I went to the store and got some Lysol Kills 99.9% of viruses & bacteria "complete clean" spray WITH BLEACH. Not the aerosol one but the pump spray one. There was a purple one called "Mold & Mildew Remover". How perfect, the mold is what's stinkin' my fridge up! I love this stuff, I use the all purpose one of my sinks and they get some nice and white. Anyway, I got the mold & mildew one even though I think it's the same exact thing as the all purpose with a different label. 2% Bleach, and some other stuff. I sprayed the heck out of my fridge and freezer, while it was still unplugged. I used a jumbo sponge I had and spread it meticulously, getting every nook and cranny. I shut the doors and hoped it would seep in and kill the stink. Lo and Behold it was working! I plugged the fridge in, with bleach still inside, to see if the stink would reawaken (it was coming back before when it was plugged in). Still no stink. Now, I'm not sure if the stink in 100% gone, or if my sense of smell is a little messed up because using bleach can sometimes do that, but I don't smell rotten death in the fridge anymore! I tested my nose by sniffing some herbs I'm growing and I can smell them well. But let me tell you, my fridge was BAAAADD.. stunk up my whole 2 bedroom apartment and I think my neighbors could even smell it. It really smelt like a dead raccoon or something. And now, thanks to bleach, the smell is gone. I'm letting it run a bit longer with the bleach and then I'm going to rinse it out really really well with water and try to get all the bleach out.
LONG STORY SHORT: USE SOME LYSOL WITH BLEACH SPRAY! AND RINSE WELL.

Jan 25, 2012
veganmike in Cookware