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Stinky Refrigerator


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So, there may be a better place to post - but I had to start somewhere... About three weeks ago, we bought some 'fresh' tuna at the store (I have to think it was about to turn when we bought it - hate that :angry: ) so, our dinner plans changed when we were to eat it - and although it smelled fishy - I don't think we noticed it until it was too late - my hubbie threw it out - but by then that smell :wacko: had permeated the fridge!!!! I've cleaned it (not thoroughly maybe) - and my cleaning lady had a go - and it's still there!! What do you think - take everything out - spray it down with bleach - it has that smell that something died.... suggestions - almost anything but tell me to get a new fridge...

Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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Well, there's always the baking soda trick...leave an open box or two of baking soda in there at all times.

And, Alton had a good hint, which I went out and did as well. Activated charcoal absorbs lots more odor than baking soda, evidently. And, the shoe inserts to help with foot odor are made of activated charcoal - so I bought a package of those and stuck one in the very bottom of my fridge.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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I'll second the baking soda. Also, check to see if the odor is coming from something that was in the fridge along with the tuna. It's possible that the odor has lodged itself in another food you have stored. Have you checked the butter? It's pretty good at picking up other odors. Good luck!

KathyM

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Also put a bowl (uncovered) of ground coffee in your fridge., leave for at least several days.

Also put crumpled up newspaper, sprinkled lightly with water, on each shelf and leave for at least several days.

And of course the baking soda, but I think the coffee and the newspapers will have a better effect on seriously bad odors, although it will take several days to be effective.

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We recently moved into a house with a really smelly fridge. After some internet research I tried the top three results I kept getting:

1) Spray about 500ml of 99% rubbing alcohol into the fridge, making sure to cover all surfaces. Keep the fridge running for about three days with the door closed so the alcohol circulates through the varius hoses killing all bacteria.

2) After that got a bag of charcoal briquettes and put them on varius plates and left them in the closed (still on) fridge for three more days.

3) After that I filled the fridge with crumpled newspaper and again let it run for three more days.

I'm not sure what made the smell go away, but the fridge was odorless after that. I think the baking soda might work as well, but I'd spread it around multiple plates to get maximum surface area.

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HI,

If you have a newer refrigerator, the insulation will not pick up odors. (I think they use styrofome) Cleaning the interior should eliminate any odor.

Older, fridges had insulation (maybe fiberglass) that would absorb odors, a real problem. Appliance repair shops have plastic cartridges that are designed to absorb odors in fridges. You might give these a try.

Tim

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Thanks - I will give all suggestions a try over the weekend - to some it might be subtle - but I've begun to avoid opening the fridge at all costs if I can avoid it - :hmmm: !!

Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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If the odor's coming from fish, chances are it's an amine---a base. Many amines are volatile and stinky, never a good combination in one's refrigerator. One thing that might help (but I haven't tried it myself) is to react the amines with some acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to neutralize the base. (That's one reason why fish is often served with lemon: the citric acid in the lemon combines with the amines from fish to make a salt which is much less volatile and therefore much less odiferous.) So I'd probably try spritzing or wiping down the inside of the fridge with white vinegar or lemon juice. Even just leaving an open container of vinegar might do the trick to neutralize the amines. The risk: you may have a fridge that smells like vinegar, instead of fish.

I wouldn't think baking soda would do much in this case, as that's another base. You'd be better off with charcoal.

Most of the things we'd use in lab to dissolve amines would probably do really bad things to the plastics inside a refrigerator.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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