Ask the experts: Old fridges

Q: "I have an old fridge, and it has recently become very smelly. I've tried a few home remedies including baking soda in the bottom of the fridge for 6 weeks, and wiping it out with vanilla essence, but even though the fridge now smells pretty, the bad smell is definitely still there underneath the vanilla. How do I get make smells in my fridge go away?"


A: Julia Clark, a dietitian at New Zealand Food Safety Authority responds:

"If cleaning your fridge with hot soapy water and baking soda hasn't worked, it is possible the smell is coming from somewhere more difficult to get at.

If you have an older fridge, moulds may have built up over time in the cooling system and possibly behind the walls in the fridge. If you think this is the likely problem, try contacting your local whiteware serviceman to see if they do fridge repairs and cleaning. For your own safety, don't attempt to dismantle and clean the mechanical parts of your fridge yourself!

If your fridge is relatively new, check whether it is still under warrantee and contact the manufacturer directly. There may be an inbuilt fault in the cooling system causing mould to build up and produce the off smell. If you have tried cleaning the inside surfaces of your fridge and your local serviceman can't seem to resolve the problem, it might be worth investing in a new fridge. This just might be the excuse you have been waiting for."

First published: Mar 2009

Ready to put your health first?
Subscribe here

Thanks, you're good to go!


Thanks, you're good to go!


{{ contentNotIncluded('company') }} has not subscribed to {{ contentNotIncluded('contentType') }}.

Ask your librarian to subscribe to this service next year. Alternatively, use a home network and buy a digital subscription—just $1/week...

Go back