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Whirlpool Refrigerator Odor Problems (How to Fix)

Whirlpool is one of the most recognizable fridge brands. Foods and drinks will spoil overtime in a fridge even when it’s set to the right temperature, and as a result they will give off bad odors. But, in other cases a smell can develop from an unknown source or linger long after the source of the bad smell has been removed, so here is what to do to get rid of odor problems in a Whirlpool fridge.

Leave an open container or similar filled with about half a cup of baking soda or coffee grounds inside your fridge for a few days. Doing so will remove odors from the air inside your fridge. Also, sniff all of the items in your fridge to identify and remove any of them that are causing bad odors.

bad smell of refrigerator

The surfaces of the interior of a fridge have micro pores that can trap tiny particles of food that have spilled. Especially at the bottom of your fridge. After cleaning these up, the enzymes in the food can remain and continue to give off odors.

In other cases, the bad odors can get locked into the small amounts of ice in your freezer, and/or fridge. As you may know, the freezer produces all of the cold air which is blown into the fridge by a fan. The ice partially melts and freezes again as part of normal operation.

As this happens, the melted ice will give off bad odors. If the odors remain after using baking soda or coffee grounds, turn off your fridge for a few hours and leave the doors open to let any ice melt. Then wipe down every nook and cranny in your fridge and freezer with a dilute bleach solution or any type of vinegar.

For bleach, use 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. For vinegar use it straight without diluting it. Let it sit on the surfaces for a few minutes to work.

Then thoroughly wipe them off with a cloth or rag and plain water. Doing so will break down most of the enzymes in the bad odors almost instantly.

Drip tray (evaporator drain pan) can be producing the odors

There is a drip tray located on the underside of fridges. Dead insects or a dead rodent may be located there.

Or mold may have started to grow. The fan that draws in air to cool and blow it into your fridge, can pick up the odor from the drip tray and blow them into your fridge. The drip tray is typically a bit tricky to get to, and you need to remove a few screws or pull off a panel to access it.

Refer to the owners manual for your specific make and model of fridge to see how to access the drip tray. If you’ve tried all of the above, then you need to have a repair technician take a look at it.

Why Your Whirlpool Refrigerator Smells Bad

bad smell of refrigerator

Generally, a fridge should have a mild odor at the most. But, it’s fairly common for a very bad smell to develop in a fridge, and linger even after it has been cleaned.

In general, something in the drip tray is causing the odor, there are invisible particles causing smells on the surfaces of the compartments, trays, racks or walls of your fridge, or something spilled or leaked and the smell is stored in the ice, producing an odor during the defrost cycle.

Overall, it’s best to start with some simple fixes such as using special cleaners, and inspecting all the items in your fridge to locate anything that smells bad. After that, you may need a technician to inspect the internal components to see if something is in there that is causing the smell.

Here are the reasons why your fridge smells bad, and why they cause it to happen.

1. There is something causing a bad odor in the drip tray

There is a drip tray on the underside of a fridge. It collects water vapor that accumulates on the evaporator to stop it dripping onto the floor. It will dry out faster than the water can accumulate. 

Dead insects or a dead rodent may be located there. Or, mold may have started to grow. The fan that draws in air to cool and blow it into your fridge, can pick up the odor from the drip tray and blow them into your fridge. 

The drip tray is typically a bit tricky to get to, and you need to remove a few screws or pull off a panel to access it. Refer to the owners manual for your specific make and model of fridge to see how to access the drip tray. If you’ve tried all of the above, then you need to have a repair technician take a look at it. 

2. There is invisible food residue on the inside of your fridge

When a spill occurs, after you wipe it up there can be microscopic food residue where the spill was. It will release odors over time. A fridge also doesn’t have air flow that draws the air inside it out and away. 

So, even small smells can accumulate over time and remain in your fridge. This is especially true for food like fish, meat, and other animal products. These have enzymes which take a long time to break down. 

To get rid of the source you need to use a special cleaner. The most recommended is any type of vinegar. It breaks down the source of the smell. 

Also placing items that absorb the smell, or turning off your fridge and leaving the doors open to let it air out works very well. An open container of baking soda or coffee ground works well to neutralize odors in a fridge. 

It’s more convenient to place one or both of these on the inside of your fridge. Most people report about 2 days is enough to neutralize any bad odors remaining in a fridge, after you have removed the source of the odors.

3. A bad smell is stored in the ice in your freezer

If there was a leak in the freezer it can get stored in the ice. During normal operation your fridge does a defrost cycle, and the ice in your fridge partially melts. When this happens it blows the bad odors into your freezer and fridge. To fix this issue inspect the ice to see if you can identify a spill. If not, and if you have tried all the above steps remove the items from your fridge and freezer. And unplug your fridge. Let all the ice melt, and wipe down all of the surfaces using vinegar. That sums it up for all of the top reasons why your fridge smells bad.

Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on February 19, 2023.

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