The appearance of an unpleasant musty smell and black spots on the walls of the refrigerator chamber is an indisputable sign that mold has appeared in the refrigerator.
The presence of an unpleasant smell is the least problem caused by the appearance of mold. First of all, it can quickly spread throughout the entire volume of the refrigerating chamber. Getting on products, causes their infection. It is a mistake to assume that by cutting off a place affected by mold, you can then eat the products. Such foods — especially milk, rice and fish — should be discarded. After all, the ingress of mold spores into the human body can provoke the development of various diseases.
The negative impact of mold
- Mold spores are the strongest allergen, their entry into the lungs can cause the development of pharyngitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, and symptoms of pneumonia. Mold often causes asthma.
- If ingested, mold can cause food allergies. Poison, accumulating in the liver, can cause cirrhosis.
- Mold spores begin to depress the immune system, a person becomes more susceptible to various diseases.
- It can provoke the development of various types of dermatitis and other skin diseases.
Locations of mold
Corners, various recesses and grooves will require special attention during processing, but special efforts must be focused on two places:
- Sealing rubber — condensation often accumulates here, which is a favorable environment for the active development of mold. Do not treat it with bleach — it dries the rubber. After processing, the seal must be lubricated with petroleum jelly.
- In refrigerators with auto-defrost (drip system), mold often appears in the drain hole, which serves to drain the resulting condensate on the back wall. To completely remove the mold, it is necessary to additionally pour a disinfectant solution into the drain (for this you can use a funnel or enema), you can also clean it with a small brush. The cause of excess moisture in the refrigerator (as a result, the appearance of fungus) often becomes a blockage in the drain, so condensation begins to accumulate.
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How to get rid: proven methods
There are many ways to get rid of mold in the refrigerator. The most effective is the use of special chemicals. They are the most effective, but after using them, you must thoroughly wash the refrigerator again, they can leave a pungent odor. Some housewives are forced to abandon their use due to allergic reactions. However, you can remove the fungus with the help of cheaper, but no less reliable and proven folk remedies.
Before you start processing the internal surfaces of the refrigerator compartment, you must remove all products, carefully inspect them and throw away everything that shows signs of mold!
It is necessary to get/remove all trays, shelves and drawers that need to be washed separately. For the time it takes to clean the refrigerator, all removable parts should be soaked in water, adding two cups of vinegar. After processing, they must be dried well.
Sodium bicarbonate has excellent disinfecting and cleansing properties. The advantage of baking soda is that it helps not only to remove the mold, but also helps to prevent its recurrence in the future. To remove the fungus, we dilute the soda in water (1 tablespoon of soda for 1 liter of water) and carefully wipe all shelves and niches dry, paying special attention to hard-to-reach places. After processing, it is necessary to dry thoroughly and ventilate the refrigerator. To enhance the effect, you can add a little vinegar to the solution.
Baking soda, even when dissolved, is a mild abrasive. In addition, it does not always dissolve completely, so do not rub hard with a sponge — you can scratch the surface of the camera.
Laundry soap and bleach
After lathering the sponge, wipe the refrigerator, and then rinse off the soap suds with clean water.
Chlorine bleach removes black spots well, but leaves behind a very strong characteristic smell, so the camera will have to be washed well again and dried.
Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal and disinfectant properties. Undiluted peroxide is poured into a spray bottle, after which the entire surface is sprayed, paying special attention to the foci of infection. Alternatively, you can use an ordinary sponge. After 2–3 minutes, wipe everything with a clean cloth / napkin.
Hydrogen peroxide can bleach surfaces, so it is not recommended to use it in refrigerators with a dark-coloured cooling chamber.
It is very important to dry the refrigerator well after processing. To speed up the process and achieve a good result, you can use a fan heater or hair dryer. To fix the effect and prevent the recurrence of mold, the refrigerator compartment can be treated with an ultraviolet lamp.
How to prepare the refrigerator for winter in the country
Quite often, mold appears in a refrigerator or freezer that has been in a long idle time — this is a characteristic “disease” of freezing equipment that has wintered in a garden house in the country. In order not to waste time and effort in the spring fighting an unwanted “guest”, the refrigerator needs to be correctly prepared for a long break in work. First of all, it is necessary to thoroughly clean and disinfect the refrigerator compartment. In this case, you can use very strong means — during the winter the smell will have time to completely disappear. After washing, the refrigerator must be wiped dry. The door must be left open for the winter — this will create the minimum acceptable conditions for the occurrence and development of mold inside the refrigerator. Even if it manifests itself before spring, it will not be difficult to get rid of mold.
How to prevent mold from growing in the refrigerator
The optimal conditions for mold development are moisture and stagnant air. So to prevent its manifestation is quite simple:
- Inside the refrigerator, it is necessary to place a substance that will absorb / absorb excess moisture, making the air in the chamber dry. A proven method is to use special silica gel or, if it is not at hand, improvised means, such as baking soda or activated charcoal. The latter is also supported by the fact that in addition to moisture, it also absorbs odors. Periodically (optimally — once a month) soda must be changed to fresh.
- Regular ventilation — just leave the refrigerator door open for 0.5–1 minute, during which time almost complete air exchange will occur.
- Remove spoiled food from the refrigerator immediately. A spoiled product not only becomes a breeding ground for the development of mold, but also a source of infection for the entire refrigerator.
- Ensure the tightness of the refrigerating chamber — sealing gum should fit snugly against the body, not letting warm air saturated with water vapor inside.
- It is advisable to use special containers for storing food, with tight-fitting lids.
- If something is spilled and even just a little dripped onto the shelf, immediately wipe it clean.
- Do not start the situation — at the first slightest sign of the appearance of fungi or mold, immediately thoroughly wash the camera.
The appearance of an odor does not always mean that mold or fungus has settled in the refrigerator. Heavy “smell” could result from mixing the aromas of different products. Individually, they smell very appetizing, but their combination can result in an annoying, unpleasant stench. That is why products with a strong odor must be stored in a hermetically sealed container, as an option — tightly packed in cling film.
Do not place fragrances/air fresheners in the refrigerator compartment. They do not absorb, but mask the smell of another, more intense one. This can cause the food to absorb the smell of the freshener and lose its natural aroma and taste.
There is another effective method on how to get rid of the smell of mold in the refrigerator. To do this, several slices of fresh lemon on a saucer should be placed in the chamber for several days. If the smell continues, you can try replacing the lemon.