Friday, 7 December 2007

Flummoxed by a Fridge

Recently back from a 10 day holiday, I discovered that the kitchen wreaked of a stench of rotting meat. I thought it was some dead rat or cat that had sneaked into the house and died there of starvation. I went in search of the dead animal until I got near to the fridge and was blown away by that overpowering stench. I knew then with a sinking feeling that my mother had in her perennial forgetfulness turned off the power that feeds the fridge. God, 10 days and with the meat, fruit and whatnots in it turned into liquid, it was going to be hell cleaning the fridge. I opened the doors to the fridge and true enough the liquid of rotting meat, vegetables and fruit had oozed out and coagulated on the floor despite the rubber insulation that lines the doors.

That evening, we cleared every thing from the fridge and washed it thoroughly.

The detachable panel at the back of the freezer

Day 2: The smell was still there. Just couldn't figure out where it came from because it seemed to be coming from every part of the fridge. I put my nose deep into the top compartment which is the freeze and I seemed to detect the odour. Dismantled the back panel of the freezer and true enough, the brownish slime was lodged in the crevices and the grooves of the panel. Having washed that compartment thoroughly, I proceeded to inspect the rest of the fridge and found that the slime was also lodged in some of the grooves of the detachable trays. I went through the tedious process of wiping again, and just in case, I mopped the floor with a heavy dose of Dettol. My nose had become so accustomed to the smell that it was playing a cat and mouse game with me: now you smell me now you don't. I decided that my had nose had to be desensitized of the stench. So I stopped sniffing.

Day3: I approached the fridge cautiously and sniffed the air; the smell had abated somewhat, but it was still there. Like a dog, I stuck my nose as close as possible to every nook and corner of the fridge and and by accident, as I prised the rubber insulation of the freezer compartment door, I discovered to my dismay, that tiny eggs that would probably become maggots were lodged in the lining. Thereafter, I went about prying the insulation for the other door and wiping it clean.

The rubber insulation that lines the door

Closer view of the rubber insulation

The tray at the bottom of the fridge

Thereafter I bought a kilo of baking soda and put them on plates and left them in the fridge, replenishing them with fresh baking soda after each day for three days. After the third day, and the smell still there, I bought a kilo of grounded coffee (as advised by experts on the net) , put it in two plates and closed the fridge. After this, the fridge smelt of coffee. But the unmistakable odour was still there. I went down on my knees to check the bottom of the fridge and it was then that I spotted the tray to trap water. The slime had coagulated and I nearly threw up when the odour hit me. I was hopeful then that that was the problem. Yes, it was for after washing it and exposing it to the hot sun for a day, the fridge was clean. Still not content with it, I bought a piece of charcoal (again on expert advice) and left it in the fridge to absorb the last traces of the stench.


It was to say the least an unpleasant experience that would remind me to check all switches before I leave the house for even a day.


  1. I know your post is old, but thank you so much! I had a milk jug explode on in my fridge while I was gone for a few days. I did everything I could to get the smell out, including nearly killing myself with the bleach fumes. Looking at your post I realized there was a tray under the fridge that could slide out and be cleaned. The tray was disgusting to say the least but I think the problem is now fixed. Thanks so much!!

  2. To anonymous who read my post on "Flummoxed by a fridge", I am glad to be of help. I normally do not go back to my old posts, but today it so happens that I was deleting some old ones to give me more posting space.