Cleaning A Moldy / Musty Fridge In 5 Easy Steps

Clean a moldy/musty fridge

Does your fridge have a musty smell, and it’s stinking up your kitchen?

Unfortunately, thousands of people are in the same situation as you. There’s nothing more annoying than opening your fridge to grab a snack, only to find that it has a musty smell.

But the good news is that you’ve come to the right place to get this issue fixed.

To clean a moldy/musty fridge, please use warm water, vinegar, and baking soda. You’ll also need to get rid of spoiled food and ensure your snacks are correctly stored.

Keep reading to learn more about these tips and forget all about the issue!

5 Simple Steps to Clean a Moldy / Musty Fridge

If your fridge has a musty smell, you’ll need to quickly clean it, as it can cause allergic reactions. Symptoms of mold exposure include itchy eyes, rash, coughing, or nasal congestion.

Having a musty fridge is a common issue. Luckily, cleaning it is very simple. You’ll just need to:

#1 Remove All Food From Your Fridge

Before doing anything else, you’ll need to remove all food from your fridge.

This way, you’ll be able to check if it is spoiled, and it will be easier to clean your appliance.

Tip: You can transfer the highly perishable food to a cooler while you’re cleaning your fridge.

You’ll know that your food is spoiled if it has an unnatural color, funny texture, bad odor, rising air bubbles, foam, or mold spots (white, green, blue, or black).

Spoiled food
Remove any spoiled food from your fridge.

If you’re not sure if your food is spoiled, I recommend throwing it away. You know what they say…better safe than sorry.

Bear in mind that spoiled food holds bacteria that could be dangerous for your health. This is why I recommend packing any spoiled items in thick garbage bags, separated from other trash items.

#2 Remove the Shelves

Once you’ve removed the food from the fridge, it’s time for us to do the same with the drawers, shelves, and any other removable compartment.

Most fridges have a tab that you can push to take the shelves out. But, I recommend checking your manual for detailed instructions, as this process may vary depending on the brand and model you own.

If you can’t find your manual, please search for your fridge’s model number. This label is usually located on the doors, sides, or back of your appliance.

Then, search on Google for the brand and model number. For example, if you have a Samsung fridge, you’ll need to type “Samsung [model] Refrigerator Manual PDF” in the search bar.

#3 Prepare the Cleaning Solution

There are different cleaning products available in the supermarket. However, I recommend preparing a natural cleaning solution.

This way, you’ll keep your fridge from smelling like chemicals and you’ll keep your family safe.

Preparing your cleaning solution is very simple. You’ll just need to mix equal parts of warm water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.

How to use vinegar to clean your fridge
Use vinegar to clean a moldy/musty fridge

Vinegar is a great cleaner because of its acidity. It can easily break down grease and grime and get rid of stubborn stains.

It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which is great if you want to clean a moldy/musty fridge.

Bear in mind that you should never mix vinegar with bleach, as this creates toxic gases that can be harmful to your health.

#4 Clean Your Fridge

Moving on, you’ll need to use the cleaning solution you previously prepared to clean the drawers, door, inside the fridge, and freezer compartments.

I recommend using a soft sponge or cloth. However, if there are any stubborn stains, please use a soft brush.

Don’t forget to clean the water and ice dispenser to get rid of the musty smell. It may be easier to clean the faucet with a cotton swab.

Moreover, you should also clean the door seals thoroughly, since mold can easily grow in them. You may need to use a cotton swab or a soft toothbrush to do this.

Then, rinse with water and use paper towels or a clean cloth to dry every surface. This way, you’ll prevent mold from growing again.

Throw away any paper towels you used to clean the mold.

#5 Use Baking Soda

Once you’ve completed the steps above, please re-stock your fridge and make sure you store a bowl filled with baking soda in it, as this ingredient can easily neutralize bad odors.

Tip: You can find baking soda in every supermarket for less than $5 USD.

I recommend replacing the bowl filled with baking soda every three months or if your fridge starts to smell again.

What Causes Mold in a Fridge?

Mold usually grows in moist environments with poor air circulation.

However, the most common reason why mold grows in a fridge is spoiled food. This is why you should regularly check your food.

You see, mold can easily transfer from your food to other surfaces and cause a musty smell and other issues.

I also recommend checking your fridge’s ice maker or water dispenser because if these are damaged, you may have a leak.

If you don’t notice this leak, mold can easily grow.

Tip: If you notice that your refrigerator is not working correctly, try calling a professional.

How to Store Food in Your Fridge So It Lasts Longer?

There’s nothing worse than having to throw away food just because it’s spoiled.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to avoid this from happening.

Follow this quick guide to store food in your fridge correctly, so it can last longer:

  • Top shelf: This is where you should store all the ready-to-eat food, such as leftovers and drinks. Don’t refrigerate food in cans, and make sure you store all leftovers within two hours of cooking.
  • Middle shelves: These shelves have the correct temperature to keep food that is prone to spoiling fresh, such as dairy products, cooked meats, eggs, etc. I recommend leaving these products in the containers they came in, or storing them in a bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Lowest shelf: This is the coldest shelf, so I recommend putting in raw meat and fish. Make sure you keep this food in its store wrapping, to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Drawer: These compartments are ideal for storing vegetables and fruits. Make sure they are stored separately, since they produce different gases that can cause other similar products to spoil. I also recommend storing fruit and vegetables in perforated plastic bags and avoiding washing these products before refrigerating.
  • Door: You can store condiments and spreads, such as sauces, dressings, or pickles, since these products have natural preservatives. Don’t store dairy products in the door because it’s the warmest place inside the fridge and your food may not stay fresh.

Moreover, I always recommend eating the oldest foods first. This way, you’ll avoid throwing away food.


That about covers it! I hope that this article has helped you gain some more confidence in cleaning a moldy/musty fridge.

If you take anything away, please remember that the best way to clean a moldy fridge is by making your own cleaning solution (equal parts of water and vinegar) and spraying it down on all of your fridge’s surfaces, including drawers, shelves, water dispenser, ice maker, freezer, and door seals.

Moreover, don’t forget to get rid of any spoiled food and store your products in the correct way, so they can stay fresh for a longer period of time.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. If you ever notice that your refrigerator is not working correctly, please check out our site. You’ll find different ways to fix the issue.

Have a wonderful rest of the day!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more