Why Does My Fridge Smell Like Bleach?

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Key Takeaways
  • The bleach smell in a fridge smells is the usually the scent of a chemical known as chlorine. A bleach like smell can exist in new fridges, where the new plastics give off a strong scent.
  • A cause for the smell could be when there is a leak in the refrigerator, which causes the chemicals to react.
  • It may also be due to the build-up of chemicals you use for cleaning the fridge.

A bleach smell is always irritating and when it affects household items and comes from within the fridge that is a concern. Most people use a bleach type product when cleaning the refrigerator, but in some cases, even when you do not use it, a smell can occur. So what causes the bleach smell in the fridge?

There are many reasons for this. If you notice a smell, first you should determine where it comes from and the cause so that you can fix it. This article will discuss how to get rid of the smell, whether it is okay to clean the fridge using bleach, and much more.

Why Does My Fridge Have a Chemical Smell?

If you realize that there is a bleach smell in your fridge, the first thing you will most probably ask yourself is whether you used bleach to clean it. Otherwise, where else could the smell be coming from if not from bleach or a substance containing bleach?

Water Leak

There may be a water leak in your fridge that goes to the insulation and then reacts to it. In such cases, the reaction emits the bleach smell. Most times, you will know that there is a leak when the smell resembles burnt compressor oil.

Freon Leak

Another common reason why the fridge may have chemicals-like smells may be due to a Freon leak which is common in fridges. When at room temperature, Freon will be gas, but on cooling, it becomes a liquid. Usually, Freon may produce a smell like a nail polish remover, but it is a valuable gas for cooling purposes in the fridge.

Having a Freon leak will produce that irritating smell that may even spread to the food substances in the fridge. For this reason, it is essential to have the leak traced and replaced by a technician.

Once you identify the leak, it is vital to unplug the refrigerator until you fix the issue.

Bleach Cleaner

A bleach smell may be prevalent in the fridge if you use bleach to clean your fridge.

There is no problem in doing this and as a matter of fact, using bleach is one of the most effective ways to disinfect the fridge and keep it clean. If you are using large amounts of bleach to clean, then the smell may remain there and react to the porous parts of the fridge.

Most other cleaning detergents for the fridge usually contain a significant amount of bleach. Even when the amount is small, it may still react with the refrigerator’s porous plastic walls that intensify the bleach smell.

Anytime you smell bleach in your fridge, it is always best to find a way to get rid of it.

Should You Clean the Inside of the Fridge With Bleach?

One of the best cleaners you can use on your fridge is bleach, but you need to be very careful when using it. Bleach is usually super strong, and for this reason, it may be pretty tough on the porous parts of the fridge. It will also be likely to leave a strong smell which may affect the food.

Usually bleach contains other active ingredients such as chlorine, therefore, acting like oxidizers. Even though it is suitable for cleaning the fridge, it can cause health damage such as respiratory diseases.

Using bleach to clean the fridge sanitizes it and also prevents bacteria from growing. It is also effective in preventing mold from growing in the refrigerator. The best way to use bleach for cleaning inside the fridge is by diluting it with water.

By diluting the bleach it will still be efficient for cleaning and will also not be too harsh for your skin or the parts of the fridge.

Before using it, first wipe off the fridge surfaces with water and gentle soap. If you want it to be extra picky clean or remove the molds around the seals, then with diluted bleach wipe it all around.

You can also use a purpose designed fridge cleaner spray which often contains diluted bleach. It is a more effective and an easier cleaning method than having to first add water to pure bleach.

How Can You Get Rid of the Bleach Smell in the Fridge?

While using bleach leaves your fridge clean and free from germs, most times, you may not eliminate the bleach smell in there. For this reason, you can employ other cleaning methods, such as using vinegar to wipe the fridge.

When using vinegar, you can use vinegar and dilute it with warm water. Or use vinegar paste, water, and baking soda to help eradicate the bleach smell.

After using these, be sure to dry down the fridge completely before returning the food.

Also, you can use Bicarbonate of Soda and dilute it with water without necessarily including vinegar. It will still be effective in eliminating the smell.

When using this solution, you should gently rub it on all the inner surfaces of the fridge. Ensure that you also leave the fridge open after rubbing it for some time to eliminate the smell.

Bleach is a good product for cleaning your fridge, but if you can avoid using it you should as it can cause respiratory issues and risk connecting with your foods. For safety for both your health and appliances, you can opt for vinegar or baking soda to clean the fridge.