Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fridge Hell

 What are you looking at exactly? It's our refrigerator - completely emptied out, scrubbed down, and disassembled.

{Alternative Post Titles: You Live and You Learn. Penny Wise and Dollar Stupid. Don't turn the damn fridge off when you travel for 2 weeks.}

Before leaving for Greece, Mr. Fix-It turned off a few fuses in our condo (stove, master bedroom) since we wouldn't be needing electricity to those places. We figured it would save a little money and it would be a responsible thing to do. We also emptied out the fridge and freezer as much as possible and turned down the settings to LOW.

Somehow LOW became OFF. Not sure how.

When we returned to our condo after two weeks away, 26+ hours of travel (with an overnight in Boston), we were greeted by the world's most unbelievable stench. Upon opening the refrigerator doors it multiplied. I want to say it was the most unbelievably bad smell you can imagine - but honestly, you can't imagine it. You had to be there. Maybe if you can imagine jumping in a dirty dumpster on a hot day you'd be close, but even then it's a stretch. We were one part delerious, one part laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation, and one part dry-heaving.

After emptying the contents of the fridge, soaking all the bins, trays, and even fridge hardware (we literally disassembled the ENTIRE thing) and scrubbing every imaginable surface down, the fridge still STUNK. Now, two weeks later, I'd like to report we've 100% solved the problem, but honestly I'd have to say we're only 85% there. Allegedly de-stankifying takes time. So, if you ever run into your own case of fridge funk (hopefully not as bad as ours) here is how to fix it:

1. Depending on how bad it is, you may need to trash EVERYTHING. For us, that was the case minus a bottle frozen vodka. Only the strong survive.

2. Scrub every surface. Pick your poison.

We used all of the above.

3. Go to your local pet store. Purchase "activated charcoal/carbon". Place it on a cookie sheet and leave it in the fridge for 24/48+ hours.

4. Liberally buy boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. Place as many as you choose in your fridge/freezer. If you're really desperate, create a paste by adding water to the baking soda and rub it all over your fridge/freezer. Especially recommended if you want to get children involved.

5. Get angry. Repeatedly ask your spouse, "Why'd you break my fridge?"
6. Go to Home Depot and see what they have to offer. Purchase some DampRid. Leave in the fridge for 2+ weeks.

7. Contemplate buying a new fridge.
8. Buy some of these and stick them in the fridge too.

If you're lucky the smell will be 85% better in 2 weeks or less!


  1. Aw man, that is sucky! I hope you are able to rescue it enough not to need a new fridge.

  2. hahaha omg, this is HORRIBLE but I can't help but laugh, especially at #5!! What a terrible thing to come home to! I hope you get all the stank out!!

  3. Oh my goodness! I can't even imagine. I think I would have just had to buy a new fridge - I don't have the patience for that much cleaning!! Good luck getting it out!

  4. In no way are we suggesting the above mentioned steps are a remedy to Fridge Funk. These are simply the steps we went though to try and solve the problem. Smell is still there, reduced, but there.

    At least it is not making the food smell or taste funny.

  5. @ Mr. Fix-It: I'm sorry - are you discrediting my entire post?

  6. Omg that sounds awful!! We have chronic stinky fridge and we have no idea why.. I can't imagine what this must've been like!

  7. Oh em gee! That totally sucks. I'd be so peeved after a nice vaca, but long flights! Way to keep it cool. I totally LOL-ed @ #1 - Depending on how bad it is, you may need to trash EVERYTHING. For us, that was the case minus a bottle frozen vodka. Only the strong survive.

  8. Oooh I feel for you! We had a small incident recently with our chest freezer (hubs hooked it up to an outlet that was on a switch, then put a bunch of burgers on it that were discovered weeks later..) Luckily it was our spare freezer. In the basement. Where I could close the door on the smell. I'm glad that at least you could salvage the vodka. :)

  9. The EXACT same thing happened to me in college over Christmas break. Except it wasn't a husband but a roommate. She wanted to "save on electricity"...opting to put the fridge on low (unbeknownst to be). Any sort of "savings" went down the toilet with all the food that was in the freezer....and the condiments in the fridge. The most infuriating part? My roommates boyfriend was the first to arrive at the apartment before either of us (he had gone up early to find housing after being away for a semester). Instead of attempting to clean up, he simply turned up the fridge & somehow for a day lived with the awful stench. So when I arrived to HELL along with my parents...I had to clean it all myself...emptying frozen nastiness and whatnot. It was the most awful experience...probably to date. Even my roommates boyfriend told her that she owed me BIG TIME. I am not sure how long the stench lasted....but I do know that we went through an ungodly amount of baking soda boxes, changing them weekly. Fridge on low...just don't do it!

  10. My husband travels for work, so I flew down this weekend to FL instead of him coming home. After an awesome weekend at the beach with him, I got home late Sunday. I thought the kitchen smelled but I thought it was the trash. Today I went to get breakfast before lunch and realized the fridge stopped working while I was gone. Had to throw everything out. I cried when I saw the top layer of our wedding cake was ruined too. No cake on our 1st anniversary for us :( I thought about your blog post on this though when I was cleaning out the fridge!

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