When a used refrigerator is turned off, in a matter of minutes bad odors begin to develop. If measures are not taken to properly clean and store the appliance, mold will develop too. It is important to take steps to prevent mold and bad odors when placing a refrigerator in storage in any location. After all, no one wants to store food in something that looks and smells terrible.
When I moved out of my rented house I did not need my refrigerator. The clean refrigerator was turned off until a buyer could pick it up, and I had to store it in a way that would prevent the growth of mold and unpleasant odors. The buyer would not have wanted the appliance if looked or smelled dirty. I took the following easy steps to keep it clean and fresh. It smelled and looked as good as new, and I received a fair offer.
Long Term Storage Solutions
Clean it from Top to Bottom with Baking Soda and Warm Water
When planning to store a refrigerator, it is very important to thoroughly clean it from top to bottom. Store it with traces of food or beverages, and it can end up covered in mold. Bad odors will naturally follow.
Before you store a refrigerator for any length of time, fill a sink or a clean three-gallon bucket with warm water and about ¼ cup of baking soda. Take out all of the racks, drawers and removable parts, and clean each individual part as well as the interior surfaces. Pay careful attention to the seals. They tend to harbor mold and food particles. Change the baking soda and water as necessary during the cleaning process. Bad odors and sources of mold will be cleaned away.
Dry All of the Interior Parts with a Soft Absorbent Cloth
Cleaning the refrigerator is not enough when planning to store it. The interior must be completely dry to prevent mold and bad odors. Use a soft absorbent cloth to dry every nook and cranny. Be sure to dry the seals as well. Change cloths often to avoid wiping moisture around instead of soaking it up. Store the refrigerator with traces of moisture inside and bad odors will remain.
Place a New Cotton Sock Filled with Baking Soda in Each Compartment
Baking soda is great for more than just washing the interior of a refrigerator that you plan to store. It will neutralize and prevent bad odors for weeks on end. Simply placing boxes on the rack is not good enough when cleaning and preparing a fridge to store for a long period of time. Fill new white cotton socks with bicarbonate soda, and place them in each compartment. Cotton is porous and absorbent. It will allow the baking soda to work to full capacity while keeping it contained. Keep the refrigerator door(s) propped open, and change the homemade fresheners every six weeks for the best results as you store the appliance.