Though your trusty refrigerator keeps food cold and fresh, several issues can leave it vulnerable to odor. Why does my Whirlpool refrigerator smell? Spoiled food that’s not properly contained can emit a foul odor. Determine the source of the smell and learn how to properly clean the interior when your Whirlpool refrigerator smells bad.

Help…My Whirlpool Refrigerator Smells Bad!

A smelly refrigerator can have multiple sources, from improperly stored food to problems with interior components. We’ll help pinpoint why your Whirlpool refrigerator smells bad as well as how to clean the inside and prevent odor from returning.

What Causes Refrigerator Odor?

The most common causes of refrigerator odor stem from improperly stored food. However, certain components can result in bad smells if they’re in need of some maintenance.

Check for these common culprits when your Whirlpool refrigerator smells bad:

  • Expired or spoiled food: Food that’s past its expiration date can emit bad smells, especially if it’s not sufficiently contained.
  • Drain tube buildup: The drain tube transports residual water from the defrost system to a drip pan, where it evaporates. Lingering droplets in the drain tube and drip pan can develop mold or mildew before evaporating so that your refrigerator smells bad outside. If your refrigerator leaks water, the drain tube may also be blocked with debris.
    *Note: Any issues (odor or otherwise) involving the drain tube should only be addressed by a professional refrigerator service technician.
  • Air filter needs replacing: The air filter is a Whirlpool refrigerator deodorizer that screens out odor-causing particles, reducing bad smells. However, it requires regular replacement to function optimally.

why does my whirlpool refrigerator smell

How to Clean a Whirlpool Refrigerator

When odor overtakes your refrigerator, a thorough cleaning can remove most bad smells, while others require some targeted techniques.

Here’s how to clean a Whirlpool refrigerator:

  1. Remove all food: While taking them out, make sure items are properly sealed and dispose of spoiled ones.
  2. Take out removable parts: Unplug the refrigerator and take out shelves, crisper drawers and bins.
  3. Hand wash removed storage: Wash shelves and drawers with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth, avoiding harsh cleansers and abrasive pads that can cause scratching. Rinse all items and dry completely.
  4. Wipe down the interior: Use a cloth dampened with warm water and dish detergent to wipe down all interior surfaces. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
  5. Try a vinegar solution: If odor persists, repeat the above steps using a 1:1 solution of white vinegar or lemon juice and warm water.
  6. Restore power: Plug the refrigerator back in and, if necessary, move it back into position.

If your refrigerator still smells bad after cleaning, the odor may stem from the drain tube or drip pan. We recommend having these components diagnosed and serviced by a professional refrigerator repair technician.

how to clean a Whirlpool refrigerator

Best Way to Prevent Refrigerator Odor

While eliminating bad smells can temporarily solve the problem, keeping them away is key. To avoid another situation where your Whirlpool refrigerator smells bad, regular maintenance is often the answer.

Follow these tips to prevent refrigerator odor:

  • Check stored items regularly: On a weekly basis, make sure stored items are properly contained and shelves and bins are free from spills. Dispose of any unused or spoiled items. Knowing how to organize a refrigerator so all items are visible can help reduce spoilage and food waste.
  • Use deodorizers: An open box of baking soda, a small paper bowl of activated charcoal, or loose balls of newspaper are helpful DIY deodorizers. Place one of each in the refrigerator and freezer and change them regularly to absorb odor.
  • Change air filter regularly: A Whirlpool refrigerator air filter should be changed every 3-4 months to effectively deodorize.

What if my fridge smells bad even after cleaning? A professional service may need to address the problem. Call Cody’s Appliance Repair to tackle any Whirlpool refrigerator concern.