How to Clean Mold From a Refrigerator, Hunker

How to Clean Mold From a Refrigerator

When you close the door to your refrigerator and allow the temperature inside to rise, it becomes a mold-producing machine. The moisture and lack of ventilation in a refrigerator provide ideal conditions for mold growth, and some of the types that grow on food can be harmful; they produce toxins that cause allergic reactions and even cancer. After throwing out your moldy food, clean out the mold in fridge areas before restocking it.

A Word About Bleach

For years, government agencies recommended using chlorine bleach to clean mold and mildew, but they have withdrawn that recommendation. Besides being corrosive and damaging to parts of your refrigerator, including the door gasket and plastic shelves, bleach isn’t necessary. It does kill mold, but it doesn’t penetrate porous materials, such as rubber, so mold spores that are buried deep in these materials can grow back.

Removing moisture, keeping the temperature down and providing ventilation are better mold-control strategies. If you feel safer disinfecting, use vinegar, which does a comparable job and is safer.

Basic Cleaning Procedure

After emptying the refrigerator, remove all the shelves and wash them in the sink with soapy water. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using detergent and water for cleaning mold from hard surfaces. Use the same soapy solution to clean the inside of the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

If you still notice a moldy smell, it’s probably coming from the ice or water dispenser. Clean all the tubes with vinegar and water, removing those you can and using a cotton swab to reach into orifices, such as the water dispenser faucet. If your refrigerator has an air filter, change it every three to six months to prevent it from adding to the mold problem.

Cleaning Fridge Door Seals

Mold particularly likes to grow on the door gasket. It will do so even if the refrigerator is working and the inside is mold-free when the outside temperature is warm enough to support it.

Instead of ruining the gasket by cleaning fridge door seals with bleach, use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar, which are both safer and kill mold. Put full-strength hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in a spray bottle, spray the gasket, then wipe off all the mold with a clean cloth. Use a toothbrush to reach under the gasket and scrub out the mold that’s growing there. Rinse with clean water and leave the door open to let the gasket dry.

You can also mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a quart of warm water to safely clean mold on freezer seal and fridge seal surfaces. Wipe the mixture onto the gasket, rinse it, and dry it.

Preventing Refrigerator Mold

After washing down the interior of the refrigerator with soapy water and rinsing, spray the sides with full-strength vinegar to disinfect it. Allow the spray to stay on the surfaces for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Let the refrigerator dry with the door open, then plug it in and close the door. If you put a bowl of baking soda or a few lemon wedges in the refrigerator, they’ll take care of the vinegar smell.

To prevent mold, always check the refrigerator for dripping water and wipe up any you find. Keep the unit plugged in. The low temperatures and ventilation provided by the air circulation fan will keep mold at bay.

Black Mold in Refrigerator

You may not think to be on the lookout for black mold in your refrigerator, but the steady moisture, loosely sealed leftovers, minimal air movement, and persistent darkness can make the inside of your fridge the perfect breeding ground for black mold. If you find black mold, or any mold in your refrigerator, you must figure out the cause, get rid of the mold, and take steps to prevent the mold from coming back. This article will help you with each of these steps.

What is Black Mold?

Mold can grow anywhere, indoors or outside, and is present everywhere. No doubt, there is mold already present in your house. Any type of mold in your refrigerator is a problem. It’s not usually necessary to precisely identify what kind of mold it is – if you see mold, you need to get rid of it. But when you think about “black mold” you often mean the mold whose scientific name is stachybotrys chartarum. This mold produces mycotoxins, or toxic compounds, that can cause serious health issues if you come into contact with them by either touching or inhaling them.

Regardless of whether the mold in your refrigerator is stachybotrys chartarum or another kind of mold, it can cause health problems for you and your family members. Many kinds of mold have allergenic properties, meaning they can cause sinus congestion, coughing, asthma symptoms, irritated eyes, rashes and more. These problems can become severe and even deadly for people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women, and very young children. All mold types, especially black mold, are a possible danger to your health and should be removed as soon as possible.

Why is There Black Mold in the Refrigerator?

Mold spreads through the air and through surface contact. The number one source of refrigerator mold is mold on food. Some types of food, such as cheese and hard salami, produce mold naturally and can still be eaten once the mold is cut away. These kinds of molds are less likely to spread to other foods and surfaces.

Rotting foods, including most produce, grains and nuts, will develop mold growth that not only destroys the food, but also is dangerous to consume. These molds may spread to the refrigerator through the air circulation, and by sitting in a drawer or on a shelf long enough for the spores to transfer to the plastic or metal surface. The refrigerator is dark much of the day, which allows mold to grow quickly, but you may not see it until it has become a larger issue.

If the mold is being caused by something other than food rot, or returns even after you have cleaned the fridge thoroughly, you may have a mechanical problem with your refrigerator. Perhaps the humidity level is too high, or a leak in the water line that may encourage the growth of mold. An appliance repairman can examine your refrigerator to make sure it is working properly, and perform any necessary fixes.

How to Clean Black Mold in the Refrigerator

The first thing to do if you discover mold in your refrigerator is to remove any obviously rotting foods and uncovered foods and leftovers that could be harboring mold spores. Throw this food away and remove it from your house.

Now, remove the remaining food, beverages and condiments from your fridge and put them in a cooler while you clean. Remove the shelves and drawers, if possible, to have better access to clean the inside walls of the refridgerator.

To properly kill the mold, you need a cleaning solution that disinfects and has the ability to kill mold. An excellent all around mold killer and disinfectant is RMR-141. Baking soda or vinegar with warm water also works well. Not all cleaning products will. Since you are cleaning non-porous surfaces, you can also try a diluted bleach solution (one cup of bleach added to one gallon of water). Spray your cleaning solution on the refrigerator surfaces and allow it to sit for a minute or two. Scrub it with a rag, and then wipe again with a clean damp cloth. Finally, dry the surface with a clean dry cloth or paper towel. Repeat if needed. Be sure to carefully dispose of any paper towels you use and launder any cloths that come into contact with mold in hot water and detergent.

Repeat this process to clean the drawers and shelves, then you can return them to the refrigerator. If there is mold on the rubber seal of the door, you can try cleaning it the same way, but the mold will grow back if it has penetrated the surface and grown into the rubber. If that happens you will need to replace the rubber.

Whenever you’re cleaning with strong chemicals or bleach, wear gloves to protect your skin. If you are sensitive to mold or have allergies or asthma, you may want to wear a mask as well.

If you suspect mold is growing in any part of your refrigerator that you can’t access, such as inside the door panels, in the motor, or within the water dispenser, you won’t be able to get rid of the mold by cleaning. You will need to replace your refrigerator. Make sure you know why the mold developed in the first place so that it doesn’t start growing in your new appliance as well.

Preventing Mold Growth

The most effective way to deal with black mold in the refrigerator is to prevent it in the first place. Keep an eye on mold-prone foods like fruits and vegetables, and discard food that has started to rot immediately. Always cover foods in the refrigerator with plastic wrap, foil, or other food-safe containers. This will prevent mold spores that begin to grow on your food from becoming airborne and settling elsewhere in the fridge.

Make it a regular practice to clean your refrigerator thoroughly, at least once a month. Remove all foods and wipe down surfaces with RMR-141, or another cleaning solution that disinfects, as discussed earlier. Check jarred and bottled foods for signs of mold and get rid of items that are no longer fresh or edible.

Get Professional Help

Mold should always be removed immediately to prevent further contamination to your home. If you think you may have mold growth in areas of your home beyond the refrigerator, you can contact a mold remediation professional in your area for assistance. They will come to your home and give you a free inspection and estimate for removal, if mold is found.

Getting rid of mold in refrigerator — what concentration of bleach?

We just bought a used refrigerator for our garage and it has some mold in the freezer. I heard that the only thing to use is a bleach solution. Does anything else (less smelly) work? If it does have to bleach, how much bleach to how much water?

7 Answers

DON’T use bleach! That will dry out & crack the seals.

Get a large bowl & mix together 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar, three or four drops of teatree oil (makes it smell a bit better & has disinfectant properties) and 3/4 cup of water. Once it’s swirled together, pour in one cup of baking soda.

It will foam like crazy (this is why you need the big bowl). Once the foam dies down, just make sure it’s all mixed together to a cream-soup type of consistency.

Then start smearing the goop all over the fridge, on the seals, walls, etc. Use a sponge or soft scrubber to clean up the mold & black spots & a toothbrush to get the mildew out from the seals at the doors.

Once it’s all scrubbed up, just wipe it down with a dry cloth (it’s okay if some of the baking soda powder stays on the inside of the walls), and make sure the seals have been dried too (otherwise they’ll just mold up again).

You’ll smell the vinegar a little bit at first, but it will die away after about a day.

How to Clean Mold out of a Refrigerator

When it comes to mold, refrigerators are magnets due to the dark, moist, sugar-filled environment. Foods and liquids spill, leftovers get lost in the back, and condiments seem to expire much faster than expected, leaving prime breeding grounds for mold. Black mold is normally first noticed around the gaskets in the doors or on the drawer pull guides and can breed extremely quickly. Luckily, cleaning mold is an easy task, especially on the plastics of newer refrigerators.

Step 1 – Locate All the Mold

Often, the visible mold is only the tip of the iceberg. Completely remove all contents from the fridge including all drawers and shelves. It can be surprising just how much debris or spills can linger underneath the drawers or on the back wall behind the shelves.

Step 2 – Clean the Shelves and Drawers

Shelves and drawers should be cleaned with standard dish soap to get any food or sticky residue off. Once the shelves are clean, spray them down with a solution of one part household bleach to one part water. Allow the bleach spray to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping clean. Pay special attention to the drawer tracks which sit on the guide rails. Invert the drawers and be sure the tracks are soaked in bleach. Cotton swabs can help to clean the bleach out. The bleach kills mold and any spores which could still linger. This will prevent future spreading. When you’re finished, rinse with cold water and set to dry.

Step 3 – Wipe out the Inside

Working from back to the front, spray the bleach solution onto the interior walls of the fridge, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes before you rinse it with cold water and thoroughly dry it. Begin at the back wall and once it’s dry, move to the walls, and lastly, focus on the drawer basin.

Step 4 – Clean the Drawer Guides and Rails

Spray the guide tracks for the drawers with the bleach solution and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Wipe them out with the cotton swabs to remove all mold. Be sure to allow complete drying before replacing them, as mold thrives on moisture.

Step 5 – Clean the Gaskets

Gaskets cannot be cleaned with bleach because it damages the rubber seal. Instead, combine one part white vinegar with one part water inside the other spray bottle. Spray the gaskets on the fridge door and allow them to sit for five minutes before wiping clean. Scrub them with an old toothbrush to remove grime in any hard-to-reach places. Saturate a cotton swab with vinegar and press it into the gasket folds as well. Run the cotton swab along the inner creases to be sure the interior gaskets are clean. Rinse with cold water. Remember, mold breeds from moisture, so be sure to dry thoroughly in order to prevent more spores from growing.

Refrigerator Mold and Mildew Removal and Prevention

If your refrigerator has recently come under fire from mold or mildew infestation, it is important for you to know the proper way to remedy this problem. Once you successfully rid your refrigerator of mold and/or mildew, it will be beneficial to know how to prevent this problem in the future. Below are the measures you will need to take in order to purge your refrigerator of mold and mildew, and to keep it free of filth.

Step 1 — Clear Out Your Refrigerator

The first step in the mold and mildew removal process is clear out your refrigerator upon discovering any mold and/or mildew deposits. When clearing out your fridge, take care to carefully inspect any food items you suspect have gone bad and, should your suspicions prove correct, promptly throw them out, as they may have been the initial cause of your refrigerator-based mold or mildew.

If you happen to have more than one refrigerator in your home, use it to store any perishable items. Once all the food has been cleared out of your fridge and any spoiled items have been thrown out, you’ll be ready to move on.

Step 2 — Produce Your Homemade Mold and Mildew Remover

Now that your fridge has been cleared out, it’s time to proceed with the second step in the mold and mildew removal process. Start by opening up a clean, empty spray bottle, then pour in one cup of white wine vinegar and two cups of warm water.

As a result of its acidic nature, white wine vinegar makes a surprisingly effective mold and mildew cleaner. In fact, because vinegar is a little too abrasive, it is necessary to dilute it with water. After combining your ingredients, seal your spray bottle and proceed with the next step.

Step 3 — Thoroughly Clean Your Refrigerator

Having produced your homemade cleaner, you’re nearly finished with the mold and mildew removal process. You will now need to use your spray bottle to apply your vinegar-based cleaning solution to all the shelves and walls in your refrigerator, making sure to apply a little extra to any areas that are heavily affected by mold and/or mildew deposits.

Next, use a sponge or nonabrasive washcloth to vigorously wipe down the freshly sprayed areas, keeping in mind that any caked on mold or mildew deposits may require a little extra elbow grease. Once the fridge has been completely purged of mold and mildew, spray it down with a water-filled spray bottle to get rid of the lingering scent of vinegar, then dry it with a clean nonabrasive cloth. Follow up by returning all your food items to their respective spots.

Step 4 — Keep Your Refrigerator Safe From Mold and Mildew

Now that you’ve successfully performed the mold and mildew removal process, it is important to keep it safe from mold and mildew in the future. To do this, make a point of throwing out any spoiled food items immediately after discovering them and take care to clean your refrigerator with the previously discussed water-and-vinegar solution at least once a month.

Mold and mildew are the last things you want to see in your refrigerator. By following these steps, they will not be on the shelf next time you open the fridge door!

Mold in the Refrigerator… What To Do?

Do you know a good way to grow some mold in a refrigerator? Here are 3 easy steps:

1. Turn off a refrigerator.

2. Leave the door closed.

3. Wait a few weeks.

See the attached photos. A great environment for mold to grow has been created- no air circulating, mild temperature and plenty of moisture so mold can grow on plastic or residual food.

When this happens how do I fix it?

The most certain method is to replace the refrigerator.

Here is a cleaning procedure I have tried and it did work.

If you have a sensitive individual at home, do not attempt the cleaning. You need a new fridge. Sensitive individuals include those with compromised immune systems, allergies or asthma.

There is no guarantee that mold growth will not return but you have a fair chance of success if the mold has not gone too far. Bacteria should also be reduced by the cleaning but never eliminated completely.

1. Take out the movable shelves, bins, drawers and anything else that can be removed.

2. Clean the movable parts and refrigerator surfaces with some detergent and baking soda dissolved in water. Be careful to wear some goggles to protect the eyes because baking soda is an irritant and molds can enter your body through the eyes. Also wear rubber gloves. Use good quality disposable paper towels with wet strength and a stiff brush. Dispose of the towels in a plastic garbage bag and seal the bag when done.

3. Rinse with water, wipe dry with the paper towels and allow to dry in the open air.

4. Place some baking soda in flat dishes on the refrigerator shelves.

5. Close the door(s) and run the refrigerator at the least cold setting for at least 5 days. Inspect very carefully to make sure the mold growth has not returned and the surfaces are dry.

6. Return the unit to the normal temperature setting. Verify the temperature in the freezer and refrigerator according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

7. Replace the dishes of baking soda with some opened boxes of baking soda . Replace them if they get wet.

8. Make sure you keep all food and beverage containers sealed.

Does this cleaning kill mold?

It is not intended to kill mold, just remove it. Mold is very hard to kill and requires special EPA/DEEP registered chemicals.

Why do we use baking soda?

Baking soda is alkaline, not toxic and a good cleaning agent. Most molds would rather be in an acid environment so any residuals of baking soda would not encourage more mold growth. Baking soda in powder form also helps clean the air as the air circulates through the unit.

Do not use chlorine bleach or cleansers with chlorine

Chlorine bleach will usually roughen or etch the surface and make it easier for new mold to grow.

What about Bacteria?

Stagnant and moist conditions that favor mold growth can also promote bacterial growth. Your best defense is to keep the unit clean and dry when shut down and at the proper working temperature. The cold will slow down the bacterial growth.

What if I prop the door open when I shut down a refrigerator?

The chance of mold growing is slim compared to leaving the door closed. It is also important that the unit is clean and dry.

Rvers Guide

How to Naturally Get Rid of Mold in a Trailer

Mold is every trailer owner`s biggest nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of RV owners sooner or later come across this problem as your camper or motorhome is good environment for mold due to closed environment.

Mold not only looks disgusting, but mold spores can also cause some serious health problems like allergies and skin infection. It can also cause a lot of damage to your trailer internally and externally.

I will show you exactly how to get rid of the mold with simple DIY home remedies (no need to buy expensive mold treatments) and also how to stop it from coming back

Mold needs 3 things to grow- moisture, food and optimum temperature. Mold will grow anywhere as long as there is enough moisture. It also needs optimum temperature. Most mold spores thrive best around 70 degrees Farenheit, but different molds grow in different temperatures from 32 to 120 degrees F.

Mold loves warm temperature and excessive humidity.

How to Detect Mold in a Trailer

No one likes realising that they have mildew in their trailer, but you need to address this problem immediately. You can`t just clean some of the most visible mildew and pretend that the problem has disappeared.

Mold appears as black, green or blue spots. You may also detect mold by a musty smell. Black mold (Stacybotrys Chartarum) is the most toxic and dangerous.

You now have to act like an investigator and detect any mold in your trailer. If you found mold in one place, chances are it is growing on other surfaces as well (even if less visible).

Inspect your trailer very carefully for any signs of mold spores in all these places:

  • Shower
  • Refrigerator
  • Underneath sink and stove
  • Roof vents
  • Walls
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Inside cabinets and storage compartments
  • Under the mattress
  • On the back of the couch
  • In the carpets and under the carpets
  • Under seats
  • On vinyl awnings
  • Ceilings
  • Water and sewer hook-ups

If you are not sure if the mold spores are present in some specific areas or how bad the mold spores are I would suggest getting DIY Mold Testing Kit from Amazon. This might be especially usefull if you are allergic to mold or if your trailer has had some type of water damage. It is easy to use and the results from the lab are sent back to you quickly.

If the mold has attacked the inside of your insulation, then I HIGHLY recommend that you replace it as the mold will not just disappear from places where you can`t kill it properly. The same is with carpet- if you see mold throughout the carpet, then the only option you have is to remove the carpet. I recommend staying away from carpets in your trailer.

How to Clean Mold Out Off a Trailer

When dealing with mold, make sure you wear protective gloves, long sleeve clothing and preferably goggles and a mask to protect yourself. You want to make sure you are not in direct touch with mold spores- they can be dangerous to your health.

I am not a big fan of using toxic mold removal products that contain bleach can be dangerous as well as they can stain or bleach different surfaces. Products that contain bleach can be harmful to your body. Avoid using bleach-based products if you have pets or children around!

Fortunately, there are some simple, inexpensive and most importantly non toxic ways how to clean mold out off you RV. These natural ways how to get rid of mold can be the same effective and are safe to use.


Vinegar is non toxic and can kill 82% of mold species and will work like magic to make the ugly mold disappear. Vinegar has been used to kill mold for years and is very effective.

Chances are you already have vinegar at home. The best is to use white distilled vinegar.

  1. Put vinegar in a spray bottle (use it full strength, no need to mix it with water)
  2. Spray the vinegar on tho the affected area
  3. Leave it to sit down for about an hour
  4. Clean carefully with a sponge and water

Baking soda

Baking soda is another great natural way how to kill mold plus it is also safe to use around kids and pets.

  1. Add approx.. ¼ of baking soda to a spray bottle that has water inside
  2. Shake the bottle and wait while the baking soda dissolves into the water
  3. Spray the solution on to the mold affected area
  4. Use a a brush to scrub off the mold
  5. Spray the baking soda and water solution and leave it for a while so the surface is completely dry

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most common household disinfectants in the world. It works like magic and is also very cheap. In fact, you can clean just about anything with Hydrogen Peroxide, but this time we will use it for mold removal.

  1. Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray on the moldy area
  3. Leave it to sit down for about 10-15 minutes
  4. Scrub off the mold with a brush
  5. Wipe off the surface

There are other natural remedies you can use to get rid of mold like tee tree oil, grapefruit seed extract. They are very effective, but will be more expensive and you may not have them already at home.

Tip! For hard to reach areas and corners use toothbrush to remove the mold.

How to Prevent Mold in a Trailer

Ok, so you have done the dirty job and killed all of the mold in your trailer or motorhome. But you want to make sure that the it does not grow back! So it is important to take the necessary precautions in order to prevent the mold.

  • VENTILATION! Air circulation is the key when it comes to preventing mold in your trailer. Open all windows, doors and vents to ventilate as much as possible. Even if you are using furnace, keep your roof vents at least halfway open.
  • Fix any water leaks in pipes, roof leaks, and damaged caulking.
  • Check if you have any air leaks and fix them.
  • Keep all surfaces dry and clean.
  • When cooking, washing dishes and taking shower, make sure to use vent fan and open window whenever possible.
  • Cover pots and pans when cooking.
  • Do not dry your clothes inside your trailer, especially towels and swimming suits.
  • Avoid carpets or consider removing your existing carpeting.
  • I HIGHLY suggest that you use a dehumidifier to remove all the excess moisture. This Ivation DehumMini Dehumidifier from Amazon is powerful and quite at the same time and will work great for RV- it is great for spaces up to 1,100 cubic feet.
  • Keep the humidity levels between 30 and 50 %. Use indoors humidity monitor to control the humidity.
  • DampRid Hanging Moisture Absorber is great to eliminate excess moisture in small spaces such as RV bathrooms, closets, storage compartments etc. It will not only collect all the excess moisture, but will also help against musty odors and keep the air fresh. It is especially useful when you are storing your travel camper away. It lasts up to 60 days. Just hang it and replace when the water bag is full. Great product to prevent unwanted mold and mildew.
  • Did I already mention VENTILATION? Yes, it is that important! Let your RV breathe!

How To Prevent Mold In RV Refrigerator

Your RV refrigerator is great place for mold to grow due to the dark and moist environment.

When you are storing your RV and have turned off the power, keep the refrigerator doors open so that the air can circulate. I cant` stress enough how IMPORTANT this is if you want to prevent mold in your refrigerator. If you don`t do this, chances are you WILL have mold. It is really the least places you want to see mold growing. Yikes. So make sure the doors are opened when your RV is stored!

If your refrigerator doesn`t have the built in storage clips, then just just use your imagination and be creative – use some towels or newspapers.

Tip! Keep an opened box of baking soda in your refrigerator that will will absorb the moisture and all the odours. Add some fresh coffee grounds to the baking soda to make it more effective. Change it every month.

How to Clean Mold Out of RV Refrigerator

  1. Make sure the refrigerator is switched off.
  2. Remove all trays and drawers and clean them separately (do not use dishwasher as the mold can spread). You can soak them in warm soapy water.
  3. Put white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the vinegar throughout the fridge.
  5. Clean with a sponge and scrub where necessary.
  6. Scrub out the mold from fridge seal and use toothbrush to clean under the gasket.
  7. Wipe everything with paper towels and make sure everything is completely dry.
  8. Sprinkle baking soda throughout the fridge. Let it sit down for about an hour. Then wipe off. This will help to eliminate the musty smell that you might have in your refrigerator.


Thank you so much for the information. my wife and I have been living in our travel trailer for about 6 months and we’re dealing with mold primarily on the window frames. It’s a 2018 model in good condition and we want to keep it that way, plus stay healthy.

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Hi, we are Laura and Danuta. Thanks for stopping by at our RV blog. Our passion is to travel and explore the world and we believe the best way to do that is by RVing. On Rvers Guide we share things as we learn them and do a lot of resrearch to make sure you get the best info. Please connect with us and feel free to leave a comment

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