If there is a strange smell coming from your GE refrigerator, it could be caused by many things.
The short answer is that it’s probably caused by spilled and rotten food or a build-up of grime.
The long answer is that bacteria and molds cause bad odors because microbes love areas with moisture, such as your fridge. Once the moisture builds up in your fridge, the microbes multiply and before you know it have spread throughout your fridge, causing the odor to get worse and worse.
In this guide, we will take you through all of the likely causes of the smell and what you can do to get rid of them.
This guide covers the following GE refrigerator models:
Readjust the Temperature
The first and easiest place to start is to adjust the temperature of your fridge. Bad odors and all the things that cause them are less likely to occur if your fridge is set to the right temperature. Your fridge should be set at between 35°F and 37°F – but it is recommended that you consider adjusting these temperatures if you live in a very humid location. Most modern GE refrigerators will have a thermostat in the fridge, but if not, you can purchase one very cheaply from most major retailers.
Check Your Food
The next step is to have a good look at what is inside your fridge. Check every item and pay special attention to what is stored in the door panels, as they are quite often the culprits of bad smells. If you find any items that smell, throw them away, or if it’s something like cheese causing the odor, make sure it is stored in an airtight container.
Clean Your Fridge
The next step is to give your refrigerator a deep clean. You probably already give your fridge a clean now and then, but it is a good idea to give it a deep clean every 3 months or so. Since your fridge has both plastic and glass in it, this means it is susceptible to moisture and grime building up in it.
Here’s a good way to give your refrigerator a deep clean:
- Turn your refrigerator off at the wall so it can defrost.
- Get a cooler and put all your food in it.
- Remove the shelves, give them a good clean, and then let them dry off.
- Use a disinfectant to give the whole fridge and freezer a good clean, and then let it dry before putting all of the shelves and food back inside.
Check the Drip Pan
Once you have investigated all of the possible “inside” causes of the bad smell, the next place to look is the outside. Start by inspecting the drip pan. The role of the drip pan is to collect water when it melts from the evaporator coils, and then the water evaporates by the condenser fan blowing warm air onto it – essentially so you don’t have to manually empty it. You can check it by:
- Turning the fridge off at the wall and pulling your fridge out so you can access the back of it.
- Locate the drip pan underneath the fridge. You may need to remove the back panel of the fridge to access it properly.
- Check to see if there is any build-up of water, mold, or grime that might be causing a bad smell to occur, and if so, give it a good clean. If there is a significant build-up of water, then you will need to check why that is happening.
Inspect the Water Filter
Sometimes a damaged or old water filter can emit odors and will need to be replaced. Here’s how to check your water filter:
- Locate the water filter in your refrigerator.
- Remove the water filter from the filter housing and check it to see if it is damaged or is emitting a bad odor.
- If the water filter is damaged or emitting any bad odors, you should replace it. Most water filters need to be replaced periodically – you can find out how often in your refrigerator’s manual.
Clean the Drain
Another possible source of a bad smell in your fridge is the drain. You can flush it out to make sure there is nothing stuck in it. You can do that by:
- Locating the drain. It is typically found at the bottom of the fridge underneath the vegetable drawers.
- Use a plumbing snake to loosen any clog in the drain or a piece of wire if you don’t have one.
- Once you have checked that the drain isn’t blocked, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baking soda down the drain. You can then slowly pour 2 cups of hot water down the drain to flush it out. This should give it a good clean and remove any smells.
- Finally, remove the drain pan underneath the fridge, empty it, and give it a good clean.
Keep the Smell Away
At this point, hopefully, you have found the cause of the smell and removed it. Once you have done that, it’s a good idea to take some simple steps to keep the smell away and to make sure your fridge is always smelling nice. You can do that by simply doing one of the following things:
- Silica mats can help to absorb excess moisture from produce, and so they can help keep odors away by preventing produce from rotting prematurely. You can buy silica mats at most major retailers.
- You can also place a dish of baking soda in your fridge on a shelf, which acts as an odor absorber. Some people also place activated charcoal and vanilla extract in their fridge for the same purpose.