If I have to go out-station for long time,it is recommended to switch-off the refrigerator if there is no food in there to avoid any electrical accidents.

But,when I open the refrigerator after a while(when it is switched-off),it give off a bad odor and traces of fungal attack is identified.

What should be done in this case?

  • Your bad odour problems might be due to a dirty refrigerator. Disinfect it from time to time regardless of whether the power is on or off.
    – Stan
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


You should clean out the interior of your refrigerator with a mild solution of bleach and soap. You should only need to do this before you leave for a long time.

When you are using the fridge, unless you are moving around like a lab technician, little bits of food and fluids (like milk, e.g.) will drip and fall into the fridge.

When the fridge is running, these small amounts of material do not serve as "food" for airborne funguses and bacteria, because the cold environment and positive airflow keep those things from entering the interior of the fridge.

But when you turn it off, it's just a box, with tiny bits of food and dried fluid in it. Over time, the bacterial/fungus life around your fridge will creep in, and use that material to grow and live.

In the case of the fungus (which is essentially like plants), it will settle in, and grow, sort of like moss.

In the case of the bacteria (which are kind of like animals), they will eat the stuff, and then run out of food, and die -- leaving a stink.

When you leave on long deployment:

  • Turn off the fridge
  • Remove all the food/contents
  • Wipe the interior down with a bleach/water/soapy sponge
  • Wipe it down AGAIN with water so you don't leave a soap residue
  • Leave the door open if you can
  • Maybe consider leaving an open box of Arm & Hammer baking soda in there to fight odors, especially if you must leave it closed

It's a little hassle on the way out to avoid a LOT of hassle on your return.

  • "unless you are moving around like a lab technician" you have never seen a lab technician work, or? there is a good chance of spills and stains everywhere.
    – Julian
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 11:20
  • Actually, lab technicians and lab scientist should be meticulous with their work @Julian to avoid cross contamination of samples if you think lab technicians are messy workers, you've been reading the wrong description of their duties
    – Just Do It
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 16:23
  • Or worked in a University next to technicians. Students and phd are not better, but If remember back the stains, the boiling waste barrels, exploding sodium lumps in water, comments like "cool, my fume hood is burning"... In the industry, esp. in the analytical company I`m now working, work cleanlines is much different, but also here you can see the problems. Just look in the food fridge and at the lunch table after lunch...
    – Julian
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 19:42
  • 1
    Bleach and soap is acid and base. Use one or the other. Or use soap, rinse, and then use bleach.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 8:00
  • 1
    The only thing I would add to the above is to put a bundled up towel over the doors or use something to prop the doors open to avoid them swinging shut while gone and creating an environment to grow mildew. Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 14:52

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