Why Does My Refrigerator Smell Like Chemicals? And How To Fix It?

If your refrigerator smells like plastic or nail polish remover, it probably leaks freon. Freon is a coolant that can cause poisoning if consumed in a considerable amount. Immediately call a professional to identify and troubleshoot the problem.

Nine dogs in Westfield inhaled leaking Freon and bled from their noses to death. “It was a horrible accident,” says the owner.

Freon is a chemical used as a coolant in air-conditioners and refrigerators. In addition to being extremely hazardous to the environment, it also has some severe health consequences if inhaled or ingested in substantial quantities.

That is why always take a chemical smell coming out of your refrigerator seriously, because one of the reasons may be a freon leak.

This article aims to educate you regarding some common reasons your refrigerator may be smelling like chemicals and how you can fix them.

why does my refrigerator smell like chemicals

Common Reasons For Refrigerator Smelling Like Chemicals

If you open your refrigerator door and are welcomed by a strong whiff of pungent chemicals, you may want to look for reasons. Here are a few you can rule out:

1. Freon Leak

Freon is a liquid that runs your refrigerator by producing a cooling effect. It is usually odorless and colorless; however, it sometimes gives off an acrid smell. Although freon is toxic, the poisoning is subject to considerable quantities. So don’t freak out yet.

How will you know if the cause of the chemical smell is freon leaking out of the system?

  • You may notice colorless but greasy liquid pooling beneath your refrigerator.
  • The temperature of the refrigerator will be warmer than usual.
  • Your refrigerator’s motor will never shut down.

How To Fix?

Call a refrigeration professional who will use a leak detection kit to locate and fix the leakage. You will also need freon refilling as it is essential in keeping your refrigerator running.

2. Gasses Emission

Another reason for a pungent smell coming out of your refrigerator can be some poisonous gasses. Refrigerators are electrical appliances that rely heavily on chemicals for proper functioning.

A malfunctioning refrigerator can emit large quantities of ammonia that smells pungent and is detrimental to health. Here are a few precautionary steps you should take to avoid any unhappy incidents if you notice an ammonia smell from your refrigerator:

  • Immediately turn off the appliance
  • Take the food out to avoid contamination
  • Open your room’s door and windows

How To Fix?

Ammonia production in large quantities shows that your refrigerator is not working correctly. Get in touch with a professional to address the problem.

3. Evaporator Fan Contamination

The evaporator is a part of the refrigerator attached to its back, responsible for producing cool air. It also has a fan that circulates this cool air throughout the fridge in conjunction with the evaporator.

Imagine a dirty evaporator fan. If the fan smells terrible, the air it circulates will also smell foul. That is why we recommend cleaning the fan once or twice a year.

How To Fix?

  • Take out the refrigerator panels and wash them thoroughly.
  • Fill a spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap.
  • Shake the bottle well.
  • Now, spray the coils at the back of your appliance with soapy water. Let it drip down.
  • Wipe the tight spaces around and between the coils with a small piece of cloth.
  • Rinse the coils with clean water to remove any detergent and avoid its burnt smell when you plug in the refrigerator.
fan of refrigerator system

4. Cleaning Solutions Accumulation

If you use cleaning products often in your refrigerator, those products could seep into the tight nooks of the appliances and give off a smell. Especially products with bleach or hydrogen peroxide can smell disturbingly pungent.

How To Fix?

  • Deep clean your refrigerator once a month.
  • Avoid overusing chemical cleaners in your refrigerator.

5. Brand New Appliances

Most electrical appliances smell a bit like chemicals when you first use them. The reason may be some chemicals used in their assembly, the brand new plastic in the housing, or just your nose not used to the fresh scent.

How To Fix?

There is nothing you can do to fix the smell of a new refrigerator. The scent will wear off on its own after you start putting food items in it.

How To Get Rid Of The Chemical Smell After You Have Fixed Its Cause?

The chemical smell may linger even after you have diagnosed and treated its cause. Here are a few hacks you can use to remove the strong smell and deodorize your refrigerator:

  1. Mix a jug of warm water and baking soda. Pour in an open bowl and put it in your refrigerator.
  2. Soak a rag in synthetic vinegar and wipe the interiors of the refrigerator with it.
  3. Keep the refrigerator door open for a day. Open the room’s windows to let the smell escape.
  4. Keep orange, lemon, and lime peels in the appliance with the door shut.
  5. Clean the refrigerator thoroughly, including the backside as well.
open fridge

FAQs On Why Does My Refrigerator Smell Like Chemicals

Why does my refrigerator smell like nail polish remover?

A strong chemical smell like that of nail polish remover may signify leaky refrigerant or freon. Seek a professional to identify and troubleshoot the leak.

Can freon leak make me sick?

If your refrigerator is leaking coolant in large amounts, it can cause freon poisoning. It is a severe condition that includes difficulty breathing, coughing, nausea, vomiting, and eye and nose irritation. If left untreated, the state can lead to severe complications.

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