The refrigerator is not a magical appliance where every product will not get spoiled. Mold in fridge is quite common, attacking bread, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. Mold does not give heed to things like cold temperature or cured meat. When the fungi find an ideal place to grow, they will form mold there.
Mold in a fridge is a health hazard, especially if it is black mold. The spores can induce allergic reactions to sensitive people. The mycotoxin is dangerous if ingested, especially for people with immunodeficiency.
Table of Contents
- A. Why Mold Grows in Fridge
- B. How to Clean Mold from Fridge
- C. How to Clean Mold on Fridge Gasket
- D. Tips to Keep Foods Safely in Fridge
- E. Tips to Maintain the Fridge
A. Why Mold Grows in Fridge
Mold inside refrigerator can grow because of several factors, and premature freezing of hot foods is one of them. If you place warm foods inside the fridge, they can create an ideal temperature for mold and bacteria. They also force the fridge to work harder than usual, spending more energy.
Some foods such as blue cheese, cured meat, and tempeh get their unique flavor and texture from the mold. You may expect to see extra growth on their surfaces, which you can just scrape. However, bread, fruits, and vegetables are also prone to mold. The mold damage extends to the inside of the foods, which can be dangerous if eaten even after you scrape them.
Black mold in refrigerator can grow if you never maintain the fridge (especially the old one). Spillage, dirt, residue, or mold spores that spread from moldy foods can cause other foods to get infested.
Finally, mold can also grow on the fridge’s rubber gasket. It is a seal that helps the door for closing tightly. The gasket is often exposed to airflow and moisture, making it an ideal place for mold.
B. How to Clean Mold from Fridge
When you find mold in refrigerators, make sure to conduct thorough cleaning to prevent it from spreading. Here is how to do it:
1. Prep the fridge
Unplug the fridge before cleaning. If you have meat and other frozen foods, you can keep the freezer on if possible (or place them in a cooler with ice cubes). Take out all the products inside the fridge.
2. Take out the moldy foods
When you see moldy foods, trust your eyes and don’t smell them, since the spores can fly into your nostrils. Take them out immediately, along with other foods that are stored next to them.
3. Make a cleaning solution
Baking soda is considered a natural fungicide. Add a tablespoon of this powder into a bucket of water.
4. Clean removable parts
Take out all the shelves and basins from the fridge, and wipe everything down with a clean cloth. After cleaning everything, discard the cloth and throw away the dirty water.
5. Clean the fridge walls
Make a new baking soda solution in a clean bucket. Use a new cloth to wipe all fridge walls.
6. Clean containers
If there are containers in the fridge, such as Tupperware jars or plastic food boxes, take them out and clean them with baking soda.
Wait until the entire fridge is dry before putting back the shelves and containers. Don’t return foods that have been in the fridge for too long.
C. How to Clean Mold on Fridge Gasket
Fridge gasket is made of rubber, so you must use a cleaning solution that will not dry it up. WD-40 is a popular product that works quite well against mold on the rubber gasket. You can also make a white vinegar solution, using one part of vinegar and two parts of water. Clean the gasket from dirt first before rubbing the liquid on its surface.
To make sure that there is no mold between cracks, use cotton buds to reach small spots. Repeat the rubbing until all the mold is scraped off. Finish by rubbing the gasket with mild soap and a clean cloth. Add lubricant like Vaseline to smoothen the rubber’s surface after cleaning.
D. Tips to Keep Foods Safely in Fridge
After knowing what causes mold in fridge, you must fix the way you store foods there. Here are several tips for storing foods without inviting mold:
1. Store foods after they reach room temperature
If you have an uneaten hot meal, wait until it reaches room temperature before keeping it in the fridge. This is to prevent warm temperature that will encourage mold.
2. Check foods before putting them in the fridge
If you want to keep perishable foods in the fridge, check their conditions before actually putting them in. See if there are dark spots or unpleasant odor that indicate mold.
3. Store foods properly
There are reasons why containers and shelves in the fridge are made to store specific foods. Keep vegetables and fruits in the bottom crisper, separated from other foods. Keep meat and fish in the fridge, stored in a plastic bag or container.
4. Don’t hoard leftovers
Hoarding leftovers increase the risk of mold, especially if you forget when you keep them. Make sure to keep the newest leftovers in the back, so you eat the oldest ones first.
Don’t keep bread in the fridge. Prepare a special airtight container to store it, and keep it on a bright place in the kitchen. If you have to store bread in the fridge, keep it in the container.
E. Tips to Maintain the Fridge
Good maintenance can prevent mold in fridge. The most obvious method is to keep the fridge clean from spillage and food particles. Make sure to wipe any spillage after it happens. The cold temperature will make any stain harder to clean.
If possible, use an antibacterial wipe to clean spillage and the exterior of the fridge. Also, avoid opening the fridge too often if you don’t have anything to take out or store. This allows air and moisture to seep into a rubber gasket, creating an ideal place for mold.
Finally, make sure you select and throw away old, expired foods once a month. Clean the fridge every two or three months, using a thorough cleaning method.
Mold can grow in the fridge if the condition is ideal. Keeping the fridge clean and cool is important to prevent mold. Old foods can also spread mold in fridge, especially things like bread, fruits, and vegetables. Use this guide to prevent mold from growing in your refrigerator.