Appliance Repair Forum

Appliance Repair Forum (
-   Refrigerator & Freezer Repair (
-   -   Sweet smell from under fridge when fan is on (

ldk43 07-28-2010 05:38 PM

Sweet smell from under fridge when fan is on
There is a faint, but noticeable by me, sweet smell coming out from under my side-by-side fridge when the fan is running. There is no smell inside the refrigerator. The drainage pan was not accessible from either the front or the back, but I was able to get my relatively small hand in it from the front and sopped out the water with a sponge. It didn't seem particularly bad, though the bottom of the pan did look brownish. No smell from the sponge. The smell reminds me of urine, without the ammonia -- kind of icky sweet. Any suggestions? thanks

durfman 09-23-2010 09:20 PM

having same urine like smell from back of whirlpool fridge

Saw your comment on the whirlpool fridge smell. We got our whirlpool side by side just over a year ago and for a good portion of the time now have been noticing a sweet, pungent almost urine like smell coming from the back of the fridge right near the vent from the fan above the drip pan. Like you i sopped up what little water was in the drip pan (very difficultly mind you, no room at all) but noticed no real odor out of the water. I even cleaned the tray with alcohol and wipes but still not that dirty. Shortly after the fridge produced the same smell. Its overwhelming and very frustrating. I even had repair man come out, sadly the smell was not present when he was there and he convinced me it was my walls or floor.

Have you gotten anywhere with this or found any answers or solutions!!? Im so lost and fear it will be a never ending battle trying to find the problem or get whirlpool to replace it! Please help if you can.



ldk43 09-29-2010 09:53 AM

Sweet Smell from Under Fridge
READ NEXT POST FIRST: I had sucess in eliminating this odor by threading my hand through the front "access" area -- which would be very hard for anyone with a large hand -- and used a sponge to soak up any water in the drip pan, and also wipe it clean to the best of my ability -- I may have used a tool such as a barbecue or kitchen tongs to hold the sponge. The tray didn't have that much standing water, but it had a film of dirt and dust on it. Then I sprayed it with Clorox Clean-up and wiped it down again.

I can see no reason for this pan to be so inaccessible, and actually locked in place with a cage that needs a special tool or screwdriver to remove. Would like to know the manufacturer's reason for such a diabolical arrangement. I felt like a lab monkey trying to retrieve something from behind bars!

I will admit that this seemed to cure the problem for now. I haven't been noticing the sweet smell.

Good luck, Leslie in Cincinnati

ldk43 09-29-2010 10:02 AM

Sweet Smell from Under Fridge - Reply #2
I just remembered something else we did. My husband thought that the smell might be coming from the drain tube at the bottom of the freezer... that mildew might have grown inside that tube. So we removed the bottom basket, then mixed up a mild solution of water and Clorox, and "tossed" it through the grating in back into the drain hole. I thought he was nuts, but I was ready to try anything. I did this a couple of times until the drain pan had filled up. THEN I threaded my hand and tong with sponge through the front and sopped up the water.

Voila -- it worked. Haven't noticed the smell at all.

Sorry I forgot about this when I replied a few minutes ago -- maybe because it was my husband's Idea??!!

Leslie in Cincinnati

woodlandgene 09-29-2010 09:41 PM

im having this same problem....mine occurred after a power outage...i was away and by the time i got back a week had gone by with no power!!
There wasnt alot of food in the cleanup was minimal and after washing the whole thing out..the food odors were faint..i though I was Ok until i plugged it in....then this terrible Urine-like smell came out from below where the fan is blowing hot air smells in the freezer as well...but mostly from the air vent on the bottom..the inside of the fridge just smells faintly of food.....i didnt understand the last poster's explantion of "Throwing"the clorox mixture..where do you throw it?? HELP??

ldk43 10-01-2010 07:50 AM

Whirlpool Drain Hole Location
the drain hole for the freezer is at the bottom of the compartment, behind an immovable grate/grid. To see this, remove the bottom basket completely and look to the very back. I think when I saw that I wouldn't be able to pour my Clorox/water solution into the hole because of the grate, that I used a turkey baster to squirt the solution through or under the grating into the hole. This solution was room temp, so it would melt any ice crystals in the drain tube, and hopefully leave enough Clorox residue to kill any bacteria or spores that might be creating the odor. After I did that, I throughly cleaned the drainage tray under the fridge using a sponge and paper towels. May have had to use tongs because the access was so difficult.

As far as the term "tossing" is concerned, I think when I had just a little bit of the solution left, I sort of tossed it through the grate into the drain hole.

I did this several months ago, after my first posting, and I can't remember exactly what I did. But it seemed to work to rinse out the drain tube. Leslie in Cincinnati

Tom776 05-30-2011 02:17 PM

Sweet stench from fridge
My whirlpool fridge had this problem. The second tech(7th) repair visit discovered that expanding foam insulation had crept into the freezer defrost compartment. Health Canada and the electrical safety authority made them remove the appliance for testing. Have a kitchen aid now with the same problem. Must be my house? Nope. Moved fridge to new open location. Replaced floor underneath. Cleaned all element/rads underneath. Drain pan is clean. Still a toxic stench. Maybe the defrost heater burning the expanding foam was not the problem

prib 03-20-2012 11:36 PM

We had a horrible smell coming from under our side by side. Unplug fridge, tilt it back, have someone hold it in this position. Remove the drip pan. There maybe a couple of screws holding it in. Remove the screws then remove the drip pan. Clean it with bleach. Finally the nasty smell will be gone for good!. Very easy to do. You will need two people. My wife helped me. No repair man needed. Good luck.

Sybs 07-26-2013 01:00 PM

sweet smell
We had a terrible odor in our kitchen for 9 days before we figured out it was the fridge. It was an overwhelming sweet urine smell. We were convinced that an animal had somehow gotten into our attic rafters and was urinating inside our walls - it was THAT bad! We went under the house, up into the attic twice and onto the roof looking for evidence, but could find no sign of any animals. I cleaned the garbage disposal, checked all the cupboards, and we pulled out all the appliances including the dishwasher - nothing. I even climbed up on chairs to smell light fixtures to see if anything smelled hot. The odor was so strong at times it made my nose burn. I am very much into cooking/organic, non-GMO foods and we rarely go out to eat, so you can imagine this was quite a serious predicament for us. After several days I was actually in tears over it because we could not pinpoint the source. Finally, after reading some comments on this site, and figuring it had to be coming from something that runs all the time (even though it would come and go, like the cycle of a refrigerator running - duh!), we pulled out the fridge again, waited for it to kick on, and I got down on my hands and knees to smell the back vent. BINGO!
A month ago we'd had strong straight line winds come thru and we were without power for 48 hours. We quickly unloaded our fridge/freezer and moved our food to a relatives house. However, a couple of times I opened the freezer door and there was a brown liquid running from the back left corner (under a small enclosed compartment of some kind at the upper left) to the front that I wiped up with paper towels. We have no idea what it was since the freezer was empty, but it happened 2-3 times and I just wiped it up without giving it another thought. Apparently, whatever this liquid was, and wherever it came from, it must have drained down into the drip pan. When our power returned, I had already cleaned the entire fridge before putting everything back, so all was spic n' span. Two weeks later we caught the first inkling of a strange odor which just kept increasing as the days went on. We called pest control, who said they couldn't help us, and were just about to phone a wildlife expert to come to our house, which would have cost us hundreds of dollars, when we finally discovered it was coming from the fridge vent.
Our Frigidaire is still under warranty and the repairman came today. For some unknown reason, refrigerators are made with non-removable drip pans now. We had to tilt the fridge sideways, my husband held it at an angle on one side while the guy took out two screws so the pan would slide out. It had this putrid brownish liquid with white blobs of goodness knows what floating in it - sickening! I got rid of all the crud, washed and dried it and he screwed it back into place. Problem solved - we are very grateful and relieved to have the mystery and stench behind us!
If you figure out that this is your problem and don't want to spend the $$ for a repair, take everything out of your fridge, get someone to help you tilt it, remove the two screws and take care of it yourself. If your fridge is older and the drip pan is removable, just follow your instructions booklet for cleaning - it's very simple and easy. Hope this helps.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17