GE Refrigerator Smells Like…[Problem Solved]

A refrigerator, no matter the brand, should always smell clean and fresh. So if your GE GE refrigerator smells like it needs cleaning, something is wrong.

GE Refrigerator Smells Like

GE Refrigerator Smells Like a Dead Animal – Quick Fix

If your GE refrigerator smells like a dead animal, do the following:

1. Reduce the Temperature

Use a thermometer to check the temperature in your refrigerator. What it reads will determine where you need to set it.

However, if the internal temperature is too high, food spoils easily. And that, among other things, will explain the foul odor. Therefore, it is important to keep the internal temperature as cold as possible to preserve food and prevent a future occurrence of the foul odor from the unit.

Be sure to set the temperature to the correct point as recommended. Doing this also prevents the buildup of moisture, which contributes to the smell.

2. Inspect the Content

Open the refrigerator and inspect the content. Start with what you have on the door of the unit. This is because the food there goes bad faster than the food in other areas.

But if you have no food stored there or none there is bad, check other areas. Be sure to open every container and sealed bag, and look in the back of the refrigerator. When you find the source of the smell, take it out and dispose of it.

Furthermore, wrap up any food with a strong smell in an air-tight bag or store it in a container with a good lid.

3. Clean the Refrigerator

Sometimes, removing the source of the offensive smell does not make the smell disappear completely.

So if you find that the bad odor lingers, clean the unit thoroughly. Empty the refrigerator, storing the leftover good food in another refrigerator or cooler. Be sure to use ice packs with the food to preserve it.

Take the shelves, bins, drawers, and racks out of the refrigerator, too. This way, you will be able to clean it without hindrance.

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Mix mild soap in warm water and clean the unit with a rag. Be sure to reach all the parts inside. If you have a newer model, you may notice a spill-proof shelf to catch little spills.

But take the shelf out and wash it, making sure to scrub all the tight corners. This is because it is easy for bacteria to hide between plastic and glass. And this can cause an awful smell. After washing it, disinfect it with the right disinfectant.

Specific Places to Clean…

After the thorough cleaning and while you are waiting for the refrigerator to dry, there are a few other places to clean. This is especially needed if the bad odor remains after you clean the unit.

i. Drain Pan

This is where water from the unit collects and you will typically find it under the refrigerator. If there has been rotten or moldy food in the refrigerator, chances are that condensation from them has collected in the pan.

Over time, it begins to smell. And this is made especially possible because of its position close to the motor of the condenser fan.

So, locate the pan and empty it. Wash it in warm water and soap and dry it thoroughly. Next, pour some disinfectant into it to clean and sanitize it. Bleach works great here. The disinfectant will neutralize the smell and kill dangerous microbes in it.

You can also use this opportunity to clean and disinfect the refrigerator’s drainage system.

ii. Condenser Coils

It seems far-fetched but it is possible for mold to grow on the coils. While it is rare, it happens due to their location, and the smell from it can be so bad.

Unplug the refrigerator and take a rag to the coils. If you have to remove a grille before reaching them, be sure to clean the grille, too.

Reach under the unit and wipe as much as you can. If you can move it, all the better. There may be filthy water pooled under it, causing the dead animal smell.

iii. Water Filter

An old filter can cause a stench, believe it or not. Therefore, check the filter to determine if it needs to be replaced or if it is damaged.

If you have never replaced it, it is time to do so. And if it has been longer than 6 months since the last change, replace it.

iv. Door Seal

Mix mild soap in warm water and clean the seal around the door of the refrigerator. Take your time so you reach all the grooves that tend to be in the seal.

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Food crumbs and other things can find their way into the seal. When you constantly open and close the door, you leave behind dirt on it, even when you are not aware.

Over time, the crumbs rot and begin to smell. So if you notice the smell remains after cleaning other places, try the seal.

Eliminate the Odor

Put a box or bowl of baking soda inside the refrigerator and leave it there for a few days. Doing this will neutralize the awful smell.

Another option is taking a wad of cotton wool, soaking it in vanilla extract, and leaving it in the unit overnight.

You can also roll up breadcrumbs and soak them in vinegar before leaving them inside the unit. Additionally, leaving charcoal inside the refrigerator works at eliminating the odor.

GE Refrigerator Smells Like Chemicals – Quick Fix

If a GE refrigerator smells like chemicals, it is mostly leaking freon or gas. Freon is the gas that cools your freezer and is typically odorless. It is also colorless so you will not see it if it is leaking.

However, a leak of the gas is the likeliest reason why your GE refrigerator smells like chemicals. In this case, contact GE to report the issue. Then request service from a certified service technician.

GE Refrigerator Hoots Like an Owl – Quick Fix

Check the following if a GE refrigerator hoots like an owl:

1. Condenser Fan

Debris, dust, and dirt in and around the fan and its motor can cause this strange sound. So, move the unit a little to see the fan. Then check the blades for dirt and lint. Clean them thoroughly before checking the motor.

Spray the motor using a can containing condensed air. This does a thorough job of ridding the motor of any dirt or debris. If all these don’t stop the noise, the motor may be bad.

Test the motor using a multimeter to check if it is still working. If it is not, replace it.

Note: Unplug the refrigerator before checking or cleaning the condenser coils.

2. Evaporator Fan

Much like the condenser fan, this fan can gather dirt and debris despite its location behind the rear panel of the freezer section. And this can cause the hooting noise.

Open the door of the freezer and hold it open for about 30 seconds. If the hooting noise gets louder, the fan is the source.

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Remove the rear panel of the freezer to reach the fan. Take a cloth and clean the blades as well as the motor. A brush will reach the motor better so use one after cleaning with the cloth.

However, replace the fan motor if the noise continues. But first, test it with a multimeter to check for continuity.

Note: Unplug the refrigerator before checking the fan.

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GE Refrigerator Smells Like It Is Burning – Quick Fix

If you notice your GE refrigerator smells like it is burning, turn it off immediately. Unplug it from the wall outlet and contact GE to report the issue.

A defect in the design could cause electrical wiring to start melting and burning. It could also originate from the power cord. It may help to check the cord while you wait for the service technician.

In addition, inspect other parts of the refrigerator while it is off.

GE Refrigerator Smells Like Fish – Quick Fix

Check the following if a GE refrigerator smells like fish:

  • Start relay
  • Start capacitor
  • Fan motors
  • Compressor

If any or all fail, it may cause stagnant water to build up in the unit. With time, it begins to give off a smell like fish.

Before this, though, check the food in the refrigerator. Something may be giving off the smell or there is rotten food in there.

You should also check the drip pan. Dispose of its contents and wash it. Scrub it if you have to without being too harsh.

Afterward, sanitize it with bleach or any other suitable disinfectants. You may find that the smell vanishes after this.

Giving the unit a thorough clean will take care of the smell. But don’t just clean the interior; clean the exterior, too. Take care to clean the condenser coils, where mold can breed due to its location.

Then, put a box or bowl of baking soda inside the unit. Baking soda is great at absorbing and eliminating smells.

And ensure you clean the refrigerator regularly. It helps to catch foul odors early and to inspect food. This way, you know what’s not good anymore.


A GE refrigerator that smells strange is cause for concern. Clean the unit and throw out old food items.

Check parts of the refrigerator for faults and replace bad ones. It is good to make regular cleaning and maintenance checks of the unit a habit.

However, if all else fails, contact GE for support and assistance. 


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