LG Refrigerator Smells Like…[Solved]

An awful smell from your refrigerator is not a tale you want to tell. So if your LG refrigerator smells like something died twice in it, this article is for you.

LG Refrigerator Smells
Photo Credit: Walmart.com

Bad Smell Coming from LG Refrigerator – What to Do

If your LG refrigerator has a bad smell coming from it, do the following:

1. Clean the Refrigerator

To properly clean an LG refrigerator that smells bad, take the following steps:

Step 1

Get your work tools together. You will need clean towels, mild soap or detergent, water, a soft-bristled brush, and baking soda.

Mix 2 spoons of baking soda and a quart of water, warm water preferably. Make sure the baking soda dissolves completely before using the mixture for cleaning.

There are two ways to use the mixture: in a cleaning bucket where you can dip a towel to clean or in a squirt bottle to spray and clean.

Step 2

Disconnect the refrigerator from the power outlet. Then, empty it of all food and other items. If there are foods that have expired, throw them out.

For food that perishes easily, store it in another refrigerator if you have access to one. Otherwise, find a well-insulated cooler, pack it with ice, and store the food in it.

To make the cleaning process less stressful and short, remove racks, bins, and shelves from both compartments of the refrigerator. Leave the refrigerator completely empty. You can take this opportunity to wash them.

Step 3

If the cleaning solution is in a cleaning bucket, dip one of the towels in it and begin to clean the refrigerator. Start from the top and work your way to the bottom of the unit. Cleaning this way eliminates the problem of dirty water or food particles dropping on already cleaned areas.

Be sure to clean every hole and crevice. Use the soft-bristled brush, an old toothbrush preferably, to reach tight or small areas. These areas hide the most dirt and breed bacteria so it is important to reach them.

Additionally, clean the door seals. While they are a highly overlooked part of the refrigerator, door seals hide a lot of dirt, making them a great habitat for microbes.

Scrub away stains with the brush but be gentle while scrubbing so you don’t destroy the seals. If you are using warm water for the cleaning, it makes removing stubborn stains much easier.

After cleaning the interior part of the unit, take another towel with clean water and wipe it down to dry it, and remove baking soda residues.

Then, wipe every trace of moisture from the refrigerator and leave the doors open to air dry.

Step 4

Clean the exterior of the unit. You may have to move it to be able to reach the back of it. Mild soap on a damp cloth is enough; avoid abrasive or harsh cleaners, especially on stainless steel.

Wipe the body in the direction that the grains go. Don’t go in the opposite direction as you may leave dirt marks ingrained on the surface or even scratch it. You may end up with a dirtier or defaced refrigerator.

In addition, don’t clean the control panel with a wet towel. The same applies to electric parts and light bulbs. If you absolutely have to clean them, wring the towel completely to remove excess water before using it.

Step 5

While you wait for the refrigerator to air dry, wash the bins, racks, and shelves. Food crumbs that stick to and dry on them can create a bad smell, especially if the internal temperature of the unit is not steadily cold.

Put them in your kitchen sink and run warm water over them. Wash them thoroughly with mild dishwashing soap.

Don’t run hot water over glass shelves if they are still cold from the unit. You risk cracking or breaking them and injuring yourself if you do because the change in temperature makes them brittle. Allow them to sit until their temperature rises to meet that of the room.

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After washing them, dry them with a clean, lint-free towel to prevent marks. Then, allow them to air dry, too.

Step 6

If the refrigerator is completely dry at this point, replace the shelves, racks, and bins. Next, reconnect the refrigerator to electric power and allow it to cool to a food-safe level before putting the food back into it.

Removing rotten or expired food items is not enough to eliminate the bad smell coming from your LG refrigerator. Some of the food particles, as well as the smell, may have adhered to the linings and crevices of the unit, causing the smell. Hence, the need to clean the unit.

2. Clean the Condenser Coils

To clean the condenser coils of an LG refrigerator that smells bad, unplug the refrigerator and move the refrigerator out and away from the wall behind it to create room. Find the condenser coils at the bottom back and inspect them. More likely than not, they are dirty so clean them with a vacuum cleaner or condenser cleaning brush if you have one.

If the vacuum cleaner or brush does not do a thorough job of cleaning them, use a cloth to wipe them clean. But if you cannot reach them easily, leave them.

Ensure you clean the floor around the coils so the dirt does not adhere to them again.

Due to their location, the condenser coils easily hide debris that can cause bad odors over time. Apart from removing dust, it is important to move the unit and clean under the coils to remove anything hiding there.

3. Clean the Drain Pan

Find the drain pan at the bottom part of the unit, near the compressor. Remove it and wash it in clean hot water and detergent. Scrub it with a brush to remove hard stains. Afterward, rinse it in clean running water.

Next, sanitize it with bleach or any other food-safe agent. Allow it to soak for a few minutes before emptying it and rinsing it again with a lot of water.

Dry it completely with absorbent paper towels or a dishrag. Make sure no moisture that can freeze is left on it. Then, put it back under the unit after this.

Water from the defrost cycle and other functions drain to the pan at the bottom of the refrigerator. Sometimes, they carry food crumbs into the drain and these crumbs don’t evaporate with the water.

Over time, they rot and begin to give off a bad odor as microbes fester and grow there. This is one of the main reasons your LG refrigerator smells bad.

4. Inspect Behind the Freezer Panel

While cleaning the refrigerator, remove the inside back panel of the freezer section and inspect the space. Clean it if it is dirty and smelly. You may have to wait a few hours if there is ice back there.

With the water and baking soda mixture, clean the bottom of the space, under the coils. Remove every trace of dirt, including over the drain hole.

If you suspect dirt in the hole, squirt some hot water into it and push any debris down with a stiff wire. Then, pour water into the hole until it runs clear.

Dry the top of the hole and bottom of the space to remove moisture before replacing the panel.

Defrost water that flows to the drain pan goes through the back of the freezer. The water can deposit dirt there if it is carrying any. Therefore, it is important to clean the area if your LG refrigerator smells bad.

This video shows one way to eliminate bad odor from your LG refrigerator…

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LG Refrigerator Smells Like Burning – Quick Fix

If the refrigerator is new, the smell may be a part of getting started – breaking the unit in, if you may. New refrigerators may present odors such as burning, plastic, fish, or rubber.

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As the brand new insulation and motor coils kick into action, they begin to heat up and give off a weird smell. The smell should stop after a few operating cycles.

However, if the smell continues for an extended period or you smell burning from your refrigerator even though it is not new, disconnect it from power immediately. Then, inspect the air filters to see if there is any item trapped in the filter locations.

These items may begin to heat up as the refrigerator operates and start giving off a burning smell. Replace the air filters if necessary.

But if doing this does not eliminate the smell, then there may be a wiring or electrical problem. Check the power cord for signs of melting or burns.

Next, open the refrigerator and check the light and wiring for burns. There may be areas in the interior part that are too hot to touch or there may even be smoke. This is an indication of faulty wiring and must be fixed as quickly as possible.

After checking these, contact LG and report the issue, making sure to describe what you see as clearly as possible.

If there is no quick response, find a reliable electrician nearby to check the refrigerator. All this while, keep the unit unplugged from power.

It helps to regularly run maintenance checks on your LG refrigerators. LG recalled a line of refrigerators in 2005 because the internal light remained even after closing the door. This led to plastic overheating and melting, creating a fire hazard.

In light of this, have a service technician handy for such maintenance checks. If you are handy yourself, you can employ your DIY skills to check the ice maker and other refrigerator parts on a regular basis.

LG Refrigerator Smells Like Chemicals – Solution

If you are getting a chemical smell from your LG refrigerator, it is most likely because the refrigerator is leaking freon.

Disconnect the refrigerator from power and move it from the wall. From your user manual, find the location of the tubing that transports freon throughout the refrigerator. If you find it, put your nose close to it to see if the chemical smell is strongest there.

In addition, if you can find the expansion valve from the manual, all the better. This is where the refrigerant that cools the refrigerator goes through a tiny aperture that turns it to vapor.

If the smell is strongest there, you have a leak. Unfortunately, this is not a repair you can do, even if you have great DIY skills. Not only is it unsafe but it is also illegal.

Therefore, hire a licensed appliance technician to check the system, find the leak, and fix it permanently.

LG Refrigerator Water Smells Bad – Quick Fix

Do a thorough job of cleaning the refrigerator regularly. Be detailed in cleaning the interior part as that is where the water comes from. This is the most probable cause of the bad smell in the water.

Ensure you close and seal food items properly. Store food that has rich odors, such as cheese, in air-tight containers so they don’t give off odors that linger and become pungent.

Also, you can set boxes of baking soda, which is great at absorbing odors. However, don’t open the boxes so the baking soda does not circulate and settle in the water or ice.

While it may not be readily evident that your refrigerator has a bad smell, the taste and smell of the ice and water will alert you to this.

Other Factors to Consider…

You may have repaired or replaced the water line to the refrigerator recently. If that is the case, it tends to affect the smell and taste of water. The smell will depend on the manufacturing material of the line.

Dispense about 2 gallons of water from the refrigerator to flush and clear the line. Smell the water to see if the odor remains.

If it remains, unplug the refrigerator from power and turn the water supply off. Then, pull the water supply line out of the unit and turn on the water.

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Get another glass of water and smell it. If the smell remains, you know the odor is from the main source and you should take it up with the appropriate authorities.

However, if the smell disappears, check the water filter. It may be clogged with deposits, which affect the water.

Using a bypass plug in the place of the water filter will help you determine if you need a replacement filter. If the smell disappears when you use the plug, you know you need a new water filter.

Furthermore, consider how often you use the water. If the water sits in the lines for too long, it develops a bad smell and taste. Flush the system by dispensing a few glasses of water and check the smell again.

Note: A new refrigerator may give bad-smelling water. If yours is new, it helps to flush the system by dispensing and throwing out a few glasses of water before consuming any.

LG Fridge Bad Smell from Back – Quick Fix

Check the drain or drip pan. It is a hive of microbes because it stores debris and water for some time and is hardly cleaned.

Find the pan under the fridge, near the compressor. Consult the user manual for the exact location. Take it out and empty it. Next, immerse it in hot water and mild soap, and scrub with a soft-bristled brush.

If necessary, allow it to sit in the hot water for a few minutes before washing. And afterward, rinse it in lots of water. Be sure to remove every stain.

Sanitize it with bleach to remove any lingering smell and germ. Then, allow it to dry completely before putting it back under the fridge.

Another part to check is the condenser coils. Debris is quick to hide in those coils and if you have a pet, they may hide a treat or two there.

Move the fridge and access the coils. Vacuum them and wipe off any leftover dirt. Next, clean under the fridge to remove excess debris that may adhere to the coils and smell.

Furthermore, check behind the inside freezer panel. Remove the panel and inspect the floor of the area. Because defrost water flows to the drain pan that way, it may deposit dirt there if it is carrying any.

With the water and baking soda mixture, clean the bottom of the space, under the coils. Remove every trace of dirt, including over the drain hole.

If you suspect dirt in the hole, squirt some hot water into it and push any debris down with a stiff wire. Then, pour water into the hole until it runs clear.

Dry the top of the hole and bottom of the space to remove moisture before replacing the panel.

Here is a very short video from LG about fixing a bad smell from the back of the fridge…

LG Refrigerator Ice Maker Smell – Solution

If the ice maker in your LG refrigerator is smelling, it may be dirty. Turn off the ice maker to stop the production of ice. Remove the ice bucket, empty it if there is ice, and wash it under hot running water.

Next, mix half a cup of bleach in one cup of water and wipe the ice maker. Dry it completely after wiping it, rinse the ice bucket with lots of water, and dry it.

Food Odor and Other Factors

Foods with strong smells can cause the ice maker to smell bad. If your ice has a bad taste, it may not entirely be from the ice maker.

Check the food items and throw out rotten, old, and expired ones. Wrap foods with strong odors carefully or store them in air-tight containers.

Clean the refrigerator and put a box or two of baking soda into it to absorb the odor. It helps to check stored food and clean the unit regularly.

Additionally, water from the source may smell bad. If you use unfiltered water, the deposits in it may bring a smell you don’t like. In some cases, even filtered water smells bad.


Clean your refrigerator regularly and remove old food items if your LG refrigerator smells like something died in it. Also, clean the drain pan and condenser coils as well as the freezer section, behind the back panel.

We would like to remind you that a burning smell from your refrigerator is not to be neglected. Disconnect the unit from power and inform LG Support as soon as you notice it. But if you can reach a qualified electrician faster, hire one while you wait.

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