Most people associate mould with basements and stuffy rooms. However, did you know that you can also get mould in your fridge? In fact, the environment within a fridge is perfect for growing mould if the temperature is not maintained within the necessary temperatures. For instance, if the device has a defect that makes it possible for the temperature to be warmer than usual, it could lead to formation of a lot of moisture by the melting of the ice within the fridge. This makes the perfect environment in which mould can grow on the plastic surfaces within the fridge as well as on the foodstuffs that you store there.
The dangers of eating mouldy food
Since you store food in the fridge, having it contaminated by mould is a real threat when temperatures are not maintained within the required range in the fridge. Eating food that has been contaminated by the mould can cause a variety of effects based on the species of mould in question. Most mould species will cause nonspecific symptoms including nausea, vomiting and headache. They are also likely to result in allergic reactions such as sinusitis in people who are susceptible, such as those with asthma.
Other melds can cause more serious disorders, but fortunately these are rare. The most notable of these is a mould known as Aspergillus flavus. This is a mould that produces a toxin known as aflatoxin. The latter has been demonstrated to cause cancer of the liver, which is usually rapidly progressive and difficult to treat. Fortunately, the only way to get liver cancer this way is by repeated exposure to the toxin. This is easily avoidable by simply keeping your storage areas (including your fridge) in good condition. You also need to check grains such as peanuts before eating them, since you will easily notice any mould growing on them if you are keen.
What are some of the things that can encourage the growth of mould in the fridge?
The three factors that need to be present in order to encourage mould growth include warm temperatures, poor air circulation and the presence of too much water in liquid form in the fridge. Simply raising the temperature of the fridge to room temperature can create the other conditions and increase mould growth rate.
As a homeowner, making sure that the temperature within the fridge is within normal range is therefore important. Signs that the fridge temperature is rising include:
• Finding water pooling around the fridge.
• If you notice that it takes longer for ice cubes to form.
• When food spoils faster.
If you notice any of the above, always get a repair contractor to fix the problem immediately. Catching it early will reduce the risk of any mould growth, and will consequently cut down on the cost of mould removal. Proper use of the fridge (such as making sure that the door is always tightly shut when the fridge is not in use) is a habit that will also help.
What if there is mould in the fridge already?
If you notice mould in the fridge or in the food that you have stored in the fridge, you will still need to call the repair specialist to come and fix the problem for you. Some will isolate the problem and correct it for you in addition to getting rid of the mould. If they don’t do the latter, you could attempt to do it yourself. The steps needed to do this include:
• Remove anything that can be removed from the fridge, including shelves and drawers.
• Clean all these parts. Use detergent and baking soda to do so. You could soak them in the solution for a few minutes before washing them especially if the mould has left a stubborn stain on them.
• Rinse the parts and let them dry in open air.
• Put some of the baking soda in dishes and then put these in the fridge. The larger the fridge, the more of the baking soda you will need. Once this is done, lock the doors and leave the fridge in the least cold setting for around a week.
• Inspect the interior of the fridge at this point in time, and if the surfaces are dry and free of any mould then you can return the parts you removed from it and start using the fridge as usual.
If the problem recurs…
If the problem recurs, you will need to involve a quality repair contractor to explore all the possible issues that might cause it. The other option would be to consult the manufacturer if the product is still under warranty, since they may have sold you a defective product. If this turns out to be the case, you could have it replaced under warranty. The last definitive way to handle it would be to buy a new fridge. This only makes sense if all the above have failed.