Why Does Mould Grow Behind Fridges? How to Prevent It

Mould growth behind your fridge can be unsightly and pose health risks to those with allergies or sensitivities. Here at Wine Fridge Hub, we understand the importance of keeping your fridge running smoothly and your kitchen environment healthy. This guide explores the reasons behind mould growth and provides actionable tips on how to prevent it.

Understanding the Causes

Mould thrives in damp environments. Your fridge, by its very nature, produces moisture during operation. This moisture can condense and collect in several ways, creating the perfect breeding ground for mould spores:

  • Frost Cycle: During the defrost cycle, a frost layer on the evaporator coils melts, creating water that needs to drain away via a defrost drain. A clogged drain can cause this water to back up and drip behind the fridge, leading to moisture build-up.
  • Improper Fridge Leveling: A fridge that’s not level can cause uneven drainage of defrost water, allowing moisture to pool behind the appliance.

Proper Air Circulation

Good air circulation is crucial to prevent mould growth. Here’s how to ensure your fridge has adequate airflow:

  • Maintain Clearance: Keep a recommended clearance of at least 5cm (2 inches) between the back of your fridge and the wall. Refer to your fridge’s manual for specific recommendations.
  • Boost Kitchen Ventilation: Improve overall kitchen ventilation by using extractor fans whenever you cook or boil water. This helps reduce humidity levels in the kitchen, preventing condensation around your fridge.
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Addressing Leaky Components

Leaking components within your fridge can also contribute to excess moisture. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Door Seal Issues: Worn or damaged door seals can allow warm, humid kitchen air to enter the fridge. This increases condensation on the coils and potentially leads to mould growth behind the unit. Regularly inspect your fridge door seal for signs of wear and tear, and replace it if necessary.

Additional Factors to Consider

Here are some other elements that can influence mould growth behind your fridge:

  • Climate: Homes in humid climates or during summer months may experience higher moisture levels, increasing the risk of mould growth behind the fridge.
  • Cleaning Habits: Regularly cleaning up spills and crumbs around and under the fridge can help prevent food debris from attracting mould spores and providing them with a food source.

The Health Concerns of Mould Exposure

Exposure to mould behind the fridge can trigger respiratory problems, allergies, and irritation for those with sensitivities. While the specific type of mould and the extent of exposure influence the severity of health effects, it’s best to address any mould growth promptly. If you suspect mould growth behind your fridge, we recommend consulting a qualified professional for proper identification and removal.

What to Do if Mould is Already Present

If you’ve discovered mould behind your fridge, here are the initial steps you can take:

  1. Turn off the fridge and unplug it from the mains.
  2. Open windows in the kitchen to improve ventilation.
  3. Put on protective gear such as gloves, a mask, and goggles to avoid inhaling mould spores.
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Important Note: Extensive mould growth or the presence of certain mould types may require professional intervention. We strongly advise consulting a qualified mould remediation specialist for safe and effective removal.

Fridge Cleaning After Mould Removal

Once you’ve addressed the mould problem, thoroughly clean your fridge to prevent reoccurrence. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White vinegar solution (one part white vinegar to three parts water) or a mild dish soap solution.
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Microfibre cloths or sponges
  • Trash bags
  1. Remove all shelves, drawers, and containers from the fridge.
  2. Wipe down all surfaces inside the fridge, including shelves, drawers, and door compartments, with your chosen cleaning solution. Pay close attention to areas where mould was visible.
  3. For stubborn mould stains, you can create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected area, leave it for 10-15 minutes, and then scrub gently with a soft brush.
  4. Rinse all surfaces thoroughly with clean water and dry them completely with clean microfibre cloths or sponges.
  5. Wash the shelves, drawers, and containers in warm soapy water, then rinse and dry completely.
  6. Dispose of any mould-contaminated materials in sealed trash bags.

Preventing Mould Growth

By following these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of mould growth behind your fridge:

  • Maintain proper fridge placement with adequate clearance from the wall.
  • Ensure good ventilation in your kitchen by using extractor fans regularly, especially during cooking or boiling water.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs around and under your fridge promptly. This eliminates potential food sources for mould spores.
  • Develop a regular cleaning routine for your fridge. Wipe down shelves, drawers, and door compartments with a mild cleaning solution or white vinegar solution every few weeks.
  • Defrost your fridge regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This prevents ice build-up that can melt and create excess moisture.
  • Inspect your fridge door seal for signs of wear and tear at least twice a year. A damaged seal can allow warm, humid air to enter the fridge, increasing condensation and the risk of mould growth. Replace the door seal if necessary.
  • Consider using a container of baking soda in your fridge. Baking soda is a natural deodoriser and can help absorb excess moisture that might contribute to mould growth.
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By following these simple yet effective strategies, you can create a less hospitable environment for mould spores and keep your fridge running efficiently for years to come. Remember, early detection and prompt action are key if you discover mould growth behind your fridge. If you’re unsure about the extent of the problem or the type of mould present, don’t hesitate to consult a qualified professional for proper assessment and removal.

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