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Old 04-25-2009, 12:04 AM   #1
HossTheGreat
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Default Cleaning Moldy Fridge

So, I just had a friend give me a fridge that had been sitting around his house. It had been unplugged and was pretty moldy on the inside. I gave it a real thorough bleaching and hosed it out. It looks damn near new now. The only problem is that I took the bottom panel of the freezer off and there is black mold growing in the styrofoam insulation.

I just got done thoroughly bleaching that as well and it's soaking in as we speak. My only question is, since it's a porous surface, do you think that the spraying with bleach will be sufficient to kill the mold?

I've had other fridges that were nasty and needed bleaching in the past, but I've never dealt with the styrofoam issue. Also, it's a custom molded styrofoam so trying to replace it would be a real PITA. I'm thinking of using this fridge to ferment ales, so I want to make sure there's no funk in there. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 04-25-2009, 12:08 AM   #2
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You can buy some over the counter mold cleaners. The company I work for does mold removal asbestos removal and industrial and commercial Fireproofing I can talk to some of the guys that do mold removal see what they say about using a mold infested fridge. I would advise looking up mold removal company's in your area and shooting them a few questions.

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Old 04-25-2009, 02:18 AM   #3
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I had the same thing going on w/ a cheap fridge I bought.My solution was to leave the partition out between the freezer and fridge.I use a temp controller and it works fine.Also,since the cold air drops directly to the bottom(rather than having to keep the upper compartment frozen)the compressor hardly has to run very long to get to the set temp,saving energy.This also helped me out in another way b/c mine would freeze up after running due to a bad defrost heat strip.Now the upper compartment is always above freezing so no freeze up.

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Old 04-25-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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My problem is that this styrofoam insulation cannot be removed easily, so I'm just wondering if a good dousing of bleach and scrubbing would be sufficient. Also, being that I plan to ferment ales in it, the temp will be higher than it under normal operating conditions. I just want to make sure that any mold is dead. I may have to resort to just scraping out the infected parts.

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Old 04-25-2009, 12:56 PM   #5
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Beach will kill anything.

Clean it the best you can by soaking in with bleach and water, and keep a spray bottle handy to routinely spray the area for a while. Then see if you have a reoccurring problem with it, after that.

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Old 04-25-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
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Be careful when you open your fermenters. I'd make sure that it was far away from the fridge when I opened one for a gravity test or bottling or whatever. I also might swab the airlock/tube and cap/bung/lid with sanitizer before opening it up, so no mold that had gotten on the outside of the fermenter could drop into the beer.

But aside from when you open the fermenter, the mold isn't supposed to be able to get in anyway.

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Old 04-25-2009, 01:27 PM   #7
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I have a background in mold and work in a related industry. Here are a couple points to ponder:

-In addition to water, mold requires a food source which must be organic. Your foam insulation is likely a polyurethane foam and, although organic (contains carbon and hydrogen), it doesn't support mold growth. It is likely dust and other accumulated debris on the foam that is supporting the mold growth.

-The color of mold is not an indicator of it's genus/species. Just because it is "black mold" doesn't mean it is Stachybotrys. But that doesn't mean you want to live with it.

-On an open cell foam product, mold you can see is just on the surface. It has extended "roots" (hyphae) down into the foam. So, surface sanitizing won't kill it all.

-I would seriously consider a way to remove and replace the foam (e.g., Great Stuff, or if it may be exposed to heat, a fire-rated foam). As a last resort, if you can't remove the foam and you're confident it will not continue to be exposed to humid/moist conditions, you can sanitize it (bleach), let it dry thoroughly, and encapsulate the foam/mold with a product such as Kilz (spray paint). This will prevent future mold growth if it is kept dry and prevent the mold inside the foam from contaminating the surrounding environment.

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Old 04-25-2009, 02:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info! Yes, I was conidering removing as much of the foam as possible and then spraying in some great stuff as a replacement. I have a can sitting my garage. Maybe I'll then spray over it with some kilz. I'll see if I can take a picture of it to let you all see what I'm talking about.

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Old 04-25-2009, 03:52 PM   #9
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Here's a couple of images so that you all can see what I'm talking about.



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Old 04-25-2009, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HossTheGreat View Post
Here's a couple of images so that you all can see what I'm talking about.
Ahh, I see. That's going to be tough to do anything effective without taking it out... there's no way to reach all the nooks and crannies. It looks like it can be removed with some work. I'd try removing it, scrubbing/cleaning/sanitizing the crap out of it without damaging it, then let it thoroughly dry, spray it with Kilz and re-install it.
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