How to get smell of smoke off of used refrigerator

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max384

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I got an old refrigerator from a smoker's house for free to use as a kegerator. I scrubbed it inside and out very thoroughly with bleach and also sprayed the hell out of it with Febreze. However, now every time that I go into my office, it wreaks of stale cigarettes. Even a jacket hanging near the refrigerator started to smell like cigarettes.

Is there a better way to get rid of the odor? Or am I doomed to smell that for the rest of the refrigerator's life? Should I get rid of it and find a non-smokey one?
 

NTXBrauer

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I believe there is a paint out there that is used for this purpose. More so to cover the smoke smell on the walls in a house, but if you can find it in a latex, it should work for you. It may be worth try. You might check HD or Lowes as a start. Good luck.
 

day_trippr

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If this fridge has an external condenser (either an upright radiator in the back or a coil underneath - especially the latter as there's usually a fan) the smell is likely emanating from that...

Cheers!
 

flars

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Search for sites that deal with restoration after a fire. There are cleaning solutions that can remove smoke odors from clothing and other items that can be washed and wiped down with liquid.
 

VT-NAV

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If this fridge has an external condenser (either an upright radiator in the back or a coil underneath - especially the latter as there's usually a fan) the smell is likely emanating from that...

Cheers!

The smell is quite likely coming from dust accumulated on the condenser coils, fan, and other interior components.
 

MindenMan

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I agree with VT-NAV, the majority of the left over reek is probably in the coils and whatever else is under the fridge: motor/compressor case, frame, etc. Make a solution of TSP and water and spray it on and leave it a couple of hours, and repeat. The only caveat is if the fan is open framed, and not completely sealed. Every time the fan motor runs, the smell of smoke will come out of the windings.
 

zardozap

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If this fridge has an external condenser (either an upright radiator in the back or a coil underneath - especially the latter as there's usually a fan) the smell is likely emanating from that...

Cheers!

You hit it on the head. I moved into my current house some years back, and the previous tenants were horrendus smokers. There was literally a layer of nicotine on all the walls and trim, all had to be cleaned with bleach then repainted, and the wood trim still had nicotine smells in them that took forever to go away. Anyway, the fridge was just as bad, and smelled whenever you opened it. So I pulled it out from the wall, and sure enough the external condenser was caked in nicotine covered cobwebs. Cleaned it thoroughly and the smell vanished.
 

Dr. Francois

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My fermentation chest freezer stunk like menthol smoke. I scrubbed with a paste of baking soda and water, then sprayed with simple green. I keep a box of baking soda in it. Better!

Sent from my SGH-T889 using Home Brew mobile app
 
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max384

max384

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

The inside doesn't smell too bad. It's the outside that stinks. I didn't have the time today, but tomorrow I'll clean out the condenser. Hopefully that'll take care of it.
 

mrduna01

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For what its worth I had to get another fridge in my apartment from a different unit that smelled straight up like cat piss. After several wipe downs, several deoderizers and other methods it had zero effect on the smell. One shot of Fabreeze and never smelled it again. Sounds like you have a bigger problem though.

So many beers... so little time.
 

MindenMan

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Glad to help. If the fridge isn't indoors, put a pan of ammonia under it, and cycle the fan on and off. The ammonia should clean the fan out w/o worry of shorting anything out. I wouldn't be comfortable with spraying any liquid in/near the fan, that's just an accident waiting to happen.
 

MaintenanceNick

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I got an old refrigerator from a smoker's house for free to use as a kegerator. I scrubbed it inside and out very thoroughly with bleach and also sprayed the hell out of it with Febreze. However, now every time that I go into my office, it wreaks of stale cigarettes. Even a jacket hanging near the refrigerator started to smell like cigarettes.

Is there a better way to get rid of the odor? Or am I doomed to smell that for the rest of the refrigerator's life? Should I get rid of it and find a non-smokey one?
I work as a maintenance supervisor in an apartment building and we get the occasional smoker who moves out of their unit. Not only are the walls covered in a thin yellow film of nicotine goo, but all surfaces and components are affected. Take in account a refrigerator or air conditioner that moves air with fans and has coils, usually covered in dust. The same nicotine goo can get in those areas and remain even after the walls have been thoroughly wash with TSP and then primed with a shellac paint and two coats of finish. We’ve tried saving the expense of replacing these appliances, however in our experience a non-smoker who moves in to a “clean”apartment will immediately detect that cigarette smell is coming from somewhere. Cleaning all those components would be a very time consuming and not 100% effective. Depending on how you want to use the nicotine stained fridge, if you don’t mind the smell and want to save money, do it. Otherwise by yourself a new one. For those of you who rent an apartment and are smokers, take heed to this and just know you could be charged for a new refrigerator, a new AC, a new ceiling fan or electric wall heaters etc. plus labor.
 

MajorJC

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Hello @MaintenanceNick and welcome to Homebrew Talk!

Since this post is from 8 years ago and the original poster has not been seen on the forums in the past two years I'm afraid your answer will fall on deaf ears and answer a problem that no longer exists, at least for this poster.

Since you joined our forum, I believe you may be interested in homebrewing. Perhaps drop a post in the New Member Introductions forum and let us know your experience with homebrewing and what styles you are interested in.

Again, Welcome!
 
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MaintenanceNick

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Deaf ears? I thought forums were for everyone. Just trying to help the next person with a similar issue.
I don’t brew garage beer so I guess I’m out?
Just fell into the rabbit hole of smokers fridge syndrome and your site was talking about it, so, my bad. I’ll just go away quietly now and sip my Budweiser in the dark.
 

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