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Why a Kenmore Fridge Smells

Eric Love

Kenmore appliances, a division of Sears, first went on the market in 1927. The first appliance to carry the Kenmore name was a wringer washer but was soon followed by a host of other must-have home appliances. If you own a Kenmore refrigerator and notice a strange, terrible odor emitting from it, you will need to investigate to see if you can find the source.

Old Food

One of the most common causes of a Kenmore, or any refrigerator, emitting a bad odor is when food has been left inside for too long. While a refrigerator keeps food cold and lessens the existence of spoilage, no foods can last forever. Look in the back of the refrigerator for foods that have molded or simply gone bad. Moldy foods omit a musty, dank odor that can cause other foods to smell bad as well as go bad faster.

Refrigerator Drain

Many Kenmore refrigerators contain a drain that allows for water drainage into a drain pan at the bottom of the unit. At times, liquids, fluids, and juices from overturned food containers may flow down the fridge drain. If the drain becomes stopped up or corroded with these fluids, cleaning of the drain may require unstopping it with a thin wire and then rinsing the drain with a mild detergent and water or bleach and water solution. Never place any objects in the drain without first unplugging the refrigerator. Always check your Kenmore owner's manual before removing the drain plug or cleaning the drain so that you are sure to follow proper Kenmore procedures.

Drain Pan

Another place where odors may appear in your Kenmore refrigerator is the drain pan. When fluids flow down through the drain, they eventually drain into the drain pan, which can become filled with nasty, stagnant material. These fluids can cause a foul odor to come from your Kenmore refrigerator. The odor can flow up into the refrigerator and can cause foods to smell bad. Always keep the drain pain emptied and clean.


To keep odors to a minimum, thoroughly clean your Kenmore refrigerator at least once a month. This process should include removing all foods from the fridge and washing and sterilizing the refrigerator. Review your refrigerator manual to find out how often the freezer unit of your particular model of Kenmore refrigerator should be defrosted. Liquids from the freezer will also flow into the drain, which means defrosting should be done before cleaning the refrigeration unit.