What Could make a Bosch Refrigerator Smell

Authorized Service
March 8, 2021
Refrigerator Repair

No one likes to open their fridge and catch a whiff of some awful smell.

Your Bosch refrigerator could be smelling bad for a few different reasons. This guide will go over the most common problems and tell you how to fix them.

This guide covers the following models of Bosch refrigerators:











Clean Your Refrigerator

This may have been the first thing you tried, in which case move on. Otherwise, the most common reason for bad smells is expired food or a buildup of dirt and grime.

Here’s how to clean your refrigerator thoroughly:

  1. Turn your refrigerator off at the wall and unplug it.
  2. Remove all of your food and store it in a cool place. You can use ice packs if you don’t have another refrigerator. Throw out expired food.
  3. Clean the inside of the refrigerator, except for the rubber seals, with lukewarm water, a soft cloth, and a pH neutral cleaning product. If you’re unsure about this, most brands of dish soap are pH neutral.
  4. Wipe down the rubber seals with water only. Cleaning products are too harsh for the rubber and can break it down.
  5. Dry your refrigerator thoroughly with absorbent paper towels or a dry cloth.
  6. Replace your food and switch your refrigerator back on at the wall.

Clear the Drainage Hole

The water condenser inside your refrigerator helps condense water vapor. The collected water runs into a drainage hole in the back. This feeds down a drain into a drip tray at the back of your refrigerator, where it evaporates from the heat of the compressor below it. If this drain gets blocked, it can cause a buildup of mold that can cause a bad smell.

Here’s how to fix this problem:

  1. Turn off your refrigerator and unplug it at the wall.
  2. Take out all the food at the bottom of your refrigerator and remove any plastic trays.
  3. Look for a drainage hole in the back. If you can’t see it, you will need to remove the back panel. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screws and a flathead screwdriver to pry off the panel.
  4. Use a cotton swab to clean inside the drainage hole. For deeper blockages, you will need something flexible, like a straw cleaning brush, to clean deeper inside. Avoid anything sharp.
  5. Run a small amount of lukewarm water through the drain to flush out anything inside.

Drainage Tray

The drain collects in a black plastic drip tray on top of the condenser at the back of the refrigerator. The heat from the condenser’s motor evaporates any water that collects.

Over time, there can be a buildup of food waste inside the tray. This leads to mold and bacterial growth that can cause a bad smell. When this happens, you can often notice the smell with the refrigerator door closed.

The drip tray is located in the back of the refrigerator. Unplug your appliance and take it out from the wall; then turn it around. Removing the drip tray and giving it a good clean should solve the problem. Unfortunately, it is often difficult or impossible to remove the tray from Bosch refrigerators.

Here are a few tips to make it easier:

  • Look for a clip underneath the rim of the tray on the back side of the tray that could be keeping it in place.
  • Insert a large flathead screwdriver underneath the lip of the tray and try to loosen it up by prying it off around as much of the rim as you can access.
  • Try to simply pull it out. Be firm, as the heat from the condenser can distort the plastic over time, causing it to get stuck in place. Don’t force it too much, or the plastic could snap.

In some models, it is impossible to remove this tray. You can try to clean what you can reach or contact a professional refrigerator repair technician to remove it for you.

Replace the Water Filter

If your refrigerator has a water dispenser, you should change the water filter every 6 months or so. If you leave a filter in for too long, it can lead to an unpleasant odor.

Here’s how to replace it:

  1. Determine whether your model has an internal or an external filter. Models with external filters have an easily noticeable plastic covering at the top of the inside of the refrigerator that can be removed by pulling it toward you.
  2. If your model has an external filter, order a replacement filter (part number 00750558).
  3. Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator, and drain all the remaining water by dispensing it.
  4. Remove the plastic filter cover. Remove the old filter by firmly turning counterclockwise and unscrewing it.
  5. Remove the cap from the new filter, and screw it into place by turning it clockwise.
  6. Replace the filter cover.

If your model does not have an external filter, you will need to hire an experienced refrigerator technician to replace the filter.

Optimize Your Refrigerator’s Performance

Using your refrigerator properly can help to prevent bad smells from occurring. You can also use these techniques to remove lingering smells.

Here are some tips to optimize your refrigerator’s performance: 

  • Turn down the thermostat. Keep your refrigerator at or below 40°F and your freezer at 0°F. Use a thermometer to check whether your refrigerator is actually maintaining these temperatures.
  • Use supercooling mode when you put a large amount of food inside the refrigerator. Press the “supercool” button if your model has one. Otherwise, hold the “set” button for a few seconds until the “supercool” light switches on.
  • Place some coffee, baking soda, or a cut lemon on a plate inside the refrigerator. These natural deodorizers will help to keep bad smells at bay.

Those are some of the major problems that can cause a Bosch refrigerator to have a bad smell. Troubleshooting these problems should cause the smell to go away. If you have further problems, contact a professional refrigerator technician to investigate further.


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