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Strong Smell in French Door Refigerator

by TME4TLS / July 7, 2012 10:17 PM PDT

Some weeks ago, we noticed a strong smell in the refrigerator section of the Samsung French Door we bought in Jan '10. We checked all the food, threw out anything that looked even remotely funny, washed the interior and did a general cleaning. The smell abated a bit but has come back.

The smell is somewhat close to alcohol and has permeated everything in the box. A service tech was here last week to work on the cooling system, the cooling fan froze and the drain was clogged somewhat but he was unable to give us a clue as to what the smell is.

When he was finished we again cleaned everything in the box since it was cleaned out, washing with a dishwasing detergent until our arms were sore. Again the smell returned. The tech said to wad up a piece of newspaper and leave it in the box which would absorb the odor. DOESN'T WORK!

Now we are waiting for parts to arrive and for the tech to again to return to install them. But the smell still lingers. Do anyone have any kind of a remedy.

BTW Samsung service is pitiful! They do answer the phone, they are apologetic and they are able to set up a service call. But the nearest repair person is 90 miles away. Then we found out they assigned to repair to two different companies. The service call was set for Wed, then went to Thur, and then to Fri. Since we were going to be out on Friday, I called to schedule. The repair tech showed up on Friday. The repair tech finally showed up on Tue.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by TME4TLS

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Re: Strong Smell in French Door Refigerator
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / July 9, 2012 4:18 AM PDT


Allow me to also apologize. If you could tell me what model number is, I may have a more specific suggestion. But here's a general one: have you tried baking soda?

-- HD Tech

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Strong Smell Inside Refrigerator
by TME4TLS / July 9, 2012 11:42 AM PDT

The unit is a RF268AB purchased at Lowes in March 2010, serial number 43FB4GBSB00360D

We have tried baking soda, vinegar, washing with a dishwashing detergent and crumpled newspaper as the technician from A&E suggested. Nothing works. The smell is as strong as ever with an alcohol smell which has permeated all the food inside. If I could afford to do so, I would roll it out to the street and buy something American made.

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Re: Strong Smell Inside Refrigerator
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / July 10, 2012 12:53 AM PDT


I took a look at your model, and there are bunch of places for a spill to have gone down into. So perhaps when you have the tech come out to fix the other things, you can ask him to disassemble some of shelving so that you can clean all of that and get into some of the nooks and crannies of the fridge.

-- HD Tech

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Stinky Refrigerator
by TME4TLS / July 10, 2012 4:58 AM PDT

We have:
1. Removed all the shelves in the doors and washed them with hot water and dishwashing detergent.
2. Removed all the shelves, drawers and drawer slides from inside the refrigerator including the long drawer at the bottom and its slide and washed everything with hot water and dishwashing detergent.
3. Washed down the inside of the box with hot water and dishwashing detergent.
All this has been done twice and it is cleaner today than it was when it was built. Quite frankly, I am tired of washing the box out only to have the smell return.

I am ready to remove the drain tube and replace it with something else if flushing it with Clorox doesn't work. The box stinks and the alcohol smell is getting the best of me. If you can suggest a real fix instead of just telling me there are a lot of places for spills to hide, I would appreciate the help.

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Re: Strong Smell Inside Refrigerator -
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / July 10, 2012 6:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Stinky Refrigerator


Just thought I'd clarify this, but you only smell this when you open the fridge, right?

-- HD Tech

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Stinky Refrigerator
by TME4TLS / July 12, 2012 4:44 AM PDT

Yes, we only smell the strong odor when the upper doors are opened. No smell in the freezer.

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Re: Stinky Refrigerator
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / July 13, 2012 6:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Stinky Refrigerator
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Stinky Refrigerator
by TME4TLS / July 13, 2012 9:49 AM PDT

The links provided were absolutely no help whatsoever. All I got was three ads for Google Drive, whatever that is supposed to be.

As for the cracks and nooks, we have cleaned this box until we are blue in the face. The smell persists despite all the cleaning efforts we can muster. Maybe you can do better. Let me know and I will provide my address so you can come clean the box.

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Stinky Samsung
by TME4TLS / July 13, 2012 9:52 AM PDT

BTW Heard from another Samsung refrigerator user about 90 miles away who has the same strong smell intheir box. Surprise, Surprise! I'll bet Samsung knows exactly what causes this stink.

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You will not like this
by 38372 / March 2, 2014 4:04 AM PST
In reply to: Stinky Samsung

The oder you are refering to is most likely caused by decayed broccoli,coliflower,or lettece. As they let off a gas that reacts with the poly liner . The smell & taste in other foods & ice cubes is discusting. I have ran into this in all brands of refrigerators. There is no for sure fix. I am a appliance tech with 30 years experance. You can try a mixture of warm water & vinalla extract wipe out whole ref. Also can put a few pieces of charcol (do not use the type that has lighter fluid in it) The charcol will absorb oders.In most cases I have encountered The smell lingers for years.
At one time the company I worked for sent the fridge back to manufacture. There response was as stated above Spoiled Food. Once this smell starts it most likely will not go away.

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Pictures worked here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 13, 2012 9:56 AM PDT

However I'm in the USA without any odd PC issues. Try PhotoBucket next time if they can't see these.

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Not biological decay
by KenDay0407 / July 10, 2013 2:53 PM PDT

The smell we are all referring to is petro-CHEMICAL, not biological.

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Chemical Smell, Samsung French door, Twin Cool Refrigerator
by KenDay0407 / January 8, 2013 1:39 PM PST
In reply to: Stinky Refrigerator

Same. Strong chemical smell that gets into food, especially butter, eggs, cheese, anything high in fat. Four boxes of baking soda and thorough washing didn't help. I finally turned the unit down to below 38 degrees and the smell went away. That was a year ago. Now it's back, stronger than before. It fills the room with the odor of... solvent or a plastics plant. I turned the unit down again, to no avail. I'm sure Samsung would just stall; they're not going to replace a $2400 fridge, and they're not going to re-manufacture all of plastic components.

No food spill causes a plastic smell. We didn't spill benzine or paint thinner in our refrigerator!

So, technology that pollutes what it is supposed to preserve. Why am I surprised?

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Re: Chemical Smell, Samsung French door, Twin Cool Refrigera
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / January 9, 2013 12:57 AM PST
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by TME4TLS / January 9, 2013 5:01 AM PST

Of all the times I called Samsung for help, I received little if any direction. KenDay0407 posts once and Samsung is more than helpful with a reply. In the future, I will choose where my dollars go for appliances a lot more closely.

BTW If anyone wonders why A&E is so slow to set up a service call, it isn't that they are busy. When I went by the Sears service center this afternoon, I counted 7 idle A&E trucks on the lot.

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by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / January 10, 2013 12:37 AM PST
In reply to: AMAZING!


I'm sorry that you felt as if I was inattentive. Your description seemed different from the Ken Day's. If your still having problems, you can complete a service request here for you refrigerator:

HD Tech

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We have the same issue
by Barb9574 / December 7, 2014 8:15 AM PST
In reply to: Stinky Refrigerator

This odor penetrates into the butter, veggies, everything. I have emptied the ice trays several times. I have cleaned out the unit from top to bottom. I just makes the baking soda smell after a week.

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Smelly Samsung
by Rafter8531 / May 5, 2013 2:55 PM PDT

We purchased a Samsung RF263BEAESR from Sears four months ago...Initially we were very happy with the product, raved about it, recommended it to friends.....Than the mystery smell hit about a month ago...As many of you had done, we'd taken everything out of the fridge, cleaned the the interior with bleach and vinegar water, placed baking soda inside, all to no avail. At least now I know that we're not responsible for the smell. I will contact Sears and Samsung tomorrow...I'm very disappointed with Samsung...I have several Samsung TVs, and a tablet, and I've been very happy with the brand...The way they chose to respond to the issue will determine my future appliance/electronics purchases.

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Samsung Garbage
by TME4TLS / May 5, 2013 8:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Smelly Samsung

I am glad to announce that after more than a year of putting up with the smell from the refrigerator, the constant dripping water from the upper cooling coil, multiple service calls and replaced parts and those blasted gnats which fly up from the drain tube, A&E has agreed to replace the Samsung under the terms of their master service agreement. A&E dropped the ball more than once and made more excuses than I expected but finally relented once I was able to speak with a real manager who immediately agreed to the replacement. The new model will not be here until June so we will have to continue to mop up water from the bottom of the refrigerator, something I can live with just so I will no longer have this $2200 Samsung boat anchor in my kitchen.

Poor design and even poorer service from Samsung is not a good business model. As I read over the entire thread it looks as though the Samsung rep who reads here probably has knowledge about the drainage problem but isn't about to admit it or offer a solution, offering instead stupid ideas on how to clean the interior or other bogus or misleading hints. We bought their defective product and now they expect us to simply live with it.

As for me, I will not buy a Samsing branded product even going so far as to do without should theirs be the only product on the market. No more foreign made products for us, the new refrigerator is a Whirlpool, which I am sure has some foreign made products inside, and we will continue to purchase only American made goods and consider the foreign made only as a last resort. I have had enough of the poor quality often found in the foreign made goods.

Enough of this rant. I am patiently waiting for the Whirlpool to arrive.

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class action suit against samsung
by monkman67 / February 17, 2015 3:27 AM PST

the issue is the water drain in the fridge..I have the same issue taking it apart now. they are in class action law suit pending for this issue they know what the problem is the lower crisper has water under it and the smell is from the plugged frozen drain.

videos on you tube do much more than Samsung ever did!!!!!!

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Smell in fridge
by leighng99 / February 18, 2015 8:53 AM PST

We are having the same problem, and after reading all the posts I'm not sure it's even worth having a service call. Can you post the you tube link to fix this problem? Thanks!

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Samsung Stinker
by nose_plugged / October 12, 2015 4:20 PM PDT

Can you post further info on the class action suit and the possible helpful you tube videos? We also have a just under 2 year old french door refrigerator (rfg298hdrs) and NOTHING will make the smell go away. Thank you

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Smelly frig
by mhelen15 / November 9, 2015 1:48 PM PST
In reply to: Samsung Stinker

Our refrig is 2 years old. About 2 weeks ago detected an order. Cleaned shelves, walls, drawers. The stink is getting worse by the day. Bought it at Lowes. Went to store today and told them the problem, also told them their was a class action suit which they did not know about. They are sending a repair person out in two days, Will see what happens after I show them all the complaints on this frig. This frig has to be fixed or replaced by the store.

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Samsung Smell issue!
by Playnhooky247 / January 11, 2016 8:27 AM PST
In reply to: Smelly frig

We are having the same issue! 2 year old fridge....looks good as new and we lived out up till now! We've had 2 different companies out now and still no fix. Today they are here replacing the water tank. ....smell still there. has yours been handled?

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Smelly Fridge
by dfrantz94 / December 16, 2014 10:58 AM PST

I agree samsung has the worst customer service just spent an hour on there website chatting to a person that says to clean the fridge. We have done all they asked twice to no avail. 2 year old fridge smells like someone died in it

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Did you get an answer for this problem?
by KsReid45 / October 20, 2012 11:19 AM PDT

We have a Samsung too and are having the same problem. Serviceman is coming out in 2 days but I have a feeling we'll get the same dumb answers they gave you in this post. Did you get this resolved?

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Samsung Lemon Refrigerator
by TME4TLS / October 20, 2012 10:21 PM PDT

The strong odor gradually abated and no real cause for it was found.

The original problem, water in the bottom of the refrigerator, is still there to a lesser extent. We endured a total of 7 service calls and 5 replaced parts.

Now we have a new problem, frost in the freezer. Actually I believe we have a true lemon and with the A & E service agreement there is a provision for replacement which I will try to activate once the service tech finally shows up to fix the latest problem. Actually, the service call was originally scheduled for 10/17 and when no one showed up I called and found it ha been rescheduled to 10/24 with no notice.

A & E is very slow to schedule and arrive for a service call. Why? There is a Sears service center close by and when I passed by just a few weeks ago there were no less than 9 A & E service trucks parked on the lot. I offered to take a photo and send it to someone in charge but it was denied since there isn't an email address to send it to.

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Strong Smell in French Door Refridgerator
by jsl59 / January 11, 2013 11:45 PM PST

We have a month old Samsung French Door refrigerator and have noticed similar odors. We did thorough cleaning and even pulled all the food out for a day. To me it really smells like outgassing from the plastics inside.
I suspect Samsung has tested for this and recognizes the potential but it is sensitive subject since the outgas components will include solvents that no one wants in their food. The concentration may be very very low (parts per billion in the air) but still detectable by smell.

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Definitely outgassing
by caumack / February 2, 2013 5:35 PM PST

We have a Samsung 4 door refrigerator for about 2 years now and had the same problem from day 1. I was able to detect a VERY plastic-y smell from inside both the fridge & freezer. The odor permeated all the food and was very evident as a taste. In fact it even affected unopened food stored in the freezer in the package! I became nauseous only once after eating a frozen pizza that was in it's box still in the plastic wrap. I unwrapped it & cooked it. I ate about half and could take no more. It tasted more like plastic than pizza.

This odor/taste gradually decreased during the first year of use. It is now totally gone (about 2.5 years later). Here is the strange thing: My wife had no complaints about the smell/taste, even when it was at it's strongest. I definitely think it was either the white plastic lining of the interior or the insulating foam outgassing. I also think that some people are more sensitive to this smell/taste than others. I had a big problem with it, my wife had none.

I'm guessing that Samsung has had enough complaints by now to know that some people have a problem with it, but they pretend to not know anything because there is literally nothing they can do to correct the issue (except give you a refund) and they also know that the problem should go away in about a year or so - so dragging their feet on service really benefits them in this case.

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by TME4TLS / February 2, 2013 10:01 PM PST
In reply to: Definitely outgassing

I can agree to a certain extent. You would think that when the unit was new a little smell might be present but to suddenly show up after two years of use is curious at best. Samsung doesn't care one iota about this problem or the cheap rusting galvanized metal in the back of the upper section. A&E cares less and the refrigerator I have is possibly the poorest excuse for a refrigerator my wife and I have ever bought! And we have been married since 1968 and have bought several refrigerators. The excuses A&E gives when servicing the unit are shallow and pitiful.

I can assure you that when this Samsung refrigerator is done, I will be sure to research more in depth before I ever buy another and I can guarantee you it won't be a Samsung. Their total lack of help, from the web site to talking with a CS rep on the phone is abysmal!

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