Fridge Smells like Permanent Marker [We’ve Easy Fix]

So suddenly, your fridge started to smell like a permanent marker. You have cleaned it properly, yet the smell exists. You have checked inside, outside, above, and under the refrigerator and found no sign of a permanent marker.

Then what causes your fridge smells like permanent marker or sharpie?

Your fridge may smell like a permanent marker for a Small Freon leak in the fridge’s sealed system. The gas used in the modern refrigerator is HFC-134a – [1,1,1,2 – Tetrafluoroethane] which is a common gas used in making permanent markers such as sharpie. A small leak will spread the gas throughout the fridge and room, making the smell like a permanent marker.

Besides, any short circuit can melt plastic and cause a smell. Long-lasting rotten food, mold or mildew, or a stopped evaporator fan motor can sometimes cause the same smell.

Don’t worry; we will tell you how to find and solve the smell problem.

How to Identify the Source of Permanent Marker Smell in the Fridge?

There can be 5 major sources of permanent marker smell. Let’s check each of them.

Gas Leak

A small Freon leak can cause a fridge smells like permanent marker. Shut down the fridge and open the doors for a few hours to see whether the odor is gone or not. If the smell goes off, you have found the culprit. The source is a gas leak. You can now look for the exact spot of the leak.

Melting Plastic or Wire

Check for melted plastic or wire if turning off and opening the doors does not remove the smell. Sometimes, short circuits or low voltage can melt the plastic wire. This mostly happens with older refrigerators. You have to manually check every inch of the wire to or electric line to find the source.

Rotten food, Mold, or Mildew

When was the last time you cleaned the fridge thoroughly? Yes, I mean thoroughly. Cleaning with simple wiping does not count.

With time, food, mold, or mildew can grow in the fridge, which is easy to overlook. This can sometimes cause the smell. You cannot identify this source until you clean the fridge thoroughly. If the smell goes off with cleaning, congrats! You have found and solved the smell problem.

Stopped Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan sometimes gets shut off, and this happens mostly with an older fridge. The fan produces R134a gas that goes back to the cabinet if it is shut down and causes the smell. Does your fridge cool slower than before? If so, chances are high that the evaporator fan is shut down or slow due to some mechanical fault.

Actual Marker

I know you have checked for it. But sometimes, the marker or a drop of permanent marker’s ink can fall near the fridge, causing the smell. You should recheck it if none of the methods work.

Is it Dangerous to Have a Permanent Marker Smell in Fridge?

Well, the smell does not contaminate your food that much. Besides, inhaling or eating a small amount of Tetrafluoroethane is not dangerous. However, if the smell is too strong, it is better to bring out the food from the fridge and keep it under the natural airflow. It will reduce the smell and make the food safe for eating.

How to Remove Permanent Marker Smell from Fridge?

Once you find the source, removing or cleaning the permanent marker or sharpie smell from the fridge will be easier. Let’s see the processes.

Clean the Fridge Thoroughly

The first step should be cleaning your fridge thoroughly. To clean it,

  • Empty the fridge by removing all the food and drinks from the fridge.
  • Take out all the shelves and drawers.
  • Use a fridge cleaner with warm water to clean the interior, including walls, ceiling, and door.
  • Wipe the interior properly. Rub it if necessary to clean the stubborn dirt, such as spills or stains. Try brushing to reach a confined area.
  • Now clean the exterior with cleaner and wipe down it.
  • Put everything back in place.

If the problem is with food, mold, or mildew, this cleaning will solve the problem. Even if you do not find the right source when cleaning, it will be worth your time to main hygiene and food safety.

Hire a Professional to Solve the Mechanical Problem

But if cleaning does not remove the odor, it has something to do with a gas leak, electric wire melting, or a stopped evaporated fan. You cannot find and solve the problem. Hiring a professional would be a good choice. Of course, you are welcome to try since you have nothing to lose.

The gas leak problem should be solved by putting the tape or changing the pipe. Electric wire melting has to be solved by replacing the wire. If the problem is with low voltage, using a stabilizer and a good current source is better.

It is better to call the fridge company if the warranty is still available for a stopped evaporated fan. If not, a professional should get the job done.

Clean Surroundings

If nothing goes well, chances are high that the smell is coming from the surroundings. So clean the surrounding with cleaner and soap water. Also, try to keep the ventilation on so that the smell can go off easily.

Replace the Fridge

If nothing works at all, the problem is with either the refrigerator or your nose. You may be suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). The best solution is to consult a doctor. But if someone else smells the same odor, the problem is with the fridge.

Is your refrigerator old enough? Then maybe the internal parts get damaged, causing the smell. It is time to replace the fridge to get rid of the permanent marker smell from the fridge and home once and for all.

How Can I Prevent My Fridge From Smelling Like A Permanent Marker In The Future?

Preventing is the best solution all time. Follow the steps below to prevent smelling permanent marker smell from the refrigerator.

  • Clean the fridge regularly. Do not keep food for a long time.
  • Inspect for any signs of leaks, such as puddles of water or unusual odors.
  • Keep the ventilation open.
  • Use high voltage current; try stabilizer.
  • Use odor absorbent in the house.

These tips will help you prevent the growth of any kind of smell in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still got some questions for me? Let’s see the FAQs.

Can I eat food while the smell is on?

Yes, you can eat the food in the fridge while the smell is on. The smell is caused by Tetrafluoroethane, rotten food, leak, or melted wire that will not harm you.

Can using a sharpie close to the fridge cause it to smell like a permanent marker?

Yes, using a sharpie or permanent marker near the fridge can contaminate the air and potentially cause a permanent marker smell in the fridge. Try to use sharpies and other permanent markers away from the fridge to prevent this.

Wrapping Up

A fridge smells like permanent marker can be frustrating and puzzling. But the smell is not uncommon. A lot of people experience this. This can happen from chemical contamination to spoiled food, a Freon leak, surroundings, and other problems.

Regardless of the cause, you must address the issue promptly to ensure the safety of the food stored in your fridge. Clean the refrigerator using baking soda to absorb odors. Hire a professional to inspect your fridge and solve the problem.

Home Advisor Blog

Home Advisor Blog is a reader-supported blog. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.