Over time and use, you may notice your walk-in cooler or freezer has developed an unpleasant odor. Sometimes a smell may develop simply because of frequent use. Unfortunately, odor can also indicate that there is some sort of bacteria or mold growth occurring inside of your walk-in. Odor can also point to a hidden spill that has not yet been seen or cleaned up. Odor can also be the first sign of a bigger problem that may potentially contaminate your inventory.
If your walk-in cooler is over a couple years old, odor can become trapped inside of the walls and flooring of the unit. Over time, bacteria can grow and multiply – causing odors to become stronger and fouler over time.
The best response when you notice odor in your cooler is to begin a complete clean out and clean up. Empty all inventory out into another temperature regulated area if possible. Remove all shelves and storage bins or containers from the walk-in as well. A simple soap and water cleaner is sufficient for cleaning your walk-in – harsh chemicals can be too abrasive and damage the surface of your walk-in. Baking soda and white vinegar can also be used as a cleaner since vinegar is great at combating odor and mildew. Wipe off surfaces immediately after spraying regardless of which cleaning combination you decide to use. Allow all surfaces to dry fully before placing items back into your walk-in. The drying process also allows your walk-in to air out for a little while.
Placing a bowl of charcoal briquettes inside of your walk-in cooler or freezer can serve as a way to absorb any lingering odor. You can also leave a bowl of fresh coffee grounds or baking soda inside the unit to help absorb odor as well.
Remember that some odor is natural since your walk-in environment is an enclosed space. Extremely unpleasant smells or odors that linger even after cleaning can be cause for concern and should be investigated further to ensure that no components of your walk-in are malfunctioning and that no mold or mildew is able to grow and spread.