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I have a refrigerator that I thoroughly cleaned out and washed with soap/baking soda, and let thoroughly dry. They always recommend to keep Doors Open for long term refrigerator storage. This prevents mold and mildew growth even when unplugged.

My question, why does mold/mildew grow in Refrigerators unplugged, but they do Not grow in closed cabinets or electronic interior equipment as much?

Do unplugged refrigerator plastics have tenacity to grow more mold?

https://www.kentstorage.com.au/how-to-store-a-refrigerator-in-storage

*Just fyi, after cleaning refrigerator, I left door open for few days to dry out, but I guess keeping doors open for Long Term is the question

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They don't mean "Even when unplugged". They mean "When unplugged".

Because refrigerators are wet inside, and refrigerator doors seal too well

Try putting 1/2 cup of water inside a cabinet, then bagging the outside of the cabinet door with plastic. You'll get mold inside that too.

The interior shell is not a hermetic seal. It's just some cosmetic cowlings because white plastic is more attractive than galvanized metal and insulation fiber. Moist air still moves around and through it, then condenses or freezes.

It's water in all those inaccessible spaces that is the problem.

After some number of months, that will eventually dry out. And then, you can let the door close.

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  • hi, just fyi, after I cleaned the refrigerator, I left the door open for a few days to dry out, but I guess keeping the doors open for long term is the question, – Artportraitdesign1 May 3 at 20:42
  • I am also using disinfectant & 409 also, are you saying, after I leave the doors open for a week, I can eventually close them? thanks again – Artportraitdesign1 May 3 at 20:49
  • @Artportraitdesign1 Yes, that's what I mean when I say "after some number of months". Best of luck! – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 4 at 0:17
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New refrigerators can be stored for long time with doors closed, without getting molded. Even when they are transported passing different climate zones or temperatures where condensation can not be totally avoided.

Used refrigerators are much more problematic, since they are often a location for unintended breeding of mold/fungi/bacteria. Open food like vegetables bring some spores into the refrigerator, even if they can not be seen and the food seems to be not affected.

The tubing/holes which connects the inner rear side with the backside to evaporate any condensed water is very difficult to clean and the backside itself would have to be disinfected as well to destroy every spores. These hiding places among possible others are the reason why cleaned used refrigerators should be stored with open doors. Maybe a plate full of vinegar (high acidity) would stop the spores to come back from their hiding places into the storage area if the door is kept closed.

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Washing with regular soap does not necessary kill all and maybe just a few of the bacteria or mold spores. You would have to use a antibacterial soap. Also you would need to use hot water with the soap to start.
Even with is, mold will still start to grow again, because of the moisture and bacterial in the ducts that bring cold air to the refrigerator compartment. Leaving the door closed does not allow the refrigerator to dry out.

Other items such as cabinets and electronic devices do not generate a moist environment, therefore the growth of mold is substantially reduced.
See the Ans to similar question here about how often, etc.

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  • hi, just fyi, after I cleaned the refrigerator, I left the door open for a few days to dry out, but I guess keeping the doors open for long term is the question, – Artportraitdesign1 May 3 at 20:42
  • I am also using disinfectant & 409 also, are you saying, after I leave the doors open for a week, I can eventually close them? thanks again – Artportraitdesign1 May 3 at 20:49
  • By open, we mean leave the door open a crack, maybe an inch so air can still get in. Besides mold, leaving it completely close could intensified odors. It's impossible to guess all the items that were circulating in the air in the refrigerator when it was in use. If you are in a dry climate like Arizona, maybe a week is long enough to dry out. In other areas, it could be a month. High humid area, maybe never. – Programmer66 May 3 at 23:01

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