The ordinary household ice box is usually neglected. People proceed upon the theory that the temperature of the ice box being low everything about it will be sanitary and healthful. There is truth in this opinion, but the little truth in it is overworked. Food will spoil in an ice box but the spoiling proceeds more slowly than at room temperature-so slowly, in fact, that the food is usually consumed before spoiling time has come around. Nevertheless, food absorbs ice box odors and, although that does no harm, it does no good, and nobody relishes the idea. As a rule, ice boxes smell or can be smelled. Sometimes the former way of putting it better expressed the aggressiveness of the odor.
Ice box drain water has a temperature of 35 to 55 degrees, and slimes, molds and some bacteria grow well at that temperature. The jellylike masses of slime commonly found in the refrigerator drain is a vegetable, low temperature growth. The odor from this cold water growth goes into the refrigerator. Sometimes refrigerator drains are connected, without traps, with the sewers and sewer odors travel up the pipes to the refrigerator.
In addition, the slow bacterial and chemical changes in cold food generate odorous gases. In the ordinary household refrigerator these gases flow out when the door is opened. In the large business establishment refrigerator, door ventilation is far from being enough. Their refrigerators never smell perfectly sweet.
But the reader is more interested in the cure. The cure for slime in the drains is to rod them out, wash them out with ammonia, and then with a chlorinated lime wash.