Thread Number: 70980  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1962 GE Frost Guard Refrigerator
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Post# 939788   5/22/2017 at 17:54 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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I just purchased a 1962 GE Frost Guard refrigerator and have been cleaning it out. I have been trying to get the aluminum shelf guards that attach to the inside of the door clean, but they have this weird white film on them. I have tried cleaning with alcohol, lemon juice and vinegar, which has only made the spots I tested worse. I have included a few pictures. I am not sure what kind of metal this is and don't want to do any more harm to it than I already have. Any ideas how I can clean these and make them shiny again? Thanks!

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size

Post# 939797 , Reply# 1   5/22/2017 at 18:45 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Discolored Aluminum Trim Bars

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These are probably anodized aluminum, I have never found a way to restore anodized aluminum when the finish is damaged.


Does anyone have a way to restore this type of finish ?

Post# 939823 , Reply# 2   5/23/2017 at 00:31 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
I have nothing to suggest . . .

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. . . but congratulations on your purchase!  You're going to love that refrigerator.  Just be happy that it's complete and you don't have to hunt down missing shelf guards. 

Post# 939859 , Reply# 3   5/23/2017 at 10:07 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Frost Guard

kelly0721's profile picture
I appreciate the responses to my question. I will just clean it the best I can with soap and water. I have been searching for a 1960s era refrigerator for a long time and am super excited to get this baby in my kitchen. I just need to get the smell and the gunk out of it and it will be good to go. :)

Post# 939861 , Reply# 4   5/23/2017 at 10:44 by swestoyz (Waterloo, Iowa)        

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You found yourself a good one (IMO - one of the best).  I don't believe there is an easy solution to refinishing or polishing anodized trim to factory fresh.  In the past I've just cleaned with soap and water and left them be.


Enjoy your new find!



Post# 939918 , Reply# 5   5/23/2017 at 18:18 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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I've heard that oven cleaner will remove anodizing. Then it will look uniform, but you will have to keep it polished.

Post# 940650 , Reply# 6   5/28/2017 at 11:56 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Stinky Refrigerator

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Any tips on removing the horrible stank from the refrigerator? So far, I have cleaned the inside with bleach and water, but the funk keeps coming back even though it looks clean. It is seriously demoralizing going out to my garage every day to continue cleaning to find that overnight the stink has returned.

Post# 940651 , Reply# 7   5/28/2017 at 12:06 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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A funky smell is fairly common in old refrigerators when they're allowed to warm up.  Once they're running again and cooled down, the smell will usually go away.


If you don't leave the fridge doors open over night while you're in the process of cleaning it up (and any other time that it's not plugged in and cooling), the smell will be more pronounced.

Post# 940704 , Reply# 8   5/28/2017 at 19:57 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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Thanks Ben! I think it is a beauty and will last a long time. Now I just need to find a repair person in case it ever needs repair.

Post# 940762 , Reply# 9   5/29/2017 at 06:17 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Baking soda helps relieve the funk smell.

Post# 940765 , Reply# 10   5/29/2017 at 06:58 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Stinky Refrigerator

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As others mentioned once the ref is running the smell will lesson, but unfortunately you may never get rid of it completely.


I have had a 1960 GE Frost Guard upright freezer for over 30 years that my brother Jeff installed a new compressor in 30 years ago and the smell that got into the insulation has never completely gone away, after items are removed from the freezer they always have a faint smell, luckily if food is properly packaged it does not get into the food.


The good thing is your 1962 ref has mostly foam insulation and it is more resistant to holding odors.


The best thing to do is use good activated charcoal in open dishes etc, this is 30 times more effective than using baking soda. Other remedies I have heard of that seem to help are filling the ref with balled up newspaper and changing every few days [ with the ref running ] you can also take a dry paper towel and wipe inside surfaces with real vanilla extract.


John L.



Post# 941124 , Reply# 11   5/31/2017 at 09:28 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Stinky Refrigerator

kelly0721's profile picture
I will try the activated charcoal and see if that helps. I have some that I use for making terrariums. If it can keep those from being stinky it definitely should help with the refrigerator. I never thought of vanilla extract! What a easy, simple way to freshen up the fridge.

Thanks for the great tips John. :)

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