Why is my fridge turning yellow?
July 3, 2023 4:52 PM   Subscribe

My fridge quite suddenly got this weird yellow markings. What could be causing it?
posted by dhruva to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you clean it with anything different?

Have you filled your kitchen with any kind of particularly oily smoke lately?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:17 PM on July 3, 2023

Did you change anything about the lighting or flooring in your kitchen? It looks to me like it's just picking up light scatter from the floor.

Maybe I'm not seeing it correctly, but what sort of surface is on the door? Looks like brushed metal, hence my thought that it's just a reflection that you haven't observed before because of some change nearby.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2023

just to be sure: you're not asking about the yellow fridge magnets?
posted by scruss at 6:16 PM on July 3, 2023 [12 favorites]

It does look at at first like reflected light but on a closer look you can tell that's not it.

Can you rule out greasy deposition from smoke, or have you tried to clean it with anything? If you haven't already, make sure to do any test cleaning in a small and less visible spot.

It may help to list the make and model of the fridge, I wonder if there could be some sort of coating on it that has gone cloudy due to fluctuations in humidity and temperature…
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:27 PM on July 3, 2023

Are the magnets normally where the discoloration is?

If you recently got new magnets, I can imagine a yellow deposit from the glue or the plastic of the letters themselves.
posted by jamjam at 6:51 PM on July 3, 2023

What happens if you try to wipe it off with your finger? If it wipes off easily, my first guess would be pollen sticking to the fridge door via kitchen grease, but honestly none of this makes a ton of sense. Could you tell us a little more about what it’s actually like in person, or post a better photo?
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 7:01 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: To answer some questions:
- It’s not light
- The yellowing is also seen on the sides, where there are no (and never have been) magnets
- It doesn't wipe off, it looks like a pigment change
- We haven’t done anything out of the ordinary (greasy oil fumes etc)
- The floor is just tiles
- The fridge is an LG GR 739DTC
-More photos. 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by dhruva at 7:14 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Does the sunlight hit the surface? UV light can turn protective plastic coatings yellow.
posted by mochapickle at 7:20 PM on July 3, 2023

Response by poster: It's weird that it's only seen at the bottom half of the fridge, but the past 2 weeks have been intense in terms of heat (we had a heat wave)
posted by dhruva at 7:23 PM on July 3, 2023

My best guess is that the clear coating on the fridge has discoloured due to UV light. A lot of clear coatings will discolour just like this over time, particularly if they're exposed to direct sunlight.
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Heat seems like a reasonable explanation.

Hot air rises of course, but the fridge motor's at the bottom, and it probably had to work really hard and generate a lot of heat to maintain cold inside.
posted by jamjam at 7:31 PM on July 3, 2023

White powder coats can yellow with too much heat
White powder yellowing

Nothing is worse than the beautiful, pure white that you chose to powder coat with, turning yellow and beginning to look dirty and dingy. If the white powder reacts with a curing temperature that is too high, or the curing time is too long, it can yellow. If you are going to be using pure white powder, make sure that you follow the curing instructions exactly to prevent this problem.
posted by jamjam at 7:36 PM on July 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok I agree that heat/light induced discolouration is probably the answer; the areas just under the handle are less yellowy, and is consistent with being in the shade. (which also explains why Sunburnt and SaltySalticid thought that it was just light scattering)
posted by dhruva at 7:43 PM on July 3, 2023

If it was light, why would it show up just now?

The handle pierces the insulation to some degree, and probably loses heat to the interior.
posted by jamjam at 7:49 PM on July 3, 2023

Did you ever remove the plastic film that protects the surfaces during shipping?
posted by rockindata at 6:04 AM on July 4, 2023 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: jamjam: If it was light, why would it show up just now?

That's the weird part; I didn't notice a gradual yellowing. The fridge is old, it came with the house so easily more than 15 yrs old. So maybe the previous owners removed any plastic that might have been there, no idea about this.
posted by dhruva at 7:54 AM on July 4, 2023

No, what I’m asking is if the shipping plastic was ever actually removed. It’s common for people to not notice that the film is there, and leave it for years. It may be that now that plastic is yellowing over time, as plastic sometimes does, especially something like this that was supposed to be peeled off at installation. I would pick at the edges of the panel with a fingernail to see if you can find an edge.
posted by rockindata at 6:06 PM on July 4, 2023 [4 favorites]

For video of what rockindata is talking about, 0:25 here
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:12 AM on July 5, 2023

Response by poster: Ok I checked for plastic covering, even scratched at the surface with a blade, no luck. I did find traces of plastic wrap on the inside of the door, suggesting that it must have been removed.
posted by dhruva at 8:35 PM on July 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

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