Safety Hazard: Check MicroFridge Rentals for Mold

Students found mold in their MicroFridges

Students found mold in their MicroFridges

Grace Janofsky, Staff Writer

On Monday, Aug. 29, residents of Stanford Hall were perplexed by the smell that had infiltrated one of the rooms. 

Many described the smell as “musty” like “old potato chips.” Some even went as far as to say it smelled like “rotten milk.” The smell took over the lives of the room and hall residents as they played detective to find the source. 

In the days leading up to Aug. 29, the room had two visits from the Villanova Environmental Health and Safety Department, two visits from custodial services and a phone call with the supervisor of Public Safety. The source of the smell was not found. In a last ditch effort, one of the residents suggested checking the drain pan on the back of rental MicroFridge (combined microwave and mini-fridge for college residents). 

Chaos ensued as the tray was pulled out. It was filled with not only liquids of vibrant colors, but also apparent mold and a horrible smell. In a frenzy, the rest of the residents who had rented microfridges ran to check the drain pan on theirs, and although their rooms did not smell, nearly all contained some form of excessive dirt and dust and apparent mold. 

“The fridges are old and they are supposed to be fully cleaned before being installed in the dorm rooms,” said a MicroFridge representative when called on Sept. 1. 

The company was very kind and offered to make a note on the profile of any student who discovered the mold and/or dirt in the drain pan.

Students who wish to rent a mini fridge rather than buying their own can do so through the MicroFridge company. It aims to make the process less stressful by dropping off the fridge prior to move-in. On the company’s home page of its website, it claims that “Move-In day just got much easier,” and one can  “Rent with confidence.” However, that confidence is beginning to dwindle after the discovery early this semester. 

After the drain pan was discovered, Residence Life became involved and the non-emergency public safety number was called. Custodial staff arrived to aid in cleaning the minifridges because of the mold concern, and residents also cleaned their own. Many of the residents later contacted MicroFridge due to safety concerns and asked to waive the cancellation fee and return the fridges. MicroFridge was reportedly pleasant to work with and willing to compromise. It was on campus Friday, Sept. 2 cleaning or replacing units for students who contacted them directly. 

“Residence Life advises any student who has a concern about a rented Microfridge to contact the company directly,” said Residence Life.

One can contact the company by visiting its website either through email or by phone. 

According to Residence Life and Facilities, “Trained Villanova facilities personnel responded and disinfected the refrigerators according to the University’s Mold and Mildew Prevention plan.” Residents were told there was no health threat and they were able to return the fridges to their rooms if they wished. 

Residents were informed that because they contracted with MicroFridge directly that they had the power to inform the student body rather than from the University itself. Residents attempted to spread the word as much as possible. However, it is nearly impossible to reach every single student who may have contracted with MicroFridge.

For any students who have rented from MicroFridge this semester, it is recommended that they check the back of their fridge for the drain pan that looks like a black removable tray. It is located on the bottom half of the fridge and should slide out. If there are any concerns, contact MicroFridge directly and take photo proof of the situation.