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Disgusting Moldy Smoker - HELP!!!!

old smokey nj

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Hello All,

I made the mistake of lending my MES to a buddy about 6 months ago. He used it a time or 2, and returned it about a week ago. I just went to fire it up for a smoked venison roast, and, much to my dismay, my buddy never cleaned it. EVERYTHING is covered in mold - walls, shelves, door, thermometer wire...everything. It smells even worse than it looks. I'm looking for some advice on how to clean it. I'm figuring one piece at a time - but I'm hoping there's some techniques and / or products that might make this job easier, or at least not so disgusting. I was going to post some pics, but I think you all get the picture, and I may vomit while trying to take the pics.

I don't know what he was thinking, and I'm certainly never lending him anything again. It's so nasty, I'm thinking of throwing the whole thing out! HELP!!!
 

old smokey nj

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Thanks Meat Mopper - do you mean after trying to clean it plug it in, or plug it in now and dry out / kill all the mold?
 

old smokey nj

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Gotcha - I meant should I try to clean it first (get the big stuff out) and then plug in to kill remaining, or just plug it in initially and let the smoker get it clean.

Thanks for the advice!!!
 

73saint

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I hate that for you. I let someone use my smoker once, swore I’d never do it again. Never ceases to amaze me how people can do that. I was taught to leave things better than they were when loaned to you. That is a shame.
 

jted

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Hi,
I feel your pain. As far as cleaning I never clean the smoker with commercial cleaners. A 50 50 mix of cider vinegar on a damp rag will clean and kill the mold. Pull the grates as you have never cleaned them Spotless. Then rub them down with the vinegar mix.With the smoker unplugged wipe the walls down again. Remove the drip pan and clean it and the bottom. When dry Plug it up and run it real hot for several hours then let it smoke for a couple more. Make it a all day project.
Let me say you have had several opinions and mine is just one.
If you want to have some fun invite the mold maker over give him some rubber gloves and a brillo pad Jted
 

SonnyE

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I just use the self cleaning setting.
Sparkle Farcle!

I do what daveomak posted. I run my MES 30 at 275° for two hours after using it to sterilize the smoker.
Then, before I use it again, I check the inside, and run it at 275° for two hours before smoking. Usually I use the pre-sterilizer cycle to also dry my AMNPS tray of pellets.

No bugs my Lady!

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend."
 

johnmeyer

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I'd sure do a light cleaning first, to get the worst of the stuff off. A lot of people here have recommended "Purple Power," which you can get at Walmart. It is mostly for the greasy stuff, but that may be what is under the mold.

My worry about simply trying to get rid of it by heating is that the MES doesn't even get close to self-cleaning temps (275 F for the MES; 900 F degrees for a self-cleaning oven). You risk baking the gunk on permanently rather than removing it.

To avoid mold in the future, I recommend leaving the door open for at least 24 hours after every smoke, to make sure every last bit of moisture gets out.
 

daveomak

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Mold can cause respiratory problems... KILL IT FIRST with high heat.... then clean.... wear a mask when cleaning...
Close down the exhaust and crank her up to full heat... If the exhaust is open,mold spores can escape the smoker..
The warm moist environment in your lungs is the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of stuff, including molds....
 

HalfSmoked

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Wow yup had the same thing happen but caught mine before it molded. I go along with Dave here kill that mold first with caution.

Warren
 

johnmeyer

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Dave brings up a really good point, but I would still be concerned about baking the stuff on and then maybe not getting it all off. Remember, at 275 (MES top temp) you aren't going to burn off anything, unlike a self-cleaning oven or a gas grill.

Since the concern is friable (airborne) particles, perhaps you could simply start by putting some bleach in a bottle, spray that on the gunky surfaces of the un-heated smoker, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, wipe off the bleach, and then proceed with a light cleaning, all of this prior to heating it up. Bleach kills mold and fungus pretty quickly and effectively.

Doing this would avoid the problem Dave described, but without potentially baking the gunk on so that residue might still be infecting your future cooking for months to come.
 

old smokey nj

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Thanks everyone for your feedback. The mold is over 1/2" thick in some places, and is about 1/8" thick in most places. Bleach may kill it, but I'm not sure if it will soak in enough to completely kill it. It's a mess.
 

old smokey nj

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I'll try to take some pics tonight to give you all an idea of exactly what we're dealing with here.
 

SonnyE

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Thanks everyone for your feedback. The mold is over 1/2" thick in some places, and is about 1/8" thick in most places. Bleach may kill it, but I'm not sure if it will soak in enough to completely kill it. It's a mess.
Follow Dave's recommendations, and if needed, use a propane torch to burn it to death, carefully.
If there is any gas left, go sterilize your "friends" toes.

I hope the outside is cleaner than the inside.
 

daveomak

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TURN ON THE SMOKER TO MAX TEMP AND KILL THE MOLD BEFORE YOU DO ANY MORE.... CLOSE THE EXHAUST ALSO...
 

johnmeyer

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1/2" thick?? Wow, what the heck did your friend do? I've seen animals in the dead of winter with less fur than that!
 

gmc2003

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I'll try to take some pics tonight to give you all an idea of exactly what we're dealing with here.
If you do I know I'll peak, but give us a warning post first. Especially if it's right after dinner.

Chris
 

chopsaw

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Never disturb mold before you kill it . Close the smoker up and run it max temp like said above . You asked the question ,, there is the answer .
I've been around mold remediation , it's a serious problem .
 

muddydogs

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What got left in the smoker? I've never had a mold problem in any of my smokers and all I do is wash the racks and change the foil in the drip pans. Got me worried now, I'll have to check the MES when I get home as last time I used it I spritzed with apple juice and honey but its not the first time.
 

old smokey nj

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Sorry all - got home too late to take pics. Will post them tonight.

My "buddy" made stuffed jalapeno poppers and some fatties. Apparently made them a few days apart, and closed up smoker for 5 months, uncleaned!!!
 

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