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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have a wine cellar—108 bottles in a wine fridge. The problem is that I have mold inside this fridge. Even after cleaning it all, including the shelves, it comes back every few months. Humidity is around 80 percent, temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees F). What can I do to get rid of the mold?

—Omer, Herzliya, Israel

Dear Omer,

It’s unusual for mold to be forming in a wine fridge if it’s functioning properly. I have a few ideas of what might be wrong. For starters, I’d make sure the seals are functioning properly, so exterior humidity isn’t finding its way in. If there’s a filter, you might want to make sure it’s clean and not clogged—a lack of air flow could be a big problem.

It sounds like the fridge is holding a decent temperature, but you might want to turn it down a smidge, closer to a target of 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) to see if that helps. Warmer air is more humid than cool air. If your fridge can’t get that cold, then maybe you have a leaking coil or some other problem with the fridge itself that could contribute to the humidity.

To clean the mold out, just use a damp cloth or sponge, and then dry the fridge out as much as possible before filling it up with bottles and turning it on again. The ideal humidity is closer to 70 percent. If nothing else works, a quick fix might be to put in an open box of baking powder or some of those humidity/odor-absorbing silica packs that are sold at hardware stores.

—Dr. Vinny

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