Tips and Procedures
Learn how to restore appliances to the appearance and function they had when new.
Modern domestic refrigerators utilize a plastic interior compartment liner. Between it and the exterior cabinet is foamed in insulation. On occasion those plastic liners can develop unsightly cracks. Stress from shrinkage after assembly or a wall being struck with heavy food stuffs while cold can start the cracking process. While this doesn't affect the insulating ability of the appliance, it can be unsightly. The compartment liner is not replaceable and most manufacturers consider such an occurrence a 'cosmetic' problem and will not cover any repair or replacement if out of the product's stated warranty period.
Such a crack could possibly allow some moisture into the cabinet insulation but wouldn't significantly affect its cooling ability. The crack itself might spread even further though if not tended to. That could be a concern.
If you'd like to stop further cracking and possibly finish any existing unsightly cracks, you an see some options listed below.
Several refrigerator manufacturers have come up with their own way to deal with the cosmetic cracks. You can choose the best for your situation. Retarding further cracking and sealing the crack to prevent moisture infiltration is the main reason but the visual appearance can also be important too. Whatever is used it must be 'food grade' or food safe being around foodstuffs.
Liner Repair Tip Instructions
Liner Repair Kit Links
As explained in the PDF preparation instructions linked above, stopping the crack from spreading is the first concern. Whirlpool recommends drilling a small hole at each end of the crack. This should stop the crack from spreading further. Then fill and/or cover the crack to prevent moisture infiltration. Once that is done work on a cosmetic finish if it is still necessary.
If the crack is on a flat surface like illustrated above, the plasticized tape makes a very professional finish. It's appearance is similar to the plastic itself and if done well can just look like a seam in the molded plastic. If the crack has developed on a curved surface, an epoxy may be the necessary route to take. If a hole has developed on a flat surface, the Whirlpool epoxy kit that includes a piece of plastic liner material might be able to be utilized.
As mentioned above, whatever is used it should be food safe as toxic chemicals used around food products could affect the food and the persons consuming it. The repair kits produced by the appliance manufacturers should meet all safety requirements.
All of the information in these Appliance Clinic procedures is provided FREE OF CHARGE. No liability is assumed by the author for the accuracy of the contents or damages caused by the use of these procedures.