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Cleaning Rotten Meat Odors from a Freezer

Category Odors
Contents of a freezer compartment from a refrigerator with the freezer on top
A power outage or a malfunctioning freezer can leave you with spoiled meat and the odor that comes with that. This is a guide about cleaning rotten meat odors from a freezer.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
February 22, 2008

We have a huge problem. We have an old chest freezer downstairs in the basement. It was still operating, or so we thought, until my husband opened it recently. The odor was immediate and horrible. I have never smelled anything worse in my entire 50 plus years. It immediately filtered through our entire house (we have a 3 bedroom ranch built in the 50's).

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He closed the lid on the freezer immediately, but it took a couple of hours for the odor to fade. Now we have the problem of cleaning out the freezer. I can't bear to open it again. The meat is now floating in water from bags of ice that had melted. Can anyone give some advice on how to clean this mess without making the entire family ill from the fumes?

By Jackie from Ohio

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Answers

February 22, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

This may seem a bit extreme, but I had to mention it. Try contacting the FDA (I believe they have a website listing contact information), to see if they have any safety tips for your situation. I know that the public can contact the FDA to learn food safety tips. I say this because not only is there rotten raw meat in the freezer, but also water in which bacteria can multiply. I remember when there was a canned chili food poisoning issue in my area people were told to not open the cans, but to place them in a plastic bag and seal it, then another plastic bag and seal it, then another, just to dispose of it. If food poisoning in canned food can be seen as that dangerous, all the food poisoning bacteria floating in that freezer has to be volatile. Whatever you decide, please be careful!!!

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

You do have a problem! Hubby says there should be a drain on the bottom of the freezer. Hook a hose up to that drain.

Connect the hose to an empty 5 gallon water jug and dump the water in an appropriate place. Repeat until water is drained from the freezer.

Plug the drain. Get a couple of strong people to pick up the (now waterless and lighter) freezer. Take the freezer to an appropriate disposal area.

If you really want to save the freezer, it will take some time to clear out the rancid meat. Scrub with bleach.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20083 found this helpful
Best Answer

We had this happen to us several years ago, when it accidentally got unplug & sat for a week before we 'discovered'' it. Whew, but we plugged it in, let it freeze back up, then dumped the food inside to a container we took to the land fill where they disposed of it by buying it in something we didn't have. Then we cleaned it out with baking soda & water. LOTS OF BAKING SODA.

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Then we placed newspapers & barbecue briquets inside on the paper & let sit for 3 days...we then replaced the sills, cause it did leave the smell in them, cleaned it with bleach solution and placed another round of newspaper in with briquets & BAKING SODA. It completely took the smell out, still have it, and have never smelled it. We have even moved 2 times since and being unplugged during the move we put newspaper & soda in, just as a precautionary measure, but no smell or anything.

This freezer is almost 55 yrs. old too! VERY THICK SIDES If it is operable, then it is worth the try....let us know how it goes...Good Luck..Vicki in KY

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 2, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can wear a swimmer's nose plug, or (a tip from a coroner) put vics vapor rub under your nose.Try wearing a dusk mask with something in it that doesn't bother your breathing - eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, etc.

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Get some rubbermaid tubs and scoop out the water, debris, etc. Dig a hole in your yard, put an old screen on top, and dump the water there. I wouldn't mess with the toilet because you might clog it with something - plus the goal is to get it outside. Bury the hole back up so wildlife or pets don't try to mess with it.

Triple bag the garbage and get rid of it.

Then go spend the night at a friend's house or something and leave the upstairs windows open with floor fans circulating the air. Yuck. You have a job ahead of you.

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July 22, 20120 found this helpful

The chicken thighs were left in the freezer of our camper. When we came home we thought we had cleaned everything out, and shut off the power. They were left in there two weeks. When we went into the camper and there was a horrible smell. I have washed it with soap and Clorox, put out onions and lemons and it still smells. Help! We are planning to use it in three days.

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By Rgr

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July 23, 20120 found this helpful
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After the Clorox and Dawn, clean it again with white vinegar. When it is dry, set a bag of charcoal in the freezer if there an still an odor.

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July 25, 20120 found this helpful
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You might also try pouring vanilla extract on a damp rag, then wipe down everything in the frig/freezer. Do not wipe or rinse off. Then as an added step, put some fresh coffee grounds in a small shallow dish, place in frig/freezer, or both, & leave it in there like you would baking soda.

LorindaWalshCO

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By 0 found this helpful
December 27, 2010

How do I get the smell of rotten meat out of the freezer of our RV?

By Kaybird from College Station, TX

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December 28, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Use charcoal briquettes, the ones for barbeques. Leave them inside the compartment. Line it first with foil. Replace the charcoal every 24 hours until the smell has gone completely. When it's no longer offensive, clean the area with some white vinegar.

Good luck!

Monique :)

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June 17, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

My freezer was accidentally switched off for about 10 days, full of meat and smelled terrible! I cleaned it out with a strong vinegar solution, then bicarb soda, but the smell was still really strong and I was starting to panic that I'd have to replace the whole thing. When I pulled the whole freezer out, I saw that blood (from the meat) had dripped down into the recess - a lot of it. Luckily once that was cleaned out, the smell started to dissipate!

Then I cleaned every surface in the room with vinegar and put newspaper sheets down all over the floor with coffee granules, to deodorize. And opened every door/window in the house. 24 hours later, there is only a faint smell! So relieved! (the stench was terrible before). I think I'll have to keep the coffee granules out for a while. After about 3-4 days of airing the freezer, I'll try switching it back on but the coffee inside, to soak up any remnants of the smell. Hopefully I'll be able to use it in about 1-2 weeks.

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July 30, 20110 found this helpful

Our freezer died while we were on our 14 day vacation. All the meat rotted and melted water as well as blood is everywhere. How would we know if the blood got into the insulation of the freezer? How do we get the horrible smell out of the house? Please help ASAP.

By John

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July 30, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've had this happen when the power died also. Though I'd never get the house to smell nice again, let alone use the fridge. I did use multiple tips to get it back to good. First throw out all of the old meat etc. get it out of the house into the trash bins outside. Clean, clean clean. Use a bit of dish soap combined with cleanser (Pinesol, etc). Use hot soapy water. You will probably want to wash twice. Once to get the major mess, then repeat.

It'll still have odor after clean. Don't worry. You can use bowls of white vinegar around the house and within the fridge and freezer. Put new open boxes of baking soda in freezer and refrigerator to continue absorbing odors. You could also use bowls of kitty litter or charcoal for a few days (or at least hours) to absorb the odors. Good luck.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 24, 2016

We came home to the freezer off after being gone for 12 days. The meat was rotten and everything else ruined. I have cleaned the freezer and removed the bottom tray. Everything has been washed with vinegar, bleach, and baking soda. I also left charcoal briquettes in the freezer and coffee grounds. The smell is better, but still there. What else can I do?

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October 25, 20161 found this helpful

Sadly, the smell might have permeated the insulation in the freezers lining. Older ones are porous or even like Styrofoam...and they can keep the smell. The only thing I can think of is set it out in the air/sun for a few days. If it helps, move it back in.

If not, use it for shop storage. I had to.

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October 25, 20161 found this helpful

TRY, WASHING IT DOWN, WITH, TOMATOE JUICE, I HEARD OF SOMEBODY, WASHING THEIR DOG, WITH, TJ , AFTER, GETING SPRAYED BY A SKUNK! IT WORKED, CAN'T HURT, JUST TRY IT! VICKIE

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October 25, 20160 found this helpful

An unfortunately common problem in fridges and freezers is biofilm-microorganisms attach to the wall, smell horrible and are almost impossible to remove. A type of biofilm is plaque on our teeth, fortunately easy to remove. When the biofilm forms on the fridge walls, there is little to do except buy a new fridge.

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October 27, 20160 found this helpful

A large bag of charcoal, tear open down the side, spread open, place in bottom of freezer, close lid & allow to sit undisturbed about a week. Worked for me !

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October 28, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you all for your suggestions. The odor in the freezer/fridge is much better. Here is what I did. Removed everything from the unit, shelves, baskets, I mean everything. Washed it with bleach, vinegar, baking soda (one situation at a time). Soaked newspapers in vinegar put in both sides, closed doors. Left it for couple days. Open odor still there. Next, 1 lb of coffee grounds, close door for 4 days. Odor better! Last found the drip pan (probably should have done this first) Took the back off the freezer, cleaned drip pan. Odor is faint. But We are able to use the freezer/fridge again. A lot of work! Again thanks all suggestions,

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December 27, 20160 found this helpful

Spray and wipe with baking soda in it. Leave freezer outside for a day then wash it off. Let put dish of Vanilla essence in freezer and leave in for a day. Should do the trick.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 9, 2017

I have a chest freezer that had a rotten turkey in it due to the power going out. When the power returned it tripped the breaker. The freezer works still, but the smell is horrible because the power was off to it for 3 months before I noticed the smell coming from the shed.

When I opened it the meat on the turkey was decomposed and juicy. It took a lot to get to the turkey and reach in and get it. I took the freezer out into the yard and removed the drain plugs. I washed it out with water and bleach and maybe a whole shelf of cleaning supplies as well. Then I left it in the yard for a month to air out.

The smell was kinda gone, but since I have plugged it back in and let it freeze, I put a bag of ice in it. The ice had this taste of rotten meat and the smell is kinda back. The freezer has an aluminum shell with foam insulation. Any ideas on what I can use to clean it besides napalm? That is my choice to try next. It's a 2 year old freezer and I paid high dollars for it.

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Answers

August 9, 20170 found this helpful

You could try activated charcoal or cat litter. If the smell still persists, it may have gotten into the insulation and you would need a professional appliance service company to fix it.

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August 9, 20170 found this helpful

That does not sound like a fun sight to have to deal with.

There is a forum on ThriftyFun if you want to reference:

http://www.thri  m-a-Freezer.html

For some research online says:

Combine 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water. Alternatively, use 2 tablespoons of baking soda per quart of water. Then, scrub the interior of the freezer with the solution should do the trick.

Reference: http://homeguid  eezer-33268.html

Hope that helps - good luck!

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August 10, 20170 found this helpful

Boy - I cannot image how you were able to remove the rotting meat!!

Hope you are able to open your shed so you do not have to breathe any suggested cleaning methods.

I believe you should take any cleaning solution you decide to try and put some in a good spray bottle so you can spray into every nook and cranny several times.

Did anything drip on the floor? This may need cleaning also. Be sure to take all racks/baskets outside, scrub them well and leave in the sunshine a couple of days.

Some ThriftyFun past posts on this subject have some very good suggestions and I think you will find one that you can use.

http://www.thri  f207575.tip.html

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By 0 found this helpful
June 28, 2016

Can I salvage my fridge that has been stored for 6 months with a few rotting meats that were left in the freezer? I just pulled my relatively new fridge out from storage and I realized I made a huge stinky mistake. For the past 6 months a few old pieces of unidentified meats just rotted in the freezer portion of my my unplugged fridge while in storage.

Day one, I aired out the fridge and used vinegar and warm water to clean the entire fridge. Then I put multiple boxes of baking soda inside. Day two, I have continued to air out the fridge and used bleach and water to clean the entire fridge. I also added more baking soda, kitty liter, and coffee grinds. Day 3 the smell is still present but not as bad. What can I do now to get rid of the smell? Should I plug it in, will the cool air help? Should I go over with bleach again? I do not want to throw out the fridge unless it is dangerous to my family's health to use, I don't even know, is it? I've read some articles that suggested to use slices of oranges, newspaper, vanilla extract, etc. I don't mind all the work or products to salvage the fridge, but is it possible? Please help.

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

In this circumstance you migut try an enzymatic cleaner

Enzymatic cleaners are really the only thing that will get rid of that smell. These cleaners use enzymes to break up the organic matter that causes the smell. "They work quickly by bio-degrading the stain, grease, oil, dirt, grime, vomit, urine, blood, coffee or food into its basic carbon, hydrogen or oxygen element, eliminating the problem. "

You can buy one here https://www.che  amp;gclsrc=aw.ds

or, if you have brown sugar, citrus peels and a lot of time on your hands, you can make your own: http://www.wiki  e-Enzyme-Cleaner

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March 1, 20170 found this helpful

Use Nok-Out to rid the freezer from smells.

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October 19, 20130 found this helpful

Meat was left in the freezer with no hydro for 3 weeks. There are maggots everywhere and it smells. How do I get rid of the horrid smell?


Thank you.

By LIN

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August 30, 20130 found this helpful

The power was accidently turned off to the RV refrigerator. There was just canned pop in the frig, but there were frozen hamburgers in the freezer. Horrible, horrible!

The freezer surfaces have been cleaned, but the odor is coming from wherever the bloody mess drained. I'm thinking about pouring something onto the bottom of the freezer so it follows the same path as the mess did. Unfortunately, I don't know where it will go. I wouldn't want this mess to run out anywhere on the carpet.

I would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

By Susan

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December 27, 20100 found this helpful

How do I get the smell of rotten meat out of the freezer?

By MillieD from Toledo

Answers:

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

I'd wash the whole freezer out with straight vinegar (any kind) or vinegar mixed with baking soda, and hope the smell didn't get into the condenser! (07/30/2009)

By Cyinda

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

If this is a refrigerator/freezer, the freezer's bottom and back will have to be removed using screws. This should expose any area that was hiding germs. Clean and rinse well. Screw in the freezer's clean bottom and back. This should take care of the problem. Also check out the rubber trim. (07/30/2009)

By lbrady

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

I worked for a real estate investor for years, and that my friend is the hardest thing to do. You can spray Febreze all in the freezer but it's down in the coils and if you spray through the blower vent you risk shorting out the entire freezer (did that once). You can spray a lot and should turn it off and leave it off if you spray down in there until it dries completely.

Before you do any of this spraying, there is another product industrial strength called Odoban, I'm not sure where to get it, google it. It's 10 times stronger than Febreze but same ingredient. These products do work. It is not a masking agent. Thoroughly clean it with bleach. Sometimes spilled blood can run down under a drawer and cause the smell. Also, use baking soda in the fridge when you get done and turn it back on. Good luck. (08/01/2009)

By Katie55

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Odoban and Febreze. They are not masking agents. (08/01/2009)

By KATIE55

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

You can buy the Odoban at Sam's Club. (08/02/2009)

By scmajbs6

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

I've tried all the things listed before when moving into apartments, and none of them worked that well. Last month in well over 100 degree heat (I live in the desert in Tucson, AZ) and while it was humid, my freezer in the garage was left ajar with pork, a turkey, and chicken in it. The turkey exploded all over the interior.

After chucking the food, the stench was incredible. I sprayed the interior with KOE (Kennel Odor Eliminator) and left it without wiping it down because my stomach couldn't take any more. The next morning the smell was mostly gone. I sprayed it again and was able to wipe it out as long as I didn't look at it. I sprayed it one more time, left it open to dry and the smell was completely gone. (08/02/2009)

By Chiismychi

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Buy some charcoal briquettes (like Kingsford) and place a couple of bowls in the freezer, they will absorb the odor. (08/14/2009)

By PICO

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July 30, 20090 found this helpful

The meat in my freezer spoiled. I cleaned the freezer out with soap and bleach. But the rotten meat smell is still there and in my room as well. What product can I use that will rectify this problem? Please advise where it can be purchased and/or ordered. Thanks, please hurry.

Croffort

Answers:

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Arm and Hammer baking soda is what I use and it usually takes out any unpleasant odors from the fridge and freezer. Just set an opened box inside and you will smell the difference in a day or two. (01/02/2009)

By Natalie

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

This happened to my grandpa on his farm and we cleaned it and used a bag of charcoal spread around to absorb the odors and that freezer is still on the go. Hope it works for you. (01/02/2009)

By nana_katie

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

I had the same terrible experience. Place a bag of kitty litter inside. Worked for me. Good luck! (01/02/2009)

By Sandy

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Litter works well and so does vinegar, about 6 cups water and a cup of vinegar and wipe it all out. I hope you were able to get that smell out. :) (01/03/2009)

By Heather

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

I had a friend who was quartermaster for the base on Guantanamo back in the early 80s. Occasionally, they would get a refrigerator "container" (as in the back of an 18-wheeler) that lost refrigeration in transit and the meat would be spoiled. They would take the meat out to sea, then steam clean the container. After that, they would open several 3-lb. cans of coffee (grounds) and spread that in the container. Afterward, they would close it up and leave it for a few days without opening it. Worked like a charm.

Pour some unused coffee grounds into a flat dish and place the dish in your freezer and close it up for a few days. If your room also has an odor, leave several dishes out. You can use the cheapest coffee you can find. I have also used this trick in a vehicle that carried fertilizer (the "natural" kind). Only took about a day, there.

Good luck. (01/03/2009)

By Jilson

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Place charcoal briquettes (4-5) in a bowl and place in your freezer. You will notice a big difference! They will last a month or so. (01/08/2009)

By Booklady2228

Rotten Meat Smell in Freezer

Try putting lots of newspaper in the freezer and leave it there for a while. (01/08/2009)

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