Cleaning a Freezer After a Power Outage

Open chest freezer

A power outage can leave your freezer full of spoiled food. It is important to clean out the freezer and remove any odors before putting new food in it. This is a guide about cleaning a freezer after a power outage.



Here are questions related to Cleaning a Freezer After a Power Outage.

Question: Horrible Smell in Freezer After Hurricane Ivan

After Hurricane Ivan, power was off for 8 days, lost every thing in the freezer. I could not get home for a while, now the freezer has a horrible smell and I can't get it out. Tried bleaching the entire inside and still nothing. Also have baking soda inside.

Thanks in advance,

S. Robertson

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Most Recent Answer

By (Guest Post) 11/17/2008

I have tried bleach water, vinegar water, pure vinegar, three different ordor sprays, baking soda & water which worked the best. I thought next trip the dump when my son and one other person told me about charcoal. I just happened to have a new bag. I filled a baking dish and closed it up. At first i thought i wanted the smell to be gone after spending days and days trying everything people told or gave me. But honestly the charcoal worked!!

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Question: Cleaning a Freezer After a Power Outage

How do you get rid of bad smell from a freezer. I had a vacation for six weeks, when I came back my freezer had stopped working. There was some meat in there which was rotten and I can't get rid of the smell. It smells like dead carion. I have used all the suggested things (e.g.) bicarbonate of soda, I have steamed it with boiling hot water, and left it outside with the door open. If anyone has a another solution, I would be happy to try it.

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By Cassie (Guest Post) 05/10/2008

I am sharing a house with randoms at the moment, and I had been away for a week and got back to find a horrid smell as soon as I walked in the house. They said the smell was the bin then I opened the freezer to get food out and the smell knocked me over. They turned off the freezer at the wall and all my food was brown and soggy.

I cleaned out all the food and blood then used hot soapy water. Then drained that out and let it air out for a couple of days outside and it still stinks. So I poured in a bottle of white vinegar and it still smells. How can I get rid of the smell?

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Question: Cleaning a Freezer After a Power Failure

NJ had that bad winter last year. We never got around to cleaning the freezer out after it failed somewhere around Christmas. After a while we just forgot about it. So now, July 1st, the freezer stinks and we won't forget that. Are the fumes going to be toxic to breath in?

By HELPme911

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By Patricia Hamm [4] 07/06/2011

Please remember when the electricity is off inside of your home because of ice storm or snow it will be at or below freezing outside your home. I usually clean my freezor in winter by loading all the food in ice chests or boxes and set them in my car. With temperatures around the freezing mark I have plenty of time to clean it throughly. So the next time your power is out take the food outside of your home stored in protected containers and either place in a vehicle on the north side of your home or put in protective containers to keep the vermits out and save your hard work. I have done this in the winter when the power is out and have never lost anything yet. As for the smell, I like to use natural products and would probable make a paste of vinegar and baking sode and clean throughtly and leave in the sun for a few days to air out.

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Question: Cleaning Water Out of a Broken Freezer

I've already disposed of the rotten meat from broken freezer, there is about 4" of bloody water standing in bottom of freezer. I'm going to dispose of the freezer, but how do I dispose of the bloody water first? The smell is unbearable!

By Deborah

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By Mina [24] 12/13/2014

Yuck, what a horrible task you have in front of you. If it was me I think I'd open all the windows and use the wet/dry shop vac to suck up the mess as quickly as possible, remembering to breathe through my mouth & not my nose. Then I'd immediately get both the freezer and the shop vac out of the house. The shop vac could be cleaned out with the garden hose.

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Archive: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

We just survived Hurricane Katrina and are now beginning the clean-up. We emptied our chest freezer of all the contents right after the storm hit, but now it smells awful. The power has just now come back on after 10 days. How do I clean it and get rid of the awful smell before I can use it again?

Denise from Mississippi

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

A used appliance store gave me the following advice for a freezer full of spoiled meat: Clean the surfaces first (probably with a diluted bleach solution) then put a large open box of odor-absorbing scented cat litter in the bottom of the freezer and close the door for a couple of days. (Leave the freezer off.) It worked for me. I have also heard that filling the freezer full of crumpled newspaper will help. Can't remember if I tried that as well. Good luck! (09/09/2005)

By Rhonda S.

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

Crumpled newspaper will do the job. I once dealt with a full freezer that had been without power for over a week. And the crumpled newspaper removed the stench in quick order. (09/09/2005)

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

A neighbor once had that happen to her freezer above the fridge. The thawed blood had gotten under the plastic you might say, into the ventilation holes and the landlord said that it had to be replaced because of health reasons. I hope this is not your case. (09/10/2005)

By Cindy in AL

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

After you have throughly cleaned the freezer you can wipe it down with vanilla extract. After that try crumpled newspapers and that should do the job. (09/10/2005)

By mary wallace

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

As a military family when we moved, we always put coffee grounds in a clean sock, one in the freezer and one in the frig. We never had a problem with odor. (09/10/2005)

By Memere

Coffee Grounds

My niece bought a big new deep freeze and quickly filled it with bulk purchases of various meats she found on sale. Unfortunately, it had to be placed in her attached garage and her kids were horsing around and unknowingly knocked the electrical plug out of the outlet. She discovered this WAY too late! She did the clorox bleach, the cat litter, the baking soda, the crumpled newspapers and still had a bad odor.

Someone told her to dump about 5 pounds of fresh (unused) coffee grounds in it, close the lid for about a week and then remove the grounds. It worked! I imagine that trying all the other methods first made it more likely that the coffee grounds finally made it stop stinking! I am so sorry for all the loss you have endured. Our whole country is heartsick and working on ways to help. (09/10/2005)

By Grandma Margie

RE: Cleaning The Freezer After a Power Outage

I just had this happen to me with a deep freeze full of beef. And it went past 10 days before we noticed.

I had to

  • empty it
  • wet vac up all blood/water mix (yes it was HORRID)
  • I used a dilute of clorox with water and let it sit did I mention it was in a HOT garage...then
  • I wet vac that up and washed wet vac well
  • washed the insides of freezer with soap and bleach mix and bucket
  • rinsed that out with clean rags
  • poured half gallon white vinegar and some water and let it sit in freezer
  • waited all day til next day and wet vac again...

I wish you good luck and if I can help anymore let me know. I wish you health, love and joy. Katrina broke many hearts yet makes so many stronger.

My mantra has always been; I may fall in the mud but I refuse to roll in it! Prayers and peace to you. (09/15/2005)

By meoowmom