Cleaning Out Rotten Meat in Chest Freezer

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).

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?

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By Jackie from Ohio

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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February 22, 20083 found this helpful
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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.

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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Anonymous Flag
June 3, 20160 found this helpful

When you put the charcoal in did you have freezer on or off??

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June 15, 20160 found this helpful

Should we turn off and should we close the door while charcoal and baking soda is in it

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March 2, 20080 found this helpful
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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.

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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August 3, 20160 found this helpful

cut onion in half and run all round lining...leave other half in room to absorb smell.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

Try putting a plastic barrier between the stinky freezer and the rest of the house.Secure plastic around it with tape and wear a mask to help you when the final moment comes to open that freezer. After cleaning the freezer out you might still have a lingering odor. Try putting wet newspaper in there changing the paper frequently. If that does not work try clay cat litter in a pan. Make before you are ready to use it again (if you can) wipe it out completely with a bleach/water solution to kill any bacteria that has grown because of the meat.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

It sound like the freezer is broke if it all of a sudden it stopped working. If that is the case, I wouldn't even bother cleaning it out. See if you can hire someone to come and take it away (without opening it) or you can siffen the water out with an old hose (just open the freezer just enough to put the hose in) turn the freezer on (if it still works) wait till the stuff freezes again, then remove the old food. Then clean it real well.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

i agree with the last post try getting the whole unit outside and then clean it out or throw away the whole thing. if you keep the unit clean it real good with clorox and let set outside open to air dry for a few days before bringing it in to use again

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

That is what we call a Katrina Fridge. We tried to clean ours out. It stood empty for over a year with Baking Soda, newspaper and charcoal. It still stunk. The problem is that the rotting meat juice, etc....gets into the insulation. Just throw it out. Duct tape it shut, and drag it to the curb.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

We lost power because of a hurricane and immediately threw the food in our freezer in the garbage can(a big plastic container). It sat there for a week in 100 degree weather before it was picked up so you can imagine the stink it left behind! My mom washed the can with Dawn dishwashing detergent, the purple one. She squirted the liquid all over the inside of the can then ran water into it until it overflowed. She kept running water into it until it stopped foaming with soap. It took the smell right out! But it sounds like your freezer doesn't work so why don't you get rid of it? It will probably do the same thing again.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

My husband and I used to clean forclosures out and let me tell you I know the stink very well. Some of the houses had been sitting with trash and debris and rotten food for a year or more until the lending institution completed the paperwork and turned it over to FHA for cleaning. The freezer will never clean and smell good again. The odor has got in ithe seals and penitrated the inside. Haul it outside and empty it and get rid of all of it according to the rules and regulations of your local landfill. Wear old clothing or plastic disposible gear. Use masks and gloves and put clothing in garbage after you are done and take a hot soapy shower. Good luck.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

Take mouth wash, after cleaning it out with soap and water, wipe it a couple of time with the mouth wash, no odor. I found this out by accident, when I had a funny smell in my fridge and had run out of ideas what to use. Just wipe it out and let it dry by its self.No particlar brand of mouthwash needed. Barb

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with Rasta, take it outside, empty it and dispose of it. It was probably not that efficient anyway. See if you notice a difference on your electric bill. Then save up and buy a new energy efficient model. It will be worth it in the end.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

I have heard about a product used by commercial cleaners. The folks that clean out stores that have large quanities of freezer and refrigerators that have been forclosed on etc and the electric was turned off. I have no idea what it is called but they go in very quickly drop a few drops in the cooler/freezer and leave for a few hours. it totally eliminates the odor even with the food still there. I wish I could help you more and I'm so sorry for your mess. That is so discouraging. Blessings to you!

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

We experienced a power outage for extended period of time and tried everything imaginable to get rid of odor in our upright freezer. We lost all of our food needless to say. Finally, a relative in the country said "Irish Spring" soap. Unwrap the bars and lay them on the shelves. It worked. In the country, they have experienced a lot of power outages over the years. Good luck.

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September 13, 20160 found this helpful

How can I get rotten fish smell out of my freezer

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