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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


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.

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)


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

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

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

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

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February 20, 20170 found this helpful

Here is a suggestion next time you buy a freezer. If it is possible, find one with large, sealed plastic bucket drawers. If anything goes anyway wrong, you can more easily empty these out than the insulation in your freezer. I was really lucky ours had this design. I had no idea what to do with the rancid meat-soup, and also had a lot of newspaper on hand, which went into a bag, sitting in a bucket. It seems to have helped soak up the mess, at least. then sat the disinfectant in the buckets for a few days before I spray this thing down.

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