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Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

Recently my husband and I returned home after a few weeks away. The thermostat in our refrigerator had blown some time while we were away. The freezer had defrosted all over the kitchen floor and the food had subsequently gone rotten. It was a lovely welcome home surprise in the middle of summer (we live in Australia).


Despite many days of scrubbing and disinfecting and wiping it with vanilla, much of the smell remains in the freezer. I cleaned all the seals and trays, etc. Any ideas on how to remove the smell from the freezer? Many thanks for any suggestions.



Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

Lisa, I know what you are going through and I sympathize with you. Several years ago I rented an apartment and the previous tenant had left a package of chicken in the freezer and bologna in the fridge part. Well, the electricity was turned off while the apartment was empty for two weeks. So you know what I found when I opened the doors on that refrigerator.

It took about two weeks to get rid of the smells, but what I did was place 2 boxes of baking soda in the freezer and 4 boxes in the fridge. I replaced them every 2-3 days until the smells were gone. Of course I couldn't use it all that time, but the odors did eventually go away.


Good luck.

Barbara (01/25/2005)

By hugmehugs

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

You might try getting a couple of knee high nylon stockings (2), like long stockings only short. Fill them half way with unused coffee grinds. Hang in the freezer for a week with the door closed, no peeking. Hopefully, when it's time to open the freezer door you should smell the wonderful aroma of coffee. Let us know how you do.

Rio Lady (01/25/2005)

By Rio Lady

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

You could try Odo-ban that I think can be purchased at Wal-Mart. (01/25/2005)

By Alleen

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

My brother-in-law is in the appliance biz. He uses crumpled newspaper to absorb the odor (replace several times) and activated charcoal. Wipe with a citrus cleaner, then put charcoal and newspaper in it. Have you discussed this with your insurance? It's possible you may be covered for lost food and also the fridge. (01/25/2005)


By beanygurl

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

I just went through this same thing. The person that fixed my fridge told me to not turn it back on until I thoroughly washed the inside, otherwise the smell would be trapped in the condenser and continue to circulate. If you have a way to turn off the fridge, let it cool, then clean it, you may be successful. As well as placing a bowl of vinegar in the compartment to try and absorb the odors. Good luck. (01/25/2005)

By rachndall

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

My dh is a refrigerator/ac repair man, and he always turns on the appliance and lets it run and believe it or not, all smells disappear. Strange but true. (01/26/2005)

By justmyimagination2002

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

First you should wash the whole inside down with a strong baking soda and water solution. I would make sure to rinse the cloth or sponge separately. Then put a bowl of vinegar (white) in your freezer and box. Leave at least overnight. This works well on kitchen, pet, and closed up smells. We had this problem this past year after several hurricanes in Florida. Hope this helps. (01/26/2005)


By arose58

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

Plain bleach in a spray bottle. Its nasty stuff, take the fridge outside if need be. Sometimes you can find cleaner with bleach. Dollar store has a "cleaner with bleach" for real cheap.

I had 3 lbs of rotten hamburger in a dorm fridge, where they turned the electricity off on Christmas break. Very nasty, but bleach did the trick. Like I said, it works perfectly, but very nasty stuff. Wear old clothes, do in a well ventilated place along with taking the appropriate precautions. (07/28/2007)

By boogieman

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoil

I had the same problem. My husband and I went away for a month and our food got all rotten. We had over 300 dollars worth of meats and fish inside, the smell wouldn't go away. So we called this refrigerator guy and he popped the back of the freezer out and maggots and bacteria were all bunched up in there.


You need to clean it out thoroughly because bacteria grows in the cold. I suggest you pop the back of the freezer open and clean it. After that keep dumping bleach throughout the freezer and the fridge. Then let it dry or even wipe it down with a cloth. It should work. Good luck.

Shelly (09/25/2007)

By Shelly

Refrigerator Stopped Working - Removing Odors From Spoiled Food

We came home from a fantastic month in Atlantic Canada to the smell of "dead animal". The fridge had quit and all the beef, pork, and shrimp had rotted to a gooey mess. We tossed the spoiled meat and the fridge, cleaned with bleach and then sprayed with Febreeze, but still had a lingering odor. Local store owner said to sprinkle lime on the floor where the fridge had been (luckily in basement) just watch the kids and pets. Within 24 hours the smell was gone. She told us the local undertaker had told her that was the only way to really get out the smell of "dead animal". Guess he should know. Good luck. (07/22/2008)


By Peggy in Plymouth

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