Asked on May 24, 2013

Can you get the smell out of a chest freezer from spoiled meat?

by Denise

My daughter and her husband went on a trip. And when they got home the outlet to their chest freezer in the garage had shorted out. They lost all the content in the freezer and they are thinking they are going to have to get rid of the freezer because of the horrible smell now. Is there anything they can clean the inside with that will get rid of the smell left by the spoiled meat?

  23 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 24, 2013
    I think a cleaning with some bleach solution and allowing the inside to be exposed to some good old fashioned sunshine ( unpluged of course).
  • Diana Diana on May 25, 2013
    You could try putting kitty litter in it for a couple days.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 25, 2013
    Another solution for taking out food odors that was recommended for Tupperware when it was the rage was wad up some newspaper and close up for a couple of days.
  • Jeanine Witherell Eaves Jeanine Witherell Eaves on May 25, 2013
    I've had to do this several times when my in-laws would go out of the country, they would have power outages at their house...The best thing I have found was take a large bowl and pour about a liter of Coke into it. Close it up and let it set inside about 24 hrs. Adding baking soda to the mixture didn't seem to make much of a difference but I did use Coke & baking soda to wipe out all the blood/fluid that may have leaked out. Sometimes I had to repeat the bowl of Coke 2 or 3 times, throwing out the previous bowl until the smell was gone. You have to make sure to get ALL the defrosted fluids out of the cracks or grooves. I didn't start the freezers back up until they were clean because once it refreezes it seems like whatever else you put in there will absorb the smell.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on May 26, 2013
    You are going to have to take the panels out and look underneath at the foam. The blood has probably settled into the foam. You will also need to clean under the defrost timer and look at the bottom drip pan to serif it is also there. I would pull it outside, take the panels off, take out the foam and hose to out. Then set it in the sun to dry, you can use cleaners. The foam will have to be replaced. Then reattach the panels. If you have ever seen the back of a refrigerator freezer with the back panel off it has styrofoam also this will give you a idea what's in the bottom freezer after you take the panels off. Don't forget to check the drain pan. It will absolutely not hurt to hose it out. The styrofoam will have to be replaced. Hope it works.
  • I have heard that placing a container of fresh coffee grounds in the freezer and closing it up for a day or so will soak up the smell.
  • Brenda Smith Brenda Smith on May 26, 2013
    Had one in which all the food spoiled..In addition to looking in the hidden spots for liquids that have seeped down, do try the newspaper cure. It worked for us and ours was so bad I was ready to junk it. Stuff the newspaper in tightly and when the paper starts to smell, replace it. At first it will be every day, but then it will get longer between changes..We have been using our "de-scented" chest freezer for years with no smell after using this method..Took a while but well worth it!
  • LaVona Kirkpatrick LaVona Kirkpatrick on Apr 13, 2015
    Lay newspapers down then put your wet used coffee grounds on it.This idea was given me from an appliance repair man!
  • Sara Houston Sara Houston on Apr 30, 2015
    I have used in the past dry coffee grounds in a large bowl to rid a spoiled feeezer of the smell. It works!! Just put the dry coffee grounds in a large bowl and set it in the bottom of the freezer. Close it up and don't open the freezer for about a week or so. You may have to do this several times depending on how bad the odor is. Then clean it out with a good disinfectant. Hope it works for you!! I'm now off to buy coffee to do mine that I found unplugged yesterday!
  • B. Enne B. Enne on May 01, 2015
    A bowl of charcoal has worked in a small fridge freezer and fridge for me.
  • Helene Harvey Helene Harvey on May 03, 2015
    ...laver le congélateur avec de l'eau et de l'essence de vanille ,ensuite mettre café moulue dans un bol et laisser dans le congélateur .Ça fonctionne. désolé pour le retard de réponse mais peut servir pour d'autre personne
  • Sha1866200 Sha1866200 on Jun 25, 2015
    I found this answer on the internet but can't find it again to say thanks for the advise so I'm going to pass it on hoping to help someone else. Wipe the entire freezer down with a diluted bleach solution then place new charcoal in it sitting on a plate or shallow dish. I just used a paper plate. I woke up the next morning and the order was almost gone. I'm going to leave the charcoal in for a few days to make sure all the smell is gone.
    • Teresa Formica Teresa Formica on Jul 16, 2018

      After I clean freezer do I place charcoal in unplugged freezer. Until smell is gone. Is this right? Leave freezer unplugged until smell is gone.

  • JoAnn JoAnn on Jun 27, 2015
    Borrowing this for sure!
  • Liz Weiss Liz Weiss on Jun 27, 2015
    Yes. Fill a large deep plate with baking soda. Let it sit in your running freezer for 3 days. Then remove and wipe down with fresh baking soda.
  • Al Al on Jun 27, 2015
    Baking soda will definitely get rid of the smell. Always keep an open box of baking soda in both the fridge and the freezer.
  • Brenda Smith Brenda Smith on Jun 28, 2015
    Had this happen to me and when baking soda didn't get rid of all of the horrible smell I tried what my neighbor recommended : stuffing it with newspapers and changing them every couple of days . I had everyone saving newspapers for me. It took a couple of weeks but then the smell was gone for good ! The neighbor is a retired teacher and she said her school had a industrial freezer with the same problem. Since it was so expensive they just kept doing this and soon the smell was gone and the refrig was usable again.
  • Kar Kar on Aug 18, 2015
    I read an article about a trucker whose refrigerated unit died while full of meat. He tried everything to get the smell out, but nothing worked. Until, he followed the advise of someone who had had the same experience and used coffee grounds. He went around to all of the coffee shops and restaurants he could find and put a LOT of used coffee grounds into his rig. It took about a week, but the smell was completely gone.
  • StienaPorter StienaPorter on Aug 18, 2015
    What worked for me was placing 2 bags of charcoal inside the freezer. Leave the charcoal in the bag, place the bag lengthwise and make a cut in the bag and spread it open. Charcoal absorbed all the bad smells after a few days. After removing the charcoal I sprayed washed the freezer interior with vinegar and left an open box of baking soda in the freezer. I tried to re-use the charcoal in my BBQ, but it released the smell of the decayed meat. Proof that the charcoal trick worked!
  • Sonia Burrows Sonia Burrows on Jun 23, 2016
    Curious on what you tried and whether it worked for you.
  • LaVona Kirkpatrick LaVona Kirkpatrick on Jun 24, 2016
    An appliance repair shop said they used newspapers laid out and put used coffee grounds on it.
  • Sha1866200 Sha1866200 on Jul 02, 2016
    I also had my freezer go out while I was on vacation. I thought we were going to have to get a new freezer. After I cleaned the refrigerator/freezer good with bleach water. I sprayed OdoBan in it and wiped it out. OdoBan is great at taking the smell out of things but it wasn't what I wanted my refrigerator to smell like, so I then put bowls of charcoal and a box of baking soda in the refrigerator/freezer for several days and the smell finally went away.
  • Jacqueline L Barnes Jacqueline L Barnes on Jul 06, 2017

    Hi,Do you just tear open the bag of coals or do you pour them out on the news paper

  • Mike Mike on Jul 06, 2017

    Throw it out. You will always have that smell on your mind and associate those thoughts with any food you cook made from the freezer. If you want to sell it, take it outside..lay it on it's side...bleach, bleach, bleach and more bleach power wash.