How to Remove Odors From a Freezer

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Strong odors in a freezer can adhere to foods.
Strong odors in a freezer can adhere to foods. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Foul odors contaminate the foods in a freezer quickly, so you need to remove them as soon as possible to prevent the smells from spreading. Foul odors emanate from meat that's gone past due or become partially thawed. Other strong odors, such as a fragrant soup or sauce, can fill the freezer if the container is not sealed properly. In any case, odors tend to stay in a freezer until removed by a thorough cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp. baking soda
  • Clean rags
  • 1 tbsp. unscented liquid bleach
  • Newspaper
  • Long, shallow pan
  • Coffee grounds
  • 1 cup vinegar

Remove all items from the freezer. Discard any rotten or questionable food.

Mix 2 tbsp. baking soda with 1 qt. of warm water. Scrub every inch of the interior of the freezer, including the doors, shelves and the gasket lining the door.

Add 1 tbsp. of unscented liquid bleach to 1 gallon of warm water after cleaning the freezer with the baking soda solution. Scrub the interior again to disinfect the surfaces of the freezer.

Leave the freezer door open for 15 minutes. Point a fan toward the freezer and open the windows in the room to increase air circulation. Inspect the freezer for any remaining odor after 15 minutes pass.

Fill a long, shallow pan with coffee grounds if the odor remains. Place the pan and several rolled or crumpled newspapers into the freezer. Close the freezer and leave the coffee grounds and newspaper inside for three or four days, leaving the freezer running the entire time.

Remove the coffee grounds and newspaper from the freezer. Clean the interior surfaces using a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup warm water. Air out the freezer for 15 minutes.

Repeat as necessary. If the odor will not go away after repeated cleaning and disinfection, you may need to have a repair company replace the insulation in the freezer, or purchase a new freezer.

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