How to Get the Smell Out of a Defrosted Freezer

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Remove smells from a defrosted freezer with items in your home.
Remove smells from a defrosted freezer with items in your home. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Power outages cause a freezer to defrost. Foul odors are most apparent when freezers defrost because food often spoils inside. The odors in the freezer linger behind even after you remove everything from the appliance. Sometimes the freezer needs a thorough cleaning before you deodorize it to remove any bacteria or germs. Proper cleaning will keep the freezer smelling fresh and in good condition so that you do not have to replace it.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Towels
  • Baking soda
  • Bucket
  • Stirring tool
  • Bowl
  • Activated charcoal
  • Crumpled newspapers

Remove all of the food from inside the freezer before you begin cleaning it. If the freezer has not had power for two days, you will need to inspect the food carefully.

Store the salvageable food in a cooler with ice or in a neighbor’s freezer. Inspect the food for a foul odor, change in color or mold. Always throw away any questionable food.

Unplug the freezer from the wall to turn it off. Remove all the shelves and ice trays and wash them with 1 tbsp. of chlorine bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water.

Wipe the excess water from inside the freezer. Soak the water up with towels or scoop it out into the sink.

Combine 2 tbsp. of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water, and stir the solution until the baking soda dissolves.

Wash the interior of the freezer with baking soda solution. Do not forget to wipe the door and gasket. Rinse the solution with clean water. Leave the freezer door open for 15 minutes after you finish cleaning it.

Fill a bowl with activated charcoal and place it into the freezer if you still notice the smell. Plug the refrigerator back into the wall and allow the activated charcoal to remain inside for four to five days.

Remove the activated charcoal and inspect the freezer. Pack crumpled newspapers inside the freezer and sprinkle them lightly with water if you notice a foul odor. Replace the newspapers every other day and run the refrigerator for one week.

Replace the food in the freezer once the foul odors disappear.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the refrigerator door closed if you experience a power outage to keep the food cool.
  • Cover the freezer with blankets to help insulate it or place containers filled with ice inside the freezer if you need to keep food cold during a power outage.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed cheese, ice cream, baked goods and fish because they can alter in flavor and texture.
  • Take the freezer door off or wrap a lock and chain around it if you need to discard it to prevent children from locking themselves inside.

References

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