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You've opened your chest freezer and discovered that it smells as if something has died in it. The horrible odor has now permeated your home, and you're at a loss as to how to get rid of the awful smell. While freezers and refrigerators can absorb foul smells from food gone bad, you can easily remove these odors, making it possible to open your freezer again without feeling overwhelmed.
Removing Odors from a Chest Freezer
Unplug the freezer and remove its contents, discarding any spoiled or suspect food. Allow the freezer to defrost if necessary. Remove any racks from the freezer.
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Use a soft rag to wash the floor, walls and inside of the freezer lid with a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Alternately, wash the inside of the freezer with a few tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in warm water. If one of these solutions doesn't remedy the problem, proceed with the following steps.
To get rid of odors in a chest freezer, Michigan State University Extension suggests putting shallow pans spread with baking soda in the chest freezer. Leave the freezer open and unplugged.
Or purchase activated charcoal from your hardware or pet store, spread it in shallow pans and place the pans in the chest freezer. Close the freezer for a few days, and allow the charcoal to absorb the odors. Use cat litter in the same fashion. If the cat litter begins to smell, replace it with fresh cat litter for a few more days until it has absorbed all the odors from the freezer.
Pour imitation vanilla into a small dish, or soak several cotton balls with vanilla and place them in the chest freezer. Close the lid for a few days. The strong scent of vanilla will mask any remaining odors.
Put coffee grounds in a dish in the freezer and close the lid. Allow the coffee grounds to sit and absorb the odor for a few days. Your freezer may have a lingering coffee smell. If you find this objectionable, wash the freezer with the mild detergent or baking soda solution.
Pack the freezer with crumpled newspaper. Sprinkle the newspaper with water and close the chest. This method may take several days but can be effective in removing freezer odors.