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manahouri's avatar

My refrigerator stinks like rotten meat...

Asked by manahouri (93points) July 28th, 2007

I left some raw chicken in there by accident, now I can't get rid of the smell. Full de-frost and interior cleaning, is that the only solution? Yech.

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14 Answers

rovdog's avatar

I think so.

Jill_E's avatar

I haven't experienced defrosting a fridge. Before you try defrosting. Perhaps you can leave a big bowl of vinegar and leave overnight. One time, we didn't realize we had the wagon wheel rolled over manure at a local festival. The smell was awful in the jeep. I read somewhere in a magazine about this little vinegar trick. It really works. Not sure if it will work in a fridge. Good luck.

gailcalled's avatar

Unlucky you. Take out all parts that you can; drawers, shelves, glass, etc. Wash w. hot water,soap and bleach.. Then swab every inch of interior w. similar solution. Use Q-tips on folds in rubber gaskets. You may need a gas mask..I gather that because you say "defrost," that you have caked frozen putrid ice and sludge. Hope you have no other plans for tomorrow:-(

gailcalled's avatar

@Jill E; here poor manahouri is surely dealing w. salmonella or similar bacteria. Aging chicken can put you in hospital (or kill you) the issue is more than just the odor, which is unpleasant but not lethal.

gooch's avatar

try baking soda

manahouri's avatar

No caked sludge, just thought maybe I should de-frost before cleaning. Vinegar's a great idea, I've done it many times in my apartment to great effect. Gailcalled, are you saying I should worry about salmonella, or just the odor.

Gooch, two new boxes of baking soda have done little to help.

glial's avatar

cut lemons in half

gailcalled's avatar

Worry!!! I assume chicken was raw? Even using a wooden cutting board for raw chicken requires cleaning board carefully. I would definitely err on the side of extreme caution. The odor is unpleasant but the least of the issues. Here's one of many sites.

rowenaz's avatar

How about Using LYSOL spray? Sometimes I clean the garbage pails with hot water and detergent, and they STILL smell, so I take the spray and wet them down. Then air dry. Since it kill germs it could do the salmonella? Just an additional idea.

hossman's avatar

Just putting open boxes of baking soda in the fridge will not immediately fix the problem. The baking soda will only absorb the odors that reach it, if you have gunk that continues to emit odors, the baking soda is not a fix. You could try a defrost, scrub down with an appropriate cleaner or detergent (to get out the gunk emitting the odor), scrub down with bleach (to kill the bacteria that are unhealthy and may or may not be emitting stink), scrub down with baking soda (to absorb the stink that has now invaded the pores of the fridge materials itself, gaskets especially have a porousness similar to human skin) and then use open vinegar in the fridge as an odor coverup or open baking soda to absorb odor.

Sometimes, it is impossible to completely remove the stink, and the appliance is totalled. As an example, NEVER use green mesquite wood in a grill or smoker. Even grinding off the outer layer of metal will not remove the nasty, and the grill or smoker is totalled.

manahouri's avatar


Thanks for the tips. Reason I wonder about salmonella is the chicken was never opened (yes, it was raw). I guess that if there's odor, there's still bacteria, though. I think I'll take stuff out, clean and toss much of it (it's absorbed the odor, much of the packaging has), then clean clean clean. Thank you for the tips, everyone.

hossman's avatar

The bacteria causing the odor are most likely different bacteria than salmonella.

maggiesmom1's avatar

I don't know that you have to defrost it necessarily, but rotten chicken is one of the nastiest smells ever, so you are going to have to clean like a banshee. I've had this happen myself and I just took everything out of the fridge, threw away anything that had touched the chicken or its juice (blurgh) and cleaned the fridge with Clorox bleach spray. That way I knew it was clean & disinfected & any bacteria was destroyed.

Velvetinenut's avatar

Remove everything from fridge. Use plenty of hot water with detergent and baking soda. Wipe with bleach / disinfectent. Put your stuff back (if any). Put a box of baking soda or a piece of charcoal to absorb any smell. Or as some peeps here do, put some fragrant smelling flowers in the fridge. You may want to use some coffee beans. But remember the other foods may take on the smell.

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