How to Remove Rotten Food Odor From Your House

CleanStart offers comprehensive property services. This includes junk removal, pest control, cleaning and moving services. We offer specialized services, such as extreme cleaning, and this includes pest-infested environment cleaning, sharps removal and situations left in extreme conditions. Our friends at How To Clean Stuff wrote an awesome article on how to remove rotten food odor from your house. You can find the full article HERE.

Dorothy asked: How do I remove rotten chicken odor? After a power failure when we were away, the chicken in the freezer defrosted and began rotting. The smell now permeates the whole house. We have already tried baking soda, charcoal and borax. We will be grateful for any help. We are already planning to replace the refrigerator. Thanks!

When odors linger in your home, it’s important to treat the source of the problem first. If the odor is still strong in the freezer, it is reintroduced into the air each time the door is opened. If the freezer has been removed and the odor still remains, it may take some cleaning and intense odor absorbers/neutralizers to completely rid your home of the stench. While there is no single fix for this problem, there are a variety of steps you can take to target the needed areas. Here’s where to begin.

You Will Need:

    • Bleach
    • Water
    • White vinegar
    • Cans of coffee grounds
    • Activated charcoal
    • Bowls
    • Air neutralizer (ex: NeutraAir)
    • Baking soda
    • Laundry detergent
    • Washing machine
    • Vacuum
    • Cat litter

Steps to Remove the Odors from the Freezer/Refrigerator:

    1. Removing odors can be difficult to do when you’re not sure exactly where they are clinging.
    2. The obvious first step is to treat the source of the smell – the freezer.
    3. If the stinky items are still in place, turn the freezer back on and allow them to refreeze. This will lessen some of the smell when it comes time to remove the rotten items.
    4. Once frozen, remove the rotten items and dispose of them immediately. Remove all trash cans from the house. When they thaw, the odor will return, so it is best to complete this task right before the trash will be picked up or taken to the dump.
    5. Once the rotten item(s) are removed, it’s time to clean the freezer/refrigerator.
    6. Begin by mixing bleach with water. Use the amount directed on the label of your bleach container.
    7. Wash the entire interior with the mixture using a soft cloth.
    8. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. This step is very important! The combination of bleach and the white vinegar used in the next step can cause toxic fumes, so rinsing is absolutely necessary.
    9. Next, clean the surfaces with undiluted vinegar. The regular 4% or 5% kind of white vinegar should be sufficient.
    10. Allow them to air dry.
    11. Fill bowls with baking soda, fresh coffee grounds, or vinegar.
    12. Place the bowls inside of the fridge/freezer and close the door.
    13. Allow the bowls to absorb the odors for several days up to a week. Replace them as necessary to keep the odor absorbency strong.

How to Remove Rotten Food Odor from House

    1. Once the freezer is cleaned, you are ready to tackle the other areas of the home that may have absorbed the odors.
    2. Curtains and drapes should be removed and washed or dry cleaned.
    3. Sprinkle carpets with a liberal amount of baking soda.
    4. Allow the baking soda to sit overnight.
    5. Vacuum away the following day.
    6. Repeat if necessary.
    7. If the odor still remains in the carpet, use a steam cleaner with undiluted white vinegar in the cleaning solution compartment to clean the carpets. They will smell like vinegar for a couple of days, but the smell will quickly dissipate.
    8. Use an odor neutralizer such as OdoBan or NeutraAir to treat the upholstery.
    9. Allow it to dry.
    10. Once all fabric and carpeted areas have been treated, fill bowls with vinegar, cat litter, activated charcoal or coffee grounds and place several in each room. Allow them to remain in place until the odor is removed. Each of these items will absorb odors that are present. You do not have to use all of them, but choose one or two and place one bowl for every 30-40 square feet of room space.
    11. Open all of the windows and place fans in the windows. This will draw the outside air in and increase the air flow.
    12. With these cleaning efforts and some “airing out” time, the smell should be removed. If a strong odor remains, check around to find the source of the smell. Once the source is removed, the other odors should dissipate. The steps listed above will speed up the process.


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