Dealing with a freezer that smells like a dead animal can be daunting. While most of us use freezers to store food items and maintain their freshness, it can be unpleasant when this essential appliance emits a foul odor.
This post will look at the various reasons for this issue and provide 11 simple solutions. So, let’s dive in and return your freezer to its fresh and odor-free state.
Why Does the Freezer smell like a Dead Animal?
There could be several causes behind the foul smell in your freezer. Here are some of the most common reasons behind the bad smell:
1. Spoiled Food
One of the primary reasons behind a foul-smelling freezer is spoiled food. When food starts to decay, it releases an unpleasant odor that can make your freezer smell like a dead animal.
Spoilage can occur due to various factors, including incorrect storage, temperature variations, or food held over its expiry date. The presence of spoiled food not only causes a bad smell but also poses a risk of cross-contamination, which can affect other food items in the appliance.
2. Poor Air Circulation
If there is inadequate air circulation within your freezer, it can build up unpleasant odors, causing the dead animal smell. Poor air circulation can result from overloading the freezer, placing items too close together, or lacking proper ventilation.
When the air cannot circulate freely, odors become trapped inside the freezer, making it difficult for them to dissipate. This can lead to a lingering foul smell, even after removing the source of the odor.
3. Bacterial Growth
Bacterial growth in your freezer can result in a strong, unpleasant odor, often resembling that of a dead animal. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, and condensation or leaks within the freezer can create the perfect breeding ground for them.
As bacteria multiply and break down organic matter, they produce gases contributing to the rotten smell. It is critical to solving the problem as soon as possible since bacterial development might contaminate other goods in the freezer and provide a health concern.
4. Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew growth can also contribute to a bad smell in your freezer. These fungi thrive in damp, dark environments and can quickly spread if not addressed. Mold and mildew can develop due to moisture build-up inside the freezer, poor sealing, or high humidity.
In addition to producing a musty odor, mold, and mildew can also cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, making it crucial to eliminate their presence.
5. Power Outage
Power outages can cause the temperature inside the freezer to rise, leading to rotten food and the subsequent release of a strong odor. When the power goes out, the freezer loses its ability to maintain a constant low temperature, causing the food to defrost and potentially spoil.
This is especially problematic if the power outage lasts for an extended period or if the freezer is not opened during the outage, trapping the odor inside. In such cases, it’s essential to assess the condition of the food items carefully and discard anything that may have spoiled to prevent the spread of the foul odor.
How to Fix the Freezer Smelling Like a Dead Animal?
Nothing to worry about, even if your freezer smells like a mouse died inside. Various ways are available to assist you in getting rid of the odor from your equipment. Here are a few of the most typical solutions:
1. Remove Spoiled Food
The first step to eliminating the dead animal smell in your freezer is to locate and remove any spoiled food items. Scrutinize your freezer and discard any expired, rotten, or moldy food. Handling this task with care is essential, as spoiled food can harbor harmful bacteria.
Use gloves, and immediately dispose of the spoiled items in a sealed bag to prevent the odor from spreading throughout your home.
2. Clean the Freezer
Clean your freezer thoroughly with warm water and light detergent or soap. Begin by removing frozen products and storing them in a cooler to keep them cold during cleaning.
Scrub every corner of the freezer, including the shelves, racks, walls, and drawers, using a soft cloth or sponge. Before returning the items to the freezer, rinse them with clean water and allow them to dry. Cleaning helps to eradicate odor-causing microorganisms and avoids dirt build-up.
3. Improve Air Circulation
Ensuring enough space between the items in your freezer allows for proper air circulation, which helps prevent the build-up of foul odors. Avoid overloading your freezer, and try to arrange the items to have adequate airflow around them.
If your freezer has adjustable shelves, consider rearranging them to create more space for better air circulation between the walls.
4. Use Baking Soda
Baking soda works well as a natural odor absorber. An open box of baking soda in your freezer might help absorb bad scents and keep it feeling fresh. To keep the box functional, replace it every 30 days.
Put baking soda on a shallow pan and set it in the freezer for the same effect.
5. Check for Mold and Mildew
Inspect your freezer for signs of mold and mildew growth, as these can contribute to foul odors. If you find any, use a mixture of one-part bleach and four parts water to clean the affected areas. Spray the solution onto the mold or mildew, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with a soft brush.
Rinse with clean water and dry the surface thoroughly. Remember that proper ventilation and maintaining the correct freezer temperature can help prevent mold and mildew growth.
6. Use Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is another effective odor absorber. Insert a few pieces of activated charcoal in a small container or tray and freeze it. The charcoal will help eliminate odors by absorbing them from the air.
Replace the activated charcoal every couple of months to maintain its effectiveness.
7. Use Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract has a strong and pleasant scent that can help neutralize unpleasant odors. Pour some pure vanilla extract onto a clean cloth and gently wipe the interior surfaces of your freezer. The vanilla scent will mask the foul odors and leave your freezer smelling fresh and inviting.
Allow the freezer to air out for a few hours before placing the items back inside.
8. Use Coffee Grounds
Fresh coffee grounds can also help absorb foul odors in your freezer. Place a bowl of fresh coffee grounds on one of the shelves and let it sit for a few days. The coffee grounds will absorb the unpleasant smells, leaving your freezer smelling much better.
Use fresh, unused coffee grounds, and replace them as needed.
9. Use Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has a powerful citrus scent that can help eliminate unpleasant odors. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle, then spray it onto a clean cloth. Wipe the interior surfaces of your freezer with the lemon juice solution, focusing on the areas with the most stubborn odors.
The natural acidity of the lemon juice will help break down odor-causing residue and leave a fresh, clean scent. Allow the freezer to air out for a few hours before returning the items inside.
10. Regularly Defrost and Clean Your Freezer
Defrosting and cleaning your freezer can help prevent the build-up of unpleasant odors. Most modern freezers have an auto-defrost feature, but if your freezer requires manual defrosting, do it every six months or as needed.
Defrosting helps remove accumulated ice, which can harbor odors and reduce the efficiency of your freezer. After defrosting, clean the interior using a mild detergent and warm water, as described in Solution 2, to remove any remaining odor-causing residue.
11. Install a Freezer Deodorizer
Invest in a freezer deodorizer to continuously absorb and neutralize odors, keeping your freezer smelling fresh. These deodorizers are explicitly designed for freezers and can be found in most home improvement stores or online.
Activated charcoal deodorizers may last up to six months before being replenished, and zeolite-based deodorizers, which can be recharged by placing them in the sunshine, are two common alternatives.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions from the manual for proper placement and usage, and replace or recharge the deodorizer as needed to maintain its effectiveness.
In conclusion, by understanding the causes behind a foul-smelling freezer and implementing the suggested solutions, you can eliminate the dead animal smell and maintain a fresh, odor-free, and hygienic environment for storing food items.