How can I get the smell of rotten food out of my refrigerator and freezer?

If your home lost electricity after you were evacuated during a wildfire, chances are, everything in it thawed, melted and spoiled.

That can leave a potent smell.
An air-cleaning company can get the foul smell out of the house, but it’s not always possible to salvage the refrigerator. 

If the power was out for a week or two, and the juices from spoiled meat or other food got into the refrigerator’s insulation, you might never be able to get rid of that smell, but you can certainly try!

Home Remedies:

  • Scrub the surfaces and leave baking soda inside your refrigerator and freezer to absorb some of the smell.

  • After cleaning the frig place a bowl of white vinegar and a bowl of vanilla extract on the shelf and leave the door open. If you are able to, leave it for several days. The liquids may be able to absorb the odors from the entire home, as well as the refrigerator.


If the odor still ruminates, you will need to replace the appliance. Remember to include this as a “total loss” item on your homeowner’s insurance claim.