|Script: Removing Odors from Refrigerators and
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer -
who purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage,
handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance
of keeping foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. I’m your host for this segment. With me today is Infinite
McCloud, technical information specialist from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff.
Infinite and I will discuss removing odors from refrigerators and freezers.
Hello Infinite, welcome to the show.
Thank you Kathy, I’m very pleased to be here.
Refrigerators and freezers are two of the most important pieces of equipment in the
kitchen for keeping food
safe. When the power goes off, flooding occurs, or the unit fails, it may cause food
to spoil or become unsafe to eat.
If the power goes off and the food has spoiled causing odors, what can we do to remove these
While this is an aesthetic issue not affecting food safety, you should first dispose
of any spoiled or questionable food. Then remove the shelves, crispers and ice
trays. Wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Rinse with a sanitizing
solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Wash the interior of the refrigerator and freezer, including the door and gasket,
with hot water and baking soda. Rinse with the sanitizing solution. Leave the door
open for about 15 minutes to allow air to circulate.
What if odors remain?
If odors are still a problem, Kathy, you can try some of the following procedures.
- Wipe inside the unit with s solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar
provides acid which destroys mildew.
- Leave the door open and allow the unit to air out for several days.
- Stuff both the refrigerator and freezer with rolled
newspapers. Close the door and leave the papers for several days. Remove
the paper and clean with vinegar and water.
- Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow
container in the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
- Place a cotton swab soaked with vanilla extract inside the refrigerator and
freezer. Close the door for 24 hours, and then check for odors.
Are there any other products available for removing
refrigerator and freezer odors?
Yes, there are
many commercial cleaning products on the market. You can usually find them at
hardware and house ware stores. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions.
You can learn more about removing odors from
refrigerators and freezers by visiting the FSIS Web site at:
www.fsis.usda.gov, or visit our virtual
representative “Ask Karen” online at askkaren.gov.
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat
and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking
To Infinite McCloud from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Thank you so much
Infinite, for your advice on
removing odors from refrigerators and freezers. I’m Kathy Bernard and I’d like
to thank you for joining us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And
remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode
of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline
at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"Ask Karen" at askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified: July 21, 2009