Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How We Got Rid of the Fish Smell in Our Basement

Image by How Can I Recycle This

This last week has not really went as plannned.  We have a large upright deep freeze in the basement and I love it.  It is digital and has buttons across the front of the door which turn it on/off, change the temperature, lock it, etc.

Apparently someone accidentally turned it off.  Yeah the freezer was off and I had no clue until one week ago today I went down to the basement and just noticed the little screen on the front said "OFF".  Uggh!  I really did not want to open the freezer.  Thankfully it wasn't very full but it held a turkey, 3 chickens, 4 rolls of ground turkey, 4 rolls of ground sausage, 5 packages of bacon and a huge package of FISH!

I threw everything out and began cleaning with a mixture of hot water, soap and bleach.  I scrubbed out the freezer, I scrubbed the concrete floor underneath and all around it.  I did this multiple times but as the day wore on the smell of fish seemed to be getting stronger.

Since I do my laundry in the basement I thought the smell had gotten into the dirty and clean clothes that were in the basement so I started washing everything and then taking it straight upstairs to be folded and put away.

By the time my husband got home from work it seemed as the the smell was permeating through the house but worse in the basment.  I scrubbed the area down one more time and went to bed for the night.

The next day I started with the bleach, soap and water.  I had windows open in the house and fans in the windows.  It was so cold here and I had the heat cranked up so I wouldn't freeze.  I finished washing all the clothes in the basement.

After scrubbing multiple time with the bleach/soap/water solution I did some googling.  I came across a forum discussing power outages and meat/fish odor.  (cannot seem to find it now) One of the tips I read was washing the area with vinegar and water.  So this I did!  I made hot vinegar water and washed down the entire area, let it dry and then repeated 2 more times.  Another tip was to pour coffee grounds on a plate or pie pan and put in the freezer while it is off and shut the door.  This is supposed to absorb the odor.

Because the smell seemed to have lingered all over the basement and up into the house I put out like 8 or 9 plates of coffee.  Most of them I put around the basement and then I put one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in my bedroom.  By the next day you couldn't even smell it upstairs at all anymore and the basement was drastically better.  I left the coffee out for a couple days and guess worked! :)

Everything I used we had on hand however I didn't want to use my good coffee just to soak up nasty fish odor. So I ran to Fred's which is like a Dollar General Store and got a big can of generic coffee for $5. Still super frugal!

Have you ever had a freezer disaster?  How did you remedy it?

Wallet-Friendly Wednesday


  1. I rented an apartment that had a refrigerator with a terrible smell. I called the fridge company (can't remember which one) and they recommended using a container of activated charcoal. This is the type they sell in pet stores for fish aquariums. It worked like a charm.

  2. Gail I had read that also and it would have been the next step I took if the coffee hadn't worked. ;)