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Hi again, Y'all.

Those of you who have read my previous posts know that I am a trucker and away from home for a minimum of 3 weeks @ a time. Those of you who haven't - well, I'm a trucker and away from home for at least 3 weeks @ a time and, more likely, 1 to 1.5 months at a time.

So, here's my problem: When I last left home, I didn't notice (I swear) the package of chicken and the package of thin sliced pork chops hiding in the back of my fridge. I cleaned out everything else (gave reasonable stuff to my neighbor and froze the rest).

And, I got home 1.5 mos. later, walked into my kitchen and said "What the hell is that smell!!!!!!" So I kicked myself in the butt, dumped the chicken and the pork, cleaned everything with soap, hot water and bicarb, and all seemed well.

The next day, I made myself a drinkie, (ice, vodka, peach tea), got half way thru it and about gagged. Ice tasted pretty much like the fridge smelled when I got home. I threw out the drink, dumped the ice maker, replaced the water filter, and voila, IT STILL SMELLS AND TASTES like it did when I got home.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?????? I cannot abide ice that tastes like rotten chicken. Don't know what to do!!! Please help.

Thanx, PAT

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  1. Truly decades ago a friend had something somewhat similar happen. IIRC, the smell got into the "coils" of the fridge (I don't really know what that means) and couldn't be removed. I don't remember if she had to get a new fridge or just replaced the 'contaminated' parts. I wish you the best :(

    ETA: while you still have time, you might want to change your title to something that refers to the actual problem. Just a thought.

    1. Take a bag of charcoal and put it in your fridge. Baking soda works if it is a slight odor but you need something for a serious problem. I had this happen with fish and i tried all kinds of scrubbing and solutions to no avail. I was in line at the grocery store with several boxes of baking soda and the woman behind me made mention of all the baking soda. Anyway, she told me to try charcoal. Worked like a charm. It takes a few days though. Good luck

      3 Replies
      1. re: suzigirl

        I thought it had to be "activated charcoal." Is regular charcoal like for grilling the same thing?

        1. re: c oliver

          I used a bag of Kingsford from the same grocery store I was already at

          1. re: suzigirl

            I was going to suggest the same thing. I had to do this once on moving into a new apartment with a horribly stinky fridge, and it was amazing how well it worked. Science!

      2. Make a solution of very very hot water and add bleach- so it's like 10:1 water to bleach. Re-scrub the whole fridge and freezer with bleach solution and then wipe down with just the hot water.
        Throw out any plastic containers (like ice cube trays) that could have absorbed the odors and therefore flavor.
        Buy a few new boxes of arm and hammer to put in the fridge.
        And then wait and pray it works, and don't buy too many perishables for a few days.....

        1. The rest of the fridge seems okay. It's the ICE MAKER. Think I should pull it out and clean it??? Don't know what's up here. To get to the icemaker, I need husband to help move the fridge out (don't ask) so I can get the door open so I can pul; the icemaker. May I rot in hell before I leave any meat in there again!!!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: caiatransplant

            Have you just let it run a few cycles to see if it works itself out?

            1. re: caiatransplant

              there is a filter in the back of ice maker that probally need to get replaced

            2. Yikes, Pat, sorry to hear about your troubles! I know what you're talking about. We had a similar situation a few years ago after Hurricane Irene. It was well over a week before the water went down enough on a couple of the roads that we were able to get back to the house. No water damage but the power outage really did us in. When we got there, oh my goodness, what a smell. If it hadn't been so horrible, it would have been funny. In about 30 seconds of entering the house, each and every child had turned the most remarkable shade of green. I still gag to think about it.

              Here is a link to a site that lays out a bunch of remedies -- it is focused on the whole refrigerator but parts are applicable to the ice maker. Mainly, as suggested by some other posters, run it through a couple of cycles and also get rid of any of the plastic parts that are easily replaceable (like the ice bin).


              In our case, for one refrigerator with ice maker, cleaning with bleach & water and then running through several cycles of ice worked like a charm. But for another one, I ran through ALL of the other remedies before trying the coffee -- I thought it sounded too simple to work but I was desperate so I put the coffee on sheet pans (not bowls) in both the refrigerator and the freezer because the smell was still so bad -- and that was the one that finally did the trick.

              Good luck!

              1. Hi, Caia:

                I recently had a similar problem with my silicone icecube trays picking up an awful odor from my freezer. Posted about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/913190

                Anyway, I tried a bunch of different things that didn't work AT ALL, or just stanked up more stuff.

                But the thing that worked COMPLETELY was cat litter. I filled the trays and let it sit over a weekend. After 3 days, odor was GONE.

                I'm not suggesting you go out and buy 1000 pounds of litter, but you might try a few tubs of the stuff on the shelves of your reefer.

                Good Luck,

                2 Replies
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Great idea. Hope I never need to use it though. I used charcoal.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Wow, I never would have thought of cat litter but it makes sense. Once the charcoal didn't work I almost gave up (and then we tried the coffee grounds as a last, last, last resort). But I bet the cat litter would have worked with our freezer with the spoiled fish and crab. Like Suzigirl, I hope I never have to use the idea!

                  2. Another home remedy that I haven't seen mentioned, but works very well: Pour a few cups of plain white vinegar into a large bowl and stick in your fridge until the smell is gone.

                    1. We had a similar experience when a power line that served our house only was blown down during a storm while we were away on vacation and only discovered on our return 2 weeks later; the entire contents of our fridge and freezer went bad. In addition to washing everything we used ground coffee as a deodorizer, placing open dishes of it in both the fridge and freezer, and swapping them out for fresh coffee about once/ day for about a week.

                      1. We had stinky ice, too, and I did the same about changing the filter, running it through several cycles, with little improvement. Then I realized it was the plastic ice BIN that had retained the odor. Tossed it, and all was well.

                        One of those "helpful hints" magazines also said stuffing a stinky container full of newspaper for a few days also can absorb odors.

                        Good luck.

                        1. Since you have an ice maker and you have water that needs filtering I would bet any money there are mineral deposits in the ice maker. I would suggest using white vinegar to scrub it clean as it sits in the fridge. It should work just as vinegar does to clean out a coffee pot. If you use CLR or Lime Away you will have a hard time washing all that out, but it will work as well. I think the smell might be trapped in mineral deposits as the meat fermented and the oils and juices went aerosol. The air cycles in both the fridge and the freezer. Give it a try. I put 30 years in a truck so I know how things can rot when left unattended...