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Name: Linda V.
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 
Monday, June 17, 2002



Question:
My freezer was left open in my garage by accident for four days while we were out of town and the meat all rotted and we had swarms of flies. I pulled all the meat out and bagged it into plastic bags. Then I cleaned out the freezer and the surrounding area of the freezer with a bleach and water solution. I also boiled some vinegar and put it in the freezer and then wiped down the freezer with the vinegar. However, I cannot get that horrible smell out of my garage. So my question would be.....do you know how I can get rid of the smell? I also fogged the garage with a bug killer over night to get rid of the flies. In the morning their weren't a lot of flies but some were still present. I can't stand the smell and I am worried that my neighbors will be sick or something or myself. Even using bacterial soap on my hands and body didn't take the smell off of me. Can you help me please? And the sooner the better.


Replies:
Linda,

The smell in your garage is probably due to the fact that some of the liquid from the decomposing meat dripped to the bottom of your refridgerator, and leaked down into the coils below. You will need to clean this area, and if it is like most refridgerators, this area is very difficult to clean. I would take it outside and lay it on its side and spray with a hose. Yes, go ahead and use bleach.

What you are smelling is commonly known as "putrizine and cadaverine" which are decomposed or fragmented protein. Bleach is well known as a protein destroyer. Your clothes need to be washed (obviously), but using bleach may not be an option. Destroys colors! There are additives for special problems like skunk odors, and other special problems. You may wish to seek these special aids. I have forgotten the name of these special cleaners but many grocery stores stock them. They are often not easily found in the isles, so ask!

The smell will leave you after washings, however, you may be smelling the odor from the garage if you have an attached garage. Air the garage frequently. The odor should subside soon.

Steve Sample


There are several issues here: 1. The flies. As long as the odor of rotting meat is present, you will have a chronic "fly problem". The chemical compounds that give rise to these odors are among the ones that have the lowest odor threshold for the human nose. And flies have a lot better noses than we humans -- of the order of magnitude of a few molecules per cubic meter!!

2. The health problem. The problem is one of putrid smell. There is not much danger of toxicity from the chemicals themselves, their concentration is so low. The constant presence of flies is another issue.

3. There are some commercial products that "claim" to work, see for example: www.mrlandlord.com/odorxit However, I have no idea what these are or how well they work or even if they do.

4. You might try a professional de-odorizing service. People who have to get rid of the odor of smoke after a fire use these services. I don't know what they cost or how well they work, either, but they may have access to chemicals and methods not available to the consumer directly. A reputable de-odorizing service should be able to give you a quote, and the chances of success. Personally, I do not think the chances are very good.

Vince Calder


Linda,

It is not likely that anyone will get sick from the smell. Your approach with the vinegar was a good idea since many of the smelly compounds will react with acid to form a water soluble material that can be washed away. However, that which soaked into the garage interior will be harder to remove because you cannot get at it by washing.

First, close all doors and vents to the garage so that the interior really heats up in the sun. Be sure there is nothing inside that will be harmed by the elevated temperature. Next, ventilate the garage as much as possible. Last, spread quite a lot of dry, used coffee grounds around on the floor. You can usually get lots of grounds free from restaurants. Allow the grounds dry in the sun and then sprinkle them everywhere you can easily reach with a vacuum cleaner for later pick-up.

The grounds will tend to absorb odors -- in addition, they will make the place smell like coffee ... that is a lot better than decayed meat. Good luck.

Regards,
ProfHoff 447


Possibly wiping down the freezer with baking soda and leaving an amount in the freezer may work. M. Baldwin


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