A rotten food smell in the house is enough to make just about anyone run outside as soon as the odor reaches their nose. Rotten meat is among the worst of the olfactory offenders, creating a stench that sometimes lingers even after you've gotten rid of the culprit. To clear out a rotten meat odor, open the windows, remove the source of the stench, then thoroughly clean the area, incorporating odor-absorbing ingredients such as baking soda or vinegar.
Spoiled Food in the Freezer
When frozen food spoils due to a long-term power outage, a serious stink may arise inside the freezer. To eliminate the smell, first unplug the freezer. Remove the spoiled meat and discard it in plastic bags, sealing or tying the bags shut, then bagging it again before tossing the bag into an outdoor trash can along with any other spoiled foods.
Remove everything from the freezer, including ice cube trays and storage bins. Soak the bins and trays in warm, soapy water that contains a little baking soda or white vinegar. Wipe down the inside of the freezer, as well as the gasket around the freezer door, with 1 tablespoon baking soda per cup warm water. Leave the freezer door open for a day or two to air it out.
If the freezer still smells a bit when you plug it back in, place activated charcoal, available at a pet store, in a shallow bowl in the freezer for a couple of days to absorb lingering odors. Baking soda, coffee grounds or wads of newspaper placed in the freezer will also absorb odors. Replace the odor absorber every day or two, once it smells less than fresh.
When the House Stinks
Chicken bones or pieces of raw meat tossed into the kitchen trash bin may emit a rotten meat smell that permeates the kitchen or the entire house. When this happens, open the windows and immediately get rid of the source of the odor by bagging it, sealing the bag and discarding it in an outdoor trash can. If the kitchen trash can stinks, take it outdoors as well and rinse it out with a hose, then fill it with several inches of water and a cup or so of white vinegar. Leave the can outside for several hours; sunlight and fresh air will help remove any lingering stench.
For a particularly strong odor in the house, even after you've removed the rotten meat, place a box fan in one window to draw fresh air in. Place another fan in a window on the opposite side of the house to draw air out.
Bowls of vinegar help remove odors lingering in the air; the vinegar smell goes away soon after you dump the liquid down the drain. Baking soda also works when left in bowls or sprinkled on affected surfaces.
Thoroughly clean the area where you found the funky meat if it wasn't contained to a trash can. Wash any dish that held the meat, then sanitize bleach-safe dishes using 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Use the same sanitizing solution to wipe down bleach-safe countertops, or use it as a soak for stinky trash bins after rinsing out remnants of spoiled meat juices.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.