Earlier this week I went to Walmart and bought among other things, some ground turkey which promptly rolled under the backseat in the van to be left undisturbed for four days. Since I am not going much of anywhere nowadays I didn’t even check until I had to go out again.
It was raining and I had to buckle three kids into their car seats, and we were all flummoxed by the smell that hit our noses as soon as I opened the van doors.
“What is that smell?” my four-year-old asked. “It is like bad eggs.” I wondered briefly when he had smelled “bad eggs”, but mainly I was looking for the source of the odor too. Aiden, however, persisted in his commentary on the bad smell. “I don’t like smells!”
By this point, I had located the offending smell and so had Aiden. “It is sausage!” he said.
I didn’t bother to tell him that it was ground turkey. I simply dumped it in our outside trashcan before attempting air freshener spray in the van. Then I phoned my husband about the situation, bemoaning the fact that I could not roll down the van windows because it was raining.
After that, I sprinkled baking soda and left a bowl of vinegar and essential oils in the backseat of the van in hopes of helping remove the odor, and I called a couple of my sisters for advice.
Melissa told me coffee grounds could work. Alas, coffee hater, that I am I had no coffee on hand to help get rid of the smell. Still, it did quit raining and I rolled down the windows to let out the odor. The smell was so bad that it wafted out into the carport just from having the windows partially open.
Bethany told me bleach was the only thing that removed the odor of rotting meat from her basement when her deep freezer quit working. I didn’t use bleach for fear of ruining the carpet.
After searching in my cabinets I did find some lavender-scented febreze that my mom left when she came over to help clean the house. I don’t use that stuff because I don’t like the smell of lavender. However, I do think lavender smells nicer than rotten meat. So I sprayed the back seat down with it.
I know this won’t win any marketing campaigns. “Customer says Lavender smells better than rotten meat!” I hoped it would remove the odor but by the next morning, the odor of rotten ground turkey still met me when I opened the doors.
I worked to clean out the van, but I had too much help. Cleaning out a vehicle with a 4-year-old, an almost 3-year-old, and a baby is not advised.
“No, don’t pick that up it belongs in the trash!”
“Yes, trash is stinky,” Aiden said.
“And poop is stinky too,” Seraphina added.
I had to wait until Daniel got home to get real help cleaning out the van. He used the LA’s Awesome Cleaner that he borrowed from his mom to get clean it up. This stuff may not have ammonia or bleach in it, but it does have a strong chemical smell to it. My husband should have worn his Covid mask when he was using it.
Daniel said it was pretty difficult to breathe while cleaning with it. He listened to his Pandora station, and they started playing The Chemical Worker’s Song by Great Big Sea, while he was using the LA Awesome Cleaner. Such great timing Pandora. At least the van got cleaned. Now we had two competing odor’s a cleaner and rotten meat.
In the end, I finally got some coffee grounds and put them in the back of the van. Now low and behold the van smelled like a coffee shop instead of rotting meat and LA’s Awesome Cleaner.
Now if you ever need this information I made a list for you.
Things that did not work to remove rotting meat odor:
Lavender scented Febreze
What did work:
LA’s Awesome Cleaner (available at the Dollar Tree)
and Coffee Grounds (Thanks Melissa!)
Here is the song Daniel was listening too while cleaning the van.