Does Your Freezer Smell Like Chemicals or Gas? Here’s Why

Freezer smells like chemicals or gas

Stuck trying to figure out why your freezer smells like chemicals or gas?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve seen struggle with the same issue.

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place for answers.

If your freezer smells like chemicals or gas, there’s a good chance it is new, you used harsh chemicals to clean it, or your freezer is leaking refrigerant. But, if the issue persists, chances are your freezer isn’t the issue, and you have a gas leak in your kitchen.

Read on to learn how to solve these issues!

What to Do if Your Freezer Smells Like Chemicals or Gas: 4 Steps

Opening the freezer and realizing that it has an odd smell can be concerning, especially if you live with kids.

Luckily, with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to solve the problem today. The 4 fixes you should try to repair a freezer that smells like chemicals or gas are:

#1 If It’s New, Wait

If you recently bought your freezer, and it smells like chemicals, don’t worry. This is completely normal.

New freezers, just like other new home appliances, can smell like chemicals or gas due to the materials used in their manufacture and storage.

The gas or chemical smell usually wears off in a couple of days. But, if you can’t stand it, I recommend cleaning your freezer.

The easiest way to do it is by mixing equal parts of vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Then use that natural cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth or sponge to wipe it off.

Once you’ve finished, I recommend placing an open box or a container filled with baking soda. This ingredient is great at neutralizing odors.

But, if your freezer is not new or the smell doesn’t wear off, please keep reading.

#2 Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals

Although bleach and other cleaners are great for disinfecting and cleaning certain surfaces, I don’t recommend using them in your freezer.

You see, the interiors of your freezer are made of plastic, which can easily absorb odors. Moreover, ice cubes and other food items that are not properly wrapped can also absorb the chemical smell.

Don't use harsh chemicals to clean your freezer
Using harsh chemicals to clean your freezer could explain the issue

As mentioned in the step above, I recommend using natural cleaners instead. You can use vinegar, warm water, and a few drops of lemon.

This natural cleaning solution will also kill bacteria and is great to get rid of odd smells and mold in the freezer.

Tip: When cleaning your freezer, please make sure there are no foam plates or containers stored in it, as they can give off a chemical smell too.

#3 Repair the Refrigerant Leak

During the refrigeration process, coolant circulates through your freezer’s external and internal coils in the form of gas and liquid to keep your food and appliance cool.

Unfortunately, if your freezer has a refrigerant leak, it will stop working and can smell like chemicals or gas.

Although mild exposure to the refrigerant is usually not serious, you should fix the leak immediately.

You see, prolonged exposure to the refrigerant can pose a threat to your health. Some symptoms include breathing difficulty, irritation of the eyes, throat swelling, and others.

Moreover, your freezer’s refrigerant can be extremely harmful to the environment because it is a potent greenhouse gas. This is another reason why you should check for a leak and fix it immediately.

You can easily detect a refrigerant leak on your own by making a visual inspection. Normally, you’ll find oil residue on the floor under the leakage spot. Bear in mind that this substance is not Freon (the coolant), but a byproduct.

I also recommend mixing a few drops of dish soap and water in a spray bottle and spraying it on the tubing. If you have a refrigerant leak, you’ll see bubbles on the leakage spot.

Although the detection tips above can help, sometimes this process can be tricky. This is why I recommend calling a professional.

Check your manual to find the phone number of the certified technician. If you can’t find it, search for your freezer’s model number and brand on Google. For example, “Whirlpool Freezer [model number] Manual PDF”.

The certified technician can use different methods to detect the leak. For example, some use a fluorescent or an electronic leak detector.

The cost of repairing a refrigerant leak may vary, but it’s usually between $150 and $400. This is why I recommend checking if your freezer is still under warranty.

You should never attempt to repair a coolant leak by yourself. Always call a certified technician.

Bear in mind that if your freezer is very old (or if the technician suggests it), it may be better to replace it.

#4 Call the Gas Utility Company

If you don’t have a refrigerant leak, chances are your freezer is not the issue and there’s a gas leak in your kitchen.

I know, this is probably the last thing you wanted to hear, but please don’t worry. If you follow the next steps, you and your family will be safe.

If you smell gas (some people describe the smell as rotting eggs) in your kitchen, make sure the stove burners are off and check that the oven knob is in the off position. Then, shut off the main gas supply and open all the doors and windows.

Do not use any matches, or any other flammable materials, and call the gas utility company. They’ll be able to do a safety inspection and check for any leaks.

I don’t recommend trying to detect where the gas leak is coming from on your own if you’re not a professional.

Once they’ve located the gas leak, please call a professional to repair it.

How to Know if Your Freezer Is Still Under Warranty

As you probably noticed, repairing a refrigerant leak can be very expensive. Luckily, some manufacturers include repairs or replacements in their warranties.

Normally, freezer warranties are valid for one or two years, but this may vary depending on the model you own.

This is why you should check the documents you received when you bought your freezer. They normally contain information about your freezer’s warranty.

If you don’t have those documents, don’t worry. You can search for the information on Google. For example, if you own a Whirlpool freezer, type”Whirlpool Freezer Warranty Information” in the search bar and enter the manufacturer’s website.

You may need to know your freezer’s model number, which is usually located on a label behind the lower kick plate, on the sides or back of the unit, on the inside wall, or under the lid.

You can also contact the retailer, since they probably saved the transaction details.


That about covers it! I hope that this article has helped you get rid of the chemical or gas smell in your freezer.

If you take anything away, please let it be that if your freezer is new, the smell will eventually wear off.

But, if your freezer isn’t new, don’t forget that you’ll need to stop using harsh chemicals, since the materials and food inside your freezer can easily absorb them.

Moreover, check for a refrigerant or gas leak in your kitchen. Remember that to do this, you must call a professional.

Thank you so much for reading this quick article. If you found the four tips above helpful, please check out our related guides below.

Have a wonderful rest of the day!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more