Raise your hand if you have a Foodsaver or any other type of vacuum sealer. I'm guessing there are a lot of raised hands. My husband and I purchased ours from Costco years ago and it was one of the best investments we've ever made. We like to purchase meat and cheese in bulk and the hubster is always bringing fresh fish home from his trips out to the bay. We would be lost (and a lot poorer) without our Foodsaver. But we have a horror story...
My husband went on a fishing trip a few weeks ago and brought home tons of rockfish fillets. We promptly pulled out our vacuum sealer to prepare them for storage in our freezer. When we were done, he wiped down the inside of the machine and dumped the drain pan, which is a thin strip that catches any moisture that is sucked out along with the air in your package. Once it was clean and dry, we stuck it back in the closet of our spare room so it was ready to pull out for the next time we needed it.
A few days later, I went into the room (we keep the door closed to keep the cats out) and there was a horrible smell coming from the closet. I'm talking rotting fish smell. IT. WAS. SOOO. BAD. At first, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from and had my husband check it out when he got home from work. We finally figured out that it was our Foodsaver! Even after cleaning it, there was obviously residue left over.
We scrubbed it and scoured it and the smell wouldn't go away. We realized the moisture from the fish had gotten up into the inside workings of the machine - something we couldn't get to unless we took the thing apart. We pondered on it for a while (all the while with this stinky machine in my kitchen) and it occurred to me that we have to attack the smell the same way it got in there in the first place.
The key to really getting your Foodsaver clean is simple. All you need is one of the bags that comes with the machine and a paper towel soaked in white vinegar. You can also use one of those antibacterial wipes in a pinch. That's what we did since we were out of vinegar and desperate to get rid of the fish smell. Your food doesn't touch the area we're dealing with so don't have to worry about cleaning products getting in your food.
If you are using vinegar and a paper towel, soak the paper towel but don't leave it dripping. Pop it inside the bag and start the seal process like you normally would.
The machine is going to suck the moisture out and that liquid is going to go right where the food residue is hanging out and stinking things up. You'll probably need to do this a few times, dumping your little drip pan after every time. Ours didn't actually seal the bag because it registered that there was too much liquid. If yours does seal, just cut the very edge of the bag and use it again.
After 3 or 4 times, our machine lost the rotten smell. We wiped it down again and put it back in the closet for next time. Ideally, you should be able to keep the bag you used for this cleaning project, label it and use it next time you do a deep clean, as these bags are pretty expensive.
It's been several weeks since we cleaned the inside of our Foodsaver and I'm proud (and relieved) to say that the yucky odor is GONE! We will be using this trick every time we pack meat or fish.
Do you have any favorite cleaning hacks?
This post was not sponsored by Foodsaver or any other companies. I'm just sharing a tip that worked for me!
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