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Dead canister filter = sewer smell

A week or more ago, someone mentioned about leaving their canister filter
off for a while and it stunk afterwards.  I've made the mistake of doing the
same.  I've left it off for two weeks or more while I tore down my 20 gallon
tank (I took my sweet time).  I opened it yesterday, and the stench sent me
backwards.  If you've never done this before, take my advice and don't ever
do it.  It smells exactly like a sewage treatment plant.

All of this happened yesterday.  All of the Ehfi-stuff that comes with Eheim
+ canisters was stained black to a certain degree and smelled worse.
Curiously though, this morning I had a look at everything and the blackness
was gone.  I didn't bother to smell it though.  :-)  I wonder what the black
stuff was?

How can I disinfect (and deordorize) my ehfisubstrat, etc. and reuse it?  I
eliminated using chlorine bleach, but what about Hydrogen Peroxide?  Right
now I have the ehfisubstrat in a bucket of water with a healthy dose (and
entire box) of aquarium salt.  I also thought about setting everything
backup and just cycling water through it with a large bag of activated
charcoal, and maybe adding some ammonia drops to the water to get the
bacteria going again.

On the plus side, it did kill all of those little snails living in the
filter.  That probably accounts for the smell more than anything.

Kelly Beard, Cat IV, Team Allanti
President, Allanti Cycling Club - http://www.allanti.com 
I/T, IBM Global Services