How to Defrost Your Freezer – Safe & Easy

how to defrost freezer
Foto: CC0 Public Domain – Unsplash/ Dev Benjamin

Think it might be time to defrost your freezer? As with any home appliance, it pays to keep your freezer in good working order. Not only does it save you money by extending the life of your appliance, it also keeps your energy costs down.

Why Do You Need to Defrost Your Freezer?

If your freezer is an older model that lacks a built-in ‘defrosting’ function, ice can quickly accumulate inside, blocking interior air vents and throwing off temperature sensors. This creates even more ice and can cause your freezer to work overtime, wasting energy and racking up your electricity bill. If the inside of your freezer looks like a winter wonderland, it’s time to learn how to defrost your freezer manually. 

If your freezer has a self-defrosting function but ice is still regularly building up inside, you’ll need to schedule repairs. Manually defrosting your freezer will help in the short term, but it won’t fix the real problem.

Tip: It pays to keep your other home appliances in good condition too. Here we outline how to clean your refrigerator with a natural fridge cleaner

How Often Should You Defrost Your Freezer?

Defrosting your freezer at least once or twice a year is ideal, but if your freezer is prone to ice build-up on a regular basis, you will need to defrost more often.

A clear sign that it’s time to defrost your freezer is when the ice accumulated reaches a thickness of more than a ¼ inch.

Manually Defrosting Your Freezer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Defrosting your freezer can take between two to 24 hours, if you let the ice melt naturally.
Defrosting your freezer can take between two to 24 hours, if you let the ice melt naturally.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Free-Photos)

Before you start:

  • Always check the user manual for your freezer before you start manually defrosting to find out if there are any specific things you’ll need to watch out for during the process.
  • Plan ahead: We recommend that you try to use up most of the food inside in order to avoid any food waste.
  • Is your freezer that is connected to your refrigerator? In this case, you may need to empty your fridge, too. Ask a neighbor if you can store some food at their place for a few hours. If you live in cooler climate zones, it makes sense to defrost your freezer during the winter months when you may be able to store some of the frozen food outside.

How to defrost your freezer in 5 steps:

  1. First up you need to remove any items from the freezer, unplug it and leave the door open. Store any frozen food in a cooler or the refrigerator making sure it’s safe to re-freeze after. 
  2. Lay out some towels inside and beneath the freezer to soak up water as the ice melts. You can also place a baking tray inside to catch most of the water.
  3. Leave your freezer as it defrosts. This can take between two and 24 hours depending on how thick the ice inside is. We do not recommend speeding the process up with a hairdryer or fan. This will cost a lot of energy and may also be dangerous  – using electrical appliances in combination with water is never a good idea. If you want to speed up the process, you can place a bowl with hot water inside the freezer. If you are worried about water run-off on your floors, check on the process occasionally and wring out the towels when they become saturated.
  4. After a few hours, you can remove any larger ice chunks that linger and leave them in your kitchen sink to melt away. Be careful not to use any hard or sharp tools to chip away ice, as this could damage the insides of your freezer. Most freezers will come with their own plastic scraper designed to do this job safely. If you don’t have one, a plastic spatula will do.
  5. Dry off the interior of your freezer after removing excess ice and water and you are all done. Now could be a good time to organize your freezer and give it a quick clean before you plug it back in for use.

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