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Defrost your freezer without making a mess and wasting food.

by Carla Ditzel, Apr 2018

How to defrost your freezer

Having to manually defrost a freezer is a household chore most people could live without. It can be a messy and time-consuming job, so here are 10 simple steps to help make this dreaded job as painless as possible.  Follow the steps below to defrost it quickly, without losing any food or ending up with an indoor swimming pool.

The safest way to defrost your freezer is to let it defrost on its own once you’ve turned it off.  If you search for ‘defrosting a freezer’ online you will find all sorts of tips and suggestions for how you can speed the process up. But these methods are not always safe and many don’t really work.  They could also damage or break your freezer and invalidate your warranty.

To defrost a freezer quickly, follow these 10 simple steps: –

1. Switch your freezer off.

2. Prepare your space.  Put towels around the freezer to stop any water from reaching the floor as the ice melts.  Then put dry towels down inside your freezer to soak up any water as the ice defrosts.  Replace them with dry towels, as required.

3. Remove all the frozen food straight away.  To prevent items from thawing, place them in a cool bag or insulated cooler box with ice packs.  Store this in the coldest area of your house, away from direct sunlight.  If you don’t have a cool box, see whether an obliging neighbour can temporarily store some or all of your frozen food.

4. Remove all drawers, shelves, bottle holders and anything that can be removed, and set them aside for cleaning.  Don’t try and force them out if they’re stuck because of the ice.  You’ll soon able to remove them as the ice melts.

5. If your freezer has a drainage hose or a tray underneath it, make sure you’re set up to dispose of the water in these as the ice melts.

6. Wait for the ice to melt.  You’ve probably thought of using various tools/methods to speed up the process: hairdryers, wallpaper strippers, a heat gun, a steam cleaner, defrosting with car de-icer, defrosting with salt and even hacking at the ice with a knife.  DON’T DO IT!  Mixing electricity and water, using de-icer in a place you keep your food or risking damage to your freezer (or yourself) by hacking at the ice with a sharp knife are not recommended.

7. Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean your freezer, getting into all those nooks and crannies where bits of dirt have collected (cotton buds are great).  Try a solution of equal parts hot water and vinegar, or one quarter hot water with two tablespoons of baking soda.  Transfer to a spray bottle and liberally spray the inside of the freezer.

8. Dry the freezer as much as possible, by wiping with dry towels, before you switch it back on.  This will help keep ice from immediately building back up.

9. Once you’ve switched the freezer back on, give it time to cool down again before putting your frozen food back in.  This can take several hours.

10. Any food that has started to defrost should NOT be refrozen.

Why should you defrost a freezer?

For the simple reason that you’ve got a build-up of ice that’s taking up space where your food should be.  If you leave it long enough, enough ice can build up to prevent the door from closing properly, so you’re better off defrosting the freezer before it gets to this stage.  As well as this ice taking up space where your food should be, the ice (although cold) actually acts as an insulator.  This means your freezer has to run longer and work harder in order to penetrate that block of ice to keep your food cold.  This means it will cost you more in electricity to run.  Frost build-up can be caused by leaving the freezer door open, or because there’s a problem with your freezer seal.  If you notice more frost building up than usual, and you know you’re closing the freezer door as soon as you’ve popped food in or taken it out, it’s worth checking your freezer seal.

How often should you defrost a freezer?

The simple answer is as soon as ice build-up becomes noticeable.


Why not call Well Polished Congleton and book a cleaner to take care of the regular household chores.

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