Cleaning Guides

Cleaning a Freezer Without Shutting It Off

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Cleaning the kitchen is no easy task for anyone and the freezer is perhaps the appliance no one looks forward to dealing with. You could spend all day defrosting and cleaning your freezer, only to end up with some spoiled food and a slippery floor. We know it sounds scary, but fear not! In this post, we will teach you how to clean a freezer without turning it off.

Table of Contents:

If you have ever:

  • Needed to clean your freezer quickly without unplugging it;
  • Wondered how to safely clean your appliance;
  • Had to clean up only minor food spills and stains.

Then we have some useful tips for you!

Why cleaning your freezer is important

Having a dirty, iced up freezer can greatly decrease its efficiency, increase your power bill and ruin your stored food. Unpleasant smells and tastes can affect your products. However, you can avoid this by giving your appliances a good clean. Ideally, you should clean your freezer at least twice a year. 

But what if you don’t have the time for a deep clean? You wouldn’t want your mince pies to smell like stale fish, right? So, here’s how to quickly and effectively clean a freezer without turning it off.

Note: Use this method if you need a fast surface clean of your freezer. If you want to fully clean it, we recommend turning it off to avoid any risks or damages to your appliance. 

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Here is what you will need to complete the job

  • Rubber gloves
  • Towels
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Old toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • Dishwashing liquid


First things first – you need to defrost the freezer if you want to clean it properly. So, this is where you start: 

  1. Empty out the freezer. Remove all the food from the freezer to get to the messy parts. Put the products in your fridge, an ice-filled cooler or a container lined with newspaper. This will keep your products cool while you work. Take any shelves or drawers out of the freezer as well. You will need to clean these later.
  2. Put towels down. Avoid any further mess by putting towels down and around your freezer. They will soak up any water that could leak due to the melting frost. You wouldn’t want to cause another mess that you’d have to deal with.
  3. Prepare a cleaning solution. In a bowl, make a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and hot water. Alternatively, you can use baking soda mixed into hot soapy water. These ingredients help to break down the stains so you can wipe them off easily. 
Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach. They may need more time to air out and could damage your freezer and affect food. Avoid scented dishwashing liquid – the flavours may transfer over to any food you have stored.

How to clean a freezer without turning it off

Now that you’re fully prepared, it’s time to begin cleaning the freezer. Keep in mind that you will need to clean the shelves and drawers, too.

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Wipe ice down with a hot cloth.

    You need to melt any ice that may have built up inside your freezer. Start by using a cloth dipped in hot, soapy water to wipe it down. Once the edges start to melt, the ice pieces should be easy to break off. Once they come off, throw them in the sink. Use a wet cloth to wipe down the walls and floor of the freezer to get rid of any leftover frost.

  2. Clean the freezer with a cloth or sponge.

    Use a microfiber cloth (or a sponge) dipped in the solution to wipe down the door, walls and floor of your freezer. You may need to repeat this step to get rid of more persistent stains. Don’t forget to clean the gasket – this is the rubber that insulates the freezer door – as well. Using an old toothbrush and the cleaning mixture, scrub any dirt off it and wipe the residue with a cloth.

  3. Dry your freezer.

    Before putting anything back, you’d want to dry the freezer with the help of a clean cloth. This will get rid of any excess moisture inside. That way, you prevent any further ice build-up once you close the door and the temperature drops.

  4. Wash the shelves and drawers.

    You should clean the drawers and shelves before returning them to the freezer. Use warm, soapy water to wash them and dry them off with a clean cloth. Put them back inside the freezer and close the door.

  5. Return food to the freezer.

    After about 15 minutes, the temperature inside the freezer will have dropped. You can return any products you have taken out and you’re all done!

Avoid scraping the ice off with a knife, it could damage your freezer walls. Do not use boiling hot water directly on your walls to avoid damaging them. Make sure to wipe any excess water off the floor afterwards to prevent slips and falls.

Cleaning your freezer takes too long?

If you don’t have the time to clean your freezer, there are other options. Most modern models have a self-defrosting feature. This makes cleaning them quicker and easier. If you’re not ready for a change of appliance or want to prevent freezer repair service, you can save time by having it professionally cleaned. 

Fantastic Services offers deep cleaning of kitchen appliances that is perfect for these kinds of situations. The experts use environmentally safe products to provide great service and a clean appliance. Booking your service is simple – just use our online form! With just a few clicks, you could save time to do the things you enjoy!

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  • Cleaning a freezer without turning it off is meant for quick surface cleaning.
  • Defrost the freezer for better results.
  • Use white vinegar or baking soda mixed with warm water to clean your freezer.
  • Dry the freezer off to prevent further ice build-up.
  • If you want to give your freezer a deep clean, it is best to turn it off to avoid any risks.


Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any advice for cleaning a freezer? Tell us in the comments below!

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