Cleaning Guides

How to Defrost a Freezer

Defrosting a fridge to clean it is a chore which comes around every once in a while. However, when it comes, you dislike every second of it. Most new freezers come with a built-in frost-free feature, but we’re guessing you don’t have that, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post. Fear not, dear reader, as here you will learn why and how to defrost your freezer.

So, if you:

  • Have a relatively new freezer, which is starting to build up more ice than needed
  • Wonder how often you should defrost your freezer in general
  • Plan to defrost very soon, and wonder whether there’s something you need to know beforehand

Then keep reading, because this post is for you!

Table of Contents:

Why should you defrost your freezer?

There’s something called ice build-up, which you don’t want in your freezer. It takes up valuable space where your food should be and prevents the circulation of cold air. In the long run, it will cost you more energy because the fridge will be working harder to keep the ice block frozen and your food will not be as cold as it should. Not only that, but if the ice block gets too big, it might even stop the door from closing properly.

Why does frost build up in your freezer?

When warm air from the outside enters the fridge, the cold temperature inside causes the moisture to transform into frost. That frost accumulates on the inside walls and floor.

Warm air always sneaks in when you open and close the door and that’s normal. Frost starts to build up when there’s too much warm air. That is usually the result of:

  • Putting warm or even hot food inside the freezer
  • An old door seal which is need of replacing

How often should I defrost my freezer?

Once a year is enough, but that’s not set in stone. If you see a thick block of ice forming up, you know the time has come to defrost your freezer regardless if it’s been a year since the last defrosting or less.

Prepare freezer for defrosting

Eat the food in advance – during the week leading up to the defrosting, eat and cook as much of your food as you can. That way you will not only cut down on potential food waste, but also make it easier later when you start the defrosting. An alternative is to put all your food in a neighbour’s freezer until yours is back up and running.

How to defrost a freezer

  • Unplug your freezer.
  • Put dry towels at the bottom to soak up water as the ice begins to melt – Wring them out when you find they can’t absorb any more water.
  • Put the fridge’s drainage hose in a bucket to help carry the water away – not all freezers have this, but if yours does, use it.
  • Remove freezer compartments – these include shelves, holders of any sort and drawers. Mind you, if some parts are hard to remove due to the ice, don’t use force. Instead, just wait until no more ice is surrounding them. Also, wait until they reach room temperature before cleaning them. Otherwise, they might crack. Make sure they’re dry before putting them back into the freezer.
  • Ice will begin to soften within 15 to 20 minutes – if you want to defrost your freezer quickly, try to add a bowl of hot water inside. Change the bowl as soon as the water becomes mild and no longer emits steam.
  • Scrape ice from the freezer walls – use a wooden spoon or ice spatula at best, but no sharp pointy objects such as knives. Knives will likely damage the walls and any exposed cooling pipes if they happen to slip.
  • Remove ice blocks – if a piece falls on the floor of your freezer, throw it in your sink, instead of waiting until it melts.
  • Dry the freezer and clean it afterwards – this is the perfect opportunity to deep clean the freezer interior. Use soap and water and rinse well. Afterwards make sure it’s perfectly dry.
  • Switch it back on – give the freezer time to reach its natural cold temperature before putting the food back in. Sadly, it may take several hours, but it’s important because otherwise you might end up with the same problem you were trying to fix.

Need a Cleaner?

Find a professional to take of the cleaning

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH
  • We're certified:

How to defrost a freezer without turning it off?

Frankly, you can’t and we don’t condone any such practice. The ice build-up will not melt if the freezer is turned on and trying to compensate for the cold air escaping through the opened door. Trying to remove the ice with a sharp object will likely result in damage to the equipment and injury to yourself.

Hire professionals

If you feel like the chore of cleaning your freezer is too time-consuming and tiresome, maybe Fantastic Services can help you out. The professionals we work with are highly skilled and fully equipped to clean not only your fridge, but your entire kitchen, as well. If the problem persists even after cleaning, then maybe your freezer needs repair services. If that’s the case, we can help you out as well.


  • Unplug the freezer before starting any cleaning.
  • Place towels inside so they absorb melting ice.
  • Make the defrosting process a little bit faster by placing a bowl of hot water inside the freezer.
  • Use a wooden spoon to break off the ice and not a knife.
  • Clean the inside of the freezer with water and soap.
  • Make sure the freezer is completely dry before turning it back on.
  • Wait until it reaches its normal temperature before putting your food back in.


When was the last time you defrosted your freezer? Do you have any tips of your own? Tell us in the comment section down below.

Image source: Shutterstock / Shveyn Irina

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x