frost buildup in freezer

A guide to defrosting your freezer

We don’t love it – but we know we’ve all got to do it at some point. Defrosting a freezer can be a tiresome task, but it’s not one that should be left too long or else you’ll make it even more of a chore. Some of us don’t have to worry about this due to our freezers having a frost-free feature, but most of us don’t have that luxury due to our appliances being older or not as fancy.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help you through the process. Our helpful guide to properly defrosting your freezer or fridge-freezer will ensure that you don’t end up having to throw all your food out and/or mop up a huge spillage in the morning.

The safest and quickest way

We’re not going to blow your mind with any ‘hacks’ or anything – we’re going to do this by the book. Why, you ask? Well, a lot of the more inventive methods out there can actually end up damaging your freezer or, in some cases, invalidate the warranty of the unit. At Repair Aid, we repair damaged freezers and fridge-freezers on a daily basis – so we know what you should and you shouldn’t do to prevent damage to a freezing unit.

With that in mind, here’s the quickest and safest way to defrost your freezer:

Step 1: Switch off and prepare

Start by switching off your freezer and placing some newspaper around it to capture any melted ice/water that gets out and onto the floor. For the inside of the unit, you’ll want to place some towels down inside the freezer to capture the ice and water as it melts. Keep the door open as this will allow the freezer to get to ambient room temperature a lot quicker. Also try to replace the wet towels with dry towels over time. If there’s a lack of towels, just ring out the wet ones in a sink and place them back in.

Step 2: Remove food and drawers

remove the drawers

If you’re looking to use your food again after the defrost, you’ll want to try and keep it cold for as long as possible. Because of that, you’ll maybe want it to sit in the freezer for a little while – even if it’s off now. But you will have to remove any products that are in there eventually before they defrost.

You have a few options here: you can move the food into cool bags that you can prepare in advance; you can ask a neighbour if they’ll temporarily house your food; store it in the fridge; or you can throw it out. For the first option, you’ll want to put the cool box or bags in the coldest location in your flat and away from sunlight. If you want a friend or neighbour to help, then make sure to ask them in advance! For the latter options, consult the packaging and see if any the food can be stored in the fridge instead of putting it in the bin – saving you from wasting it. You should be able to store most frozen items for up to two days in your fridge. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t put it back in the freezer. It needs to either be used up or thrown out after the two days.

Now, with the food removed, it’s time to take the shelves out. If you’re wondering what your towels should be doing at this point, they should just be moved as and when required. They’re just there to catch the ice and water so it can be wrung into your sink. When removing the shelves, you can place the towels at the bottom of the unit or wherever appropriate within the freezer. If some of the shelves are stuck because of ice, don’t try to force them out as you may shatter the shelf. You should always wait until the ice melts to a certain level.

Step 3: Wait…

Now it’s time to wait for the ice to melt. You’ll be tempted to speed the process up by using those aforementioned ‘hacks’ (like using a hair dryer or slashing away at the ice with a knife) but we wouldn’t recommend this for safety reasons. It’s just not worth it for a bit of extra time.

If you’ve got a tray or a drainage hose underneath your fridge, be aware of water collecting in these as the ice melts. You’ll want to, for example, empty the tray as it fills up or it could end up overflowing.

Step 4: Clean

clean your freezer

With the ice now melted, it’s time for you give your freezer a clean. You’re not going to get any other opportunity to do this properly, so why not? This allows you to keep your freezer nice and hygienic, and to get rid of any food or dirt that has been trapped by ice.

Make sure to also dry the inside of the freezer before switching it back on. You can use paper towels to capture any excess moisture from the sides that hasn’t trickled down to your towels. This will prevent any quick build-up of ice when the freezer turned back on.

Step 5: Turn it back on

With all of the moisture removed, turn the unit back on and put the shelves back in place. Give it a little while to reach an optimum temperature before putting your food back in (this may take a few hours).

If some of your food has defrosted, you shouldn’t place it back in the freezer as this can cause food poisoning. The only exception to this rule is food that has been frozen, defrosted and then cooked as part of a meal. This can be placed back in with a minimal chance of food poisoning.

And there you go – the safest and quickest way to defrost your freezer!

Why you should defrost your freezer

By leaving ice to form in your freezer, you’re just increasing the chances of making it difficult to close your shelves or freezer door. Not only that, but ice can also reduce the capacity of your freezer – making it difficult to fit food in that otherwise could fit in.

This build-up of ice can cause damage to your freezer – even causing problems with the door seal. If you think you’ve got a problem with your freezer, get in touch with our team at Repair Aid.

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