Defrosting your freezer is important. It allows it to continue working at its peak performance and stops the build up of ice, so you have more room to store your favourite foods. New freezer models come with auto-defrost options, but for older freezers defrosting needs to be done manually. It can be a mundane (and sometimes messy) task, but if done correctly it’s not that bad.
Which? have come up with 10 simple steps to help you defrost your fridge freezer quickly, here’s how you can do it.
10 steps to defrost your freezer quickly
- Turn off your freezer.
- Take out all of your frozen food. Pop it either into a cooler box or cool bag with ice packs to stop your food from thawing. If you don’t have either of these, ask a neighbour.
- Prepare your space. Put down old newspapers around your freezer to stop any water reaching the floor as the ice melts. Add dry towels inside your freezer, these will soak up any water as it defrosts. Remember to either wring them out every few hours or replace them with dry towels.
- Remove all draws, shelves and bottle holders. Pop them to one side for cleaning. If they’re stuck because of the ice, leave them, you’ll be able to remove them once the ice has melted.
- If your freezer has a drainage hose to assist with removing the water or a tray underneath it make sure you set up to dispose the water in these as the ice melts.
- Wait for the ice to melt. Don’t be tempted to use a hairdryer, wallpaper strippers, a heat gun, steam cleaner, car defroster or hack at it with a knife to speed up the process. Not only is it unsafe to mix electricity and water, but you shouldn’t use de-icer in a place where you store your food and using a knife is dangerous.
- Take this opportunity to give your freezer a good clean.
- Once all the ice has melted, dry your freezer with towels. The dryer your freezer is, the less likely ice will start building back up, then switch it on.
- Give your freezer time to cool back down again before re-adding your food back into it.
- If any food has started to defrost, don’t add it back into your freezer.
How long does it take to defrost a freezer?
Letting the ice in your freezer melt naturally should take around two hours, however if it's really thick it could take up to 24 hours. Make sure you plan to defrost your freezer on a day where you have no other commitments just in case it takes longer than expected.
How often should I defrost my freezer?
As soon as you spot ice in your freezer, it’s time to defrost it.
Why is my freezer frosting up?
When you open the door to your freezer you’re letting in outside heat and moisture. This then turns to frost and over time it can build up into ice if your freezer doesn’t have an auto-defrost option. The ice can cover air vents and temperature sensors, which means your freezer will start having to work harder.
How to defrost a freezer without turning it off
You should always turn your freezer off when defrosting it, otherwise the ice won’t melt. If you’re worried that you have nowhere to store your frozen food, reach out to a neighbour to see if they have space in their freezer for a few hours or if they have a cooler box.