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Keys to Defrosting and Cleaning the Freezer

by Victor Vargas - September 22, 2016

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The freezer is a cold and lonely place, a natural haven for food forgotten. When it comes time to clean and defrost this often forgotten part of our kitchen, the main goal is to create order.


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To Defrost, or Not to Defrost?


While many modern freezers claim to not require manual defrosting, it can still be beneficial to do so. Automatic defrost appliances use 35% more energy than their counterparts on the defrost cycles they go through. As the self-defrost cycles absorb moisture from frozen food, they can often have adverse effects on the quality of the foods themselves. We suggest a manual defrost any time you notice an accumulation of ice 5mm or more, or if there is ice accumulation on the coils of the compressor. Here we give you some simple tips to help you with the process.

When Thawing is a Must


  • Turn the appliance off before defrosting, ensure the freezer is at 0 and unplug it.
  • Empty the entire contents of the freezer. You can store food in coolers or bowls with ice while you complete the defrost process.
  • Melt the freezer ice. Leave the freezer door open until the ice melts naturally (be sure to cover the floor with newspaper or towels to absorb the water and melting ice) and add hot water to accelerate the process. You can do this by putting pots of warm/hot water in the freezer space to help melt ice, or use hot air from a hair dryer. If doing this, be sure to always use great caution. When the ice melts absorb it with a sponge, paper towels or cloths.
  • Once the ice has completely melted, it’s time to clean the inside of the freezer. An effective mix consists of making a soft paste of baking soda and water. Moisten and dry with a clean cloth. The soda absorbs odors and eliminates persistent food waste. If necessary, wash the shelves and freezer drawers in warm soapy water. Dry them thoroughly before putting them back.
  • Connect the power. Close the freezer door, plug in and set up. Leave at least 15 minutes before replacing the food.


 Be careful! Do not use ice picks, knives or other sharp instruments to remove ice from the freezer walls. Any slip can damage the freezer, or more importantly, you.

Act safely. If you use a hair dryer be careful of the risk of electric shock. Ensure the dryer never makes contact with any water, and don’t drop it!

Forget the soap. Do not wash the walls of the freezer with soapy water. Soap is difficult to clean off, and soapy residue can affect the taste of food.