How to Clean and Defrost Your Freezer the Right Way

16th Feb 2016

How to Clean a Freezer

Cleaning the freezer is usually pretty far down the list of kitchen tasks – after all, it pretty much takes care of itself, doesn’t it? Well, not exactly! If you’ve ever spilled any liquid while transferring a container or dish to the freezer and left it there, you’ve got a bad freezer smell waiting to happen. Give your freezer the attention it deserves: It’s time for a deep clean!

There are two main types of modern freezers: traditional models that fill with ice (these have to be defrosted before cleaning), and the newer versions which are frost-free. The cleaning process is much faster for the frost-free versions, since defrosting a freezer takes a fair amount of time and diligence.

Before you clean your freezer, you must:

  • 1.Consult the manufacturer’s manual and check whether your freezer has a defrost mode. Some freezers – particularly combined models – don’t need to be unplugged from the electricity to defrost. Others should be emptied and unplugged to start defrosting.
  • 2.Open the door of your freezer, empty food into a cool box, and remove any drawers or racks to be washed separately.
  • 3.Put a large bowl and towels at the bottom of the freezer to catch the water and ice as it melts.
  • 4.Empty the drip tray or bowl, and wring out towels frequently.
  • 5.Help ice dislodge from the walls of your fridge by gently levering it off with a plastic utensil, being careful not to damage the freezer.
  • 6.Standing a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the freezer and closing the door will speed up the melting process. Avoid using electrical appliances like hairdryers to do the same job – you may end up electrocuting yourself!

Cleaning a freezer is easy; just follow these simple steps.

  • 1.Using a clean cloth and an anti-bacterial spray (read the instructions on the label) or a solution of hot water and white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water), wipe down the interior of the freezer.
  • 2.Use clean hot water to rinse away any detergent and dry the inside surfaces with a tea towel or paper towel.
  • 3.Wash drawers or racks in a similar way and replace them in the freezer.
  • 4.Wipe down the outside of the freezer, paying special attention to the handle.
  • 5.Replace food in the freezer and return it to freeze mode, or plug it back in. If meat or perishable produce has thawed then do not re-freeze it. Follow instructions on the food packets in regards to re-freezing.

Assuming you’ve followed these instructions closely, your freezer should now be sparking just like new! If you’ve done a thorough clean but you still need to know how to get rid of a bad smell in the freezer, you might want to try placing a bowl of baking soda or coffee grains inside, shutting the door, and leave it to deodorize overnight.