I had no idea how to defrost a freezer until this last couple of weeks and you know what, I’d really rather than I hadn’t have had to have a crash course in the subject but seeing as I have, I thought I’d share my newfound knowledge with you!
You might have seen recently that my fridge freezer decided to have a temporary fit which took a couple of weeks to fix as we needed a special part ordering in. When it was finally fixed, we decided to move all of the food from the other under-counter freezer in the kitchen into the newly fixed freezer so we could give the under-counter one a bit of attention. I can’t remember ever actually defrosting a freezer intentionally before but it seemed like a good time to do this one as ice had started to build up at the top.
We’ve known for ages that ours needed defrosting but kept putting it off because the freezer was full of food and every time we started to empty it a bit, we’d either across another bargain that we couldn’t resist or we’d have some leftovers to squeeze in there to avoid waste. I’ll be honest, if our other freezer hadn’t broken down and had to be emptied, giving us some space to put the food from this freezer in when it was fixed, I don’t know that we’d have defrosted this one until it had more ice then food in it!
Why defrost a freezer?
I think most freezers these days are frost free which means they *shouldn’t* ice up like mine. In my extensive freezer defrosting research (which consists of a Google search and a phone call to a wiser friend), I think mine probably started t ice up because I have the door open for too long when I’m seeing what we have in on a Sunday to do my meal plan for the following week.
If it does happen in your freezer over time then you really need to defrost it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we all need as much space as we can get in our freezers and any build up of ice is taking space that you probably need for all your yellow-stickered bargains and your batch cooking triumphs, right?
Also, as odd as this may sound, if the ice builds up too much the ice that forms actually acts as an insulator so your freezer has to do more work to get through the ice build up to your food to keep that frozen which is going to take more electricity and therefore, cost you more money.
And the final reason, although less important than the other two, is that the ice build up can make it a real pain to open and close the drawers. My bottom drawer practically had to be kicked back in to get it to close.
How to defrost a Freezer
When I looked up how to defrost a freezer there were some ridiculous (to me at least) ideas on how to do it! Ideas like using a blow-heater or a hairdryer seem so silly to me and don’t even get me started on the idea of using a hammer and a knife to chip away the ice!
I feel like I went for a speedy but sensible option which I thought I’d share with you today in the hope that anyone searching for ‘how to defrost a freezer’ ends up here and not somewhere that’s going to tell them to risk electrocution by using a hairdryer or permanent damage to the freezer by going in with a hammer and chisel.
Step one – empty your freezer completely, putting the drawers to one side so you can give them a clean while your freezer is defrosting.
Step two – Turn the freezer off at the wall.
Step three – Use a towel to tuck into the bottom of the freezer and cover the floor in front. Bear in mind that if there’s a lot of ice then you’ll need to swap in a fresh towel whenever the initial one gets saturated. We did this three times during our defrosting afternoon and put the soggy ones straight into the washing machine as we removed them.
Step four – Half fill whatever pans and bowls you can fit in your freezer with boiling water and leave them to do their thing. They’ll melt the ice quicker than just leaving it to melt on it’s own but there’s no danger of disaster with them (unless you spill them so be careful).
Step five – Keep checking your towel to make sure it doesn’t get too saturated and while you’re checking that, just check on your water temperature. Mine cooled down quite quickly so I just replaced it with more boiling water.
Step six – Ours took a few hours to defrost with about three water and towel changes and I have to say that I’m really pleased that we didn’t let it do itself overnight as we would have woken up to a flood without changing the towels.
Step seven – Once all the ice has melted, give the inside of your freezer a good wash out and pop in the nice newly cleaned drawers and switch the freezer back on.
And that’s the way to defrost a freezer safely with as little mess as possible!
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