How To Clean Out Your Freezer Without Defrosting It

Updated byPenny
How To Clean Out Your Freezer Without Defrosting It

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Are you fed up with having to defrost your freezer and wasting food, every time you want to give it a good cleaning? I know I am!

Whether you’ve got a buildup of ice, spills, or just want to give your freezer a good scrub down, cleaning your freezer can seem like a daunting task.

I’ll cover everything you need to know to get your freezer looking and smelling fresh again without having to spend hours waiting for it to defrost.

So, let’s get started!

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Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of cleaning your freezer, let’s start with some preparation.

Unplug the freezer and empty it

For safety reasons, you should turn off the freezer while you are cleaning it. Plus, it will be difficult to remove the ice while it is continuously trying to refreeze as you clean!

The cleaning method I share in the post will make the time you must have it switched off as short as possible.

Place any food items in a cooler with ice packs to keep them frozen while you clean.

This is a great opportunity to declutter and throw away any expired or freezer-burned items.

Protect the floor

Once the freezer is empty, place towels around the bottom to catch any water or cleaning solution that may drip down. This will make cleanup much easier and prevent any damage to your floors.

Now, it’s time to start cleaning! But before we get into that, a quick word of caution:

Never use sharp objects or abrasive materials to remove ice or frost buildup. This can damage the interior of your freezer and potentially harm yourself. Instead, use a plastic scraper or spatula to gently remove any excess ice.

How to clean your freezer without turning it off

Things you will need

ice scraper
This is actually a dough scraper but it works great as an ice scraper too. The rubber edge makes it safe to use without damaging the freezer

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your freezer:

Here are the steps:

Step 1 - Remove ice

scraping ice off a freezer

Use a plastic scraper or spatula to remove any ice buildup on the walls and shelves of the freezer. Be careful not to damage the walls or shelves.

For any difficult to budge ice, use a hairdryer to melt it enough so that you can more easily scrape it off.

Another option is to place a bowl of hot water on a shelf and let the steam melt the ice.

When the ice has all melted, remove excess water with a microfiber cloth and wring it out as you go.

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Step 2 - Clean out old food debris and spills

inside freezer with spilled food

If your freezer is anything like mine, you will have spilled peas, sweetcorn, and sticky spots all over it!

Baking soda is perfect for cleaning this up.

Make up a spray bottle of warm water and a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and give it a good shake. Then spray on the sticky bits, leave to sit, and it should wipe away more easily.

Another thing you can do is use a steam cleaner. This is much faster. All you need to do is scrub the stain with the steam cleaner brush, and it should wipe away easily with a cloth.

Here's a useful video on how to steam clean your freezer:

Don’t have a steam cleaner? Check out this post on the best steam cleaner.

Step 2 - Sanitize

sanitizing the freezer

After removing the ice buildup and food debris, make up a spray bottle of half distilled white vinegar and water and spray the inside. Then wipe with a clean microfiber cloth.

Step 3 - Clean the outside

Wipe down the outside with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust.

Step 4 - Plug the freezer back in and turn it on

Wait at least 15 minutes before returning any food or other items to the freezer. This will give the appliance time to reach its proper temperature.

Read this next:

Tips for keeping your freezer clean

freezer with organized food

Keeping your freezer clean is important not only for hygiene, but also to ensure that it functions properly.

Here are some tips to help keep your freezer clean and reduce the need for frequent defrosting and cleaning:

  1. Organize your freezer. A well-organized freezer not only makes it easier to find what you need, but also reduces the chance of spills and messes. Use labeled containers or baskets to group similar items together, and make sure to leave some space between items to allow for air circulation.
  2. Use airtight containers. Store food items in airtight containers to prevent spills and leaks that can lead to a messy freezer. Airtight containers also help to keep food fresh for longer and prevent freezer burn.
  3. Clean up spills immediately. If you notice a spill or leak in your freezer, clean it up immediately to prevent it from freezing and becoming harder to remove. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any spills and dry the area thoroughly.
  4. Check for expired items. Regularly check your freezer for expired or freezer-burned items and discard them. This not only helps to keep your freezer clean, but also ensures that you are not consuming expired or spoiled food.
  5. Defrost regularly. Regularly defrosting your freezer can help to prevent ice buildup and reduce the need for frequent cleaning.

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Sparkling Penny

Penny | Sparkling Penny

Penny’s expert cleaning advice has been featured repeatedly by Homes and Gardens Magazine, and also at wikiHow, The Daily Express Newspaper, and Glam Magazine to name a few! was founded in 2019 and has since helped millions of people achieve a cleaner living space.

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