How to defrost a freezer

Why do you need to defrost?

Defrosting your freezer can be a tedious chore that many of us avoid doing. Although there are now modern frost free fridge freezers, they often come at an extra cost and sometimes aren’t available on all models. A function that should be found on all fridges, which detracts carrying out the same procedure as the defrosting process is referred to as ‘Auto Defrost’. This prevents condensation which is formed at the back of the fridge turning to ice. If this function wasn’t available then it would affect the running of the appliance, as well as food preservation.

Defrosting your freezer is vital in order to obtain its efficiency; to avoid frequency of defrosting a good seal is needed. Over a period of time, the opening and closing of the door lets new air in which turns into moisture and therefore forms into ice on the wall and shelves.  The build-up of ice prevents heat transfer releasing, which results in higher energy costs, something that everyone wants to avoid.


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To keep energy costs down you should defrost your freezer when it develops half an inch build-up of ice. Commonly people are known to defrost their freezer just once a year but this may vary depending on habits, such as how often you open and close the freezer door.

Step by step defrosting process:

  1. Switch off the freezer and unplug from the mains.
  2. Clear all contents within your freezer.
  3. To avoid thawing all food should be stored in cool bags within a cool area. Take advantage if you are defrosting in the winter by storing food outside but make sure to keep securely away from wildlife.
  4. Cover the area underneath and around the freezer with absorbent materials such as newspaper to blot up liquids during the defrost process.
  5. Place a bowl of boiling hot water within the freezer to speed up the thawing process.
  6. Dip a cloth in hot water and run across frozen areas to help clear and melt the ice.
  7. Wash all shelves/draws.
  8. Within 20-30 minutes empty and refill the bowl in the freezer with boiling hot water.
  9. Leave the freezer to fully defrost for a few hours.
  10. Once all ice has melted use a dry cloth to clean away residue.
  11. Once the freezer is clean and dry, restock with shelves and draws.
  12. Stock food contents back into the freezer.
  13. Close the door and switch the freezer back on.
  14. Process complete.

Defrosting Tips: Once the defrosting process is complete, leave the freezer on a cool temperature for up to an hour before restocking. This will ensure that food is stocked back in at a cool temperature. When stocking food back into the freezer make sure that it has remained frozen, if it has happened to thaw then be aware that you will need to cook it on the same day. Never refreeze thawed food from frozen.

Read on to find out about fridge freezer problems. 

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