How to Defrost a Freezer in 6 Simple Steps  

Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to tackle the second ice age that's gathering in your freezer.

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Keeping your freezer full of batch-cooked meals or frozen veg (and the occasional tub of ice cream) is an important part of stocking up any home. But a defrosting might be on the cards when you’re just trying to grab a tub of that lasagne you all made last month, and you end up having to excavate it from some ice like an Arctic explorer… 

That’s why you need to know how to defrost a freezer. And don’t worry if it’s so encrusted with ice that you’re asking the penguins who’ve moved into it, ‘how do I defrost my freezer?’ — our method is easy to follow! 

How often should you defrost your freezer?

While you should clean your fridge 3-4 times a year, you can typically defrost your freezer just once a year, yet it can be done more often if you notice that there is a lot of ice build-up. Remember to always check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

How do I defrost my freezer? 

The best way to defrost a fridge freezer starts with good preparation before you begin. That means clearing space to store any food that you’re taking out and getting your equipment ready. You’ll need a bowl, plastic scraper, scrubbing brush, an empty stomach to eat the frozen Bolognese that’s looking gooood, cleaning spray and plenty of absorbent kitchen paper to lay down at the base of your freezer. 


The best way to defrost a freezer is to use super-absorbent kitchen towel to clean and soak up water on the inside. Plenty The Extra Big One gets the job done. They’re extra-large, easy to use and extremely durable.

 Once you’ve got everything ready, you can get defrosting! 

Step-by-step guide on how to defrost a freezer quickly

  1. Turn your freezer off. The quickest way to defrost a freezer is to switch it off while you are getting everything else ready. Turn it off at the socket, remove the plug and leave the door wide open so that you can get into it more easily. 
  2. Clear out all food. Ideally, you’d defrost your appliance when it was empty or nearly empty, or be able to put your frozen food in another freezer. However, most foods can be refrozen. As long as you keep them in a cool space they shouldn’t spoil. 
  3. Remove drawers and shelves. Once you’ve got all the food out, the best way to defrost a freezer quickly is to get all the removable items out. Drawers, shelves, bottle holders etc. Don’t force anything out, though: you might have to wait for the ice to melt a little first. Or you can follow the next tip to free your drawers and shelves sooner. 
  4. Melt the ice. Once you’ve removed everything, you could just wait for the ice to melt – but if you want to defrost freezer quickly, there are ways to speed it up: 
    • Hot bowl of water: An easy way to defrost freezer surfaces is to place a bowl hot water at the base. The steam will loosen and melt the ice satisfyingly quickly.  
    • Scraping: Take your plastic scraper and tap at the ice to see how it’s doing. It might take a little longer than the hot water method, but there’s something really satisfying about breaking it off in huge chunks. Combine these two methods, and you could get the task done in half the time! 
    • Hot cloth: Like the hot water method above, another easy way to defrost freezer interiors is to wipe at the ice with a hot cloth and let the heat do the work. 
  5. Clean your freezer. That’s the quickest way to defrost a freezer – now, on to cleaning it. Once all the ice has melted, you can wipe away any leftover gunk or bits of defrosted broccoli that have just been thawed out. The moisture itself will help to loosen any hard-to-remove marks, but you may need to use a bit of household cleaner and elbow grease to finish the job. Make sure you get into all the corners and hard-to-reach places – use a soft brush to scrub away any leftover marks. Finally, wipe down and dry the interior with some super-absorbent kitchen paper. 
  6. Clean your shelves and drawers. Give the fixings, seal (you might be surprised at how gross that’s got), and door a good clean. Then you can put everything back into your freezer and turn it back on. 

That’s all there is to it – an easy method to defrost your freezer quickly and cleanly. And if you think your fridge is jealous how spotless your freezer is (for now, at least), then we’ve got a fridge cleaning guide for you too!

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