If there’s one thing I hate in life, it’s defrosting a freezer. Really. It’s a pain. I want to get it done as quickly as humanly possible.
A few weeks ago I opened our outdoor freezer to pull out something to eat. I had to move a bag of fish sticks, and when my hand closed on the bag, my fingers squished around mushy fish bits.
My heart dropped into my empty stomach. We have hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of food in our outdoor freezer. We thought maybe the door just hadn’t been sealed tightly. Long story short, at midnight that night we were packing the freezer with dry ice because it still wasn’t staying cold.
Why Defrost the Freezer?
After reading through the manual and reading online, we realized that the freezer needed to be defrosted because the ice buildup was backing up one of the pumps. (How’s that for technical terminology?!) After defrosting the freezer, it has worked properly. I guess I just need to schedule annual maintenance on the freezer. I’ll write it on my calendar and set aside one day a year to defrost that bad boy.
Aside from making sure the freezer functions properly, getting rid all that ice will open up extra space. Space you could be using for precious commodities. Like Moose Tracks or Rocky Road. Am I right?
How To Defrost a Freezer
Please note, these instructions are based on defrosting an upright freezer.
It’s relatively easy to defrost a freezer. It’s just time consuming – taking about 2 – 3 hours for an upright freezer. I’ve found it works easiest to do it on a hot day. Seems backwards, right? You want me to put all my perishable frozen food out on a hot day?! But if you defrost your freezer when it’s warm, the ice will melt faster, getting your freezer defrosted quickly, and sending you back to your regularly scheduled life.
Get everything ready at once so you don’t have to be making several trips.
What you’ll need:
A wooden or plastic spoon that you can throw away afterward
Safety goggles – optional but recommended
Set out your coolers and clear your table/counter space. TURN OFF YOUR FREEZER.
If you don’t do this, you’ll be working up a sweat trying to get rid of the ice, and your freezer will be working up a sweat trying to keep it there. Put on your winter gloves and your goggles. (For real. This is the trick to hating this less. No cold fingers and no ice chips puncturing your eyeballs.)
Quickly place your soft frozen items in the coolers – like ice cream, popsicles, fish, etc.
When your coolers are full, place deep frozen items (like meat) on the table or counter (if you’re working inside) and cover them with thick blankets. Walk away… Don’t lift those blankets until you’re ready to put food back in the freezer!
Place towels along the ground at the bottom of the freezer to catch the melting ice and dripping water. I say dripping, but once it gets going, it’ll be a river of water.
Once your freezer is empty, start at the top and carefully start “chipping” away at the ice. Do NOT use a metal spatula. There are coils filled with chemicals in the freezer and racks. You don’t want to accidentally bust one open.
Do NOT use a hair dryer! Yes, it’ll speed up the process, but your safety is worth an extra twenty minutes. That’s why I suggest doing this on a hot day.
Your spatula or wooden spoon will chip and crack as you pick away at the ice. Just know you’ll be throwing it away when it’s all said and done.
The top two shelves will give you the most trouble. By the time you get to the bottom, you’ll just be pushing the ice out. As the towels fill with ice and water, swap them out for fresh ones. I used four big beach towels altogether.
Since you have all the food out of the freezer, take a minute to wipe out the inside with a wet rag and clean up any sticky spills.
Dry the inside of the freezer. You just spent two hours chipping away all the ice crystals. No reason to give your freezer ammo to start a new crystal collection.
Double step it as you put all your food back in the freezer. You’ll notice this part seems to go a lot faster than it was to take it all out. Probably because it’s the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 This is a good time to make sure everything is organized the way you want it.
And you’re done! Pat yourself on the back. You’re amazing. And if your ice cream got a little soft in the process…grab a spoon! You deserve it. 😉
What tips do you have for defrosting a freezer?