Defrosting Upright Freezers

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Defrosting your freezer is not difficult, although it does take some time. You should do this periodically–whenever the ice starts building up again. The longer you let it go, the longer it will take to defrost.

Most models of upright freezers have automatic defrosting, but many others–especially older models–must be manually defrosted from time to time in order to function properly. If you do not defrost the freezer, eventually the ice forming can take over much of the available space. Defrosting your freezer is not difficult, although it does take some time. You should do this periodically–whenever the ice starts building up again. The longer you let it go, the longer it will take to defrost.

First, remove all of the food and place it in another freezer (or put it in an ice chest full of ice–just be careful none of the food –especially meats–starts to thaw. If this occurs, use the food right away to prevent food poisoning).

Unplug the freezer. Place towels on the floor around the freezer (or on the bottom shelves) to catch the inevitable drips of water when the ice thaws. 

Prop the freezer door open with a heavy chair or other item so the door will not close. A closed freezer will still defrost, but it will take longer–leaving it open will speed the defrosting process.

Wait for some of the frost and ice to loosen (wait at least an hour). Return to the freezer and scrape away some of the frost and ice with an ice scraper. You can also use a plastic spatula–whatever you use, just be careful not to gouge the freezer with the tool.  When ice or frost is too hard to scrape off, just leave it and allow it to thaw on its own. 

Return to the freezer after an hour to check the progress. If your freezer was in dire need of defrosting, it may still have ice left–just leave it to finish thawing. In many cases, however, after a couple of hours you can scrape the remaining frost out.

Mix a solution of baking soda and water to deodorize and clean the freezer before restocking it. You can use 2 to 3 tbsp. baking soda mixed in a bowl with about 1 quart of water. Use a sponge soaked in this to wipe down the freezer walls and shelves. Dry the freezer well with dry towels.

You can also use a fan to speed up defrosting, according to favoritefreezerfoods.com–just be very careful when using anything electrical around thawing ice. Avoid electrical shock–put the fan well out of the way of any water runoff.

Many advise using a blow dryer to speed defrosting–however be careful if you use this method due to the risk of accidental electric shock. Avoid any contact with water when using the dryer.

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