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How to defrost a fridge freezer

Depending on your appliance, you might want to think about defrosting your fridge freezer around once or twice a year, or indeed when you can see about a quarter of an inch of ice built up on the walls. It can be an annoying task to have to do, but it is really quite simple when you follow the basic steps!

Remove the contents and minimise waste

The first step is to take all your food out and place it in a cool box. It should be said here that, if you plan ahead, you can try to get through most of the food that is in the fridge freezer before you defrost it, so that there is no need to worry about either wasting it or having to find yourself some large cool boxes.

Use the opportunity to take the draws and shelves out of the fridge freezer as well. This will give you a good chance to wash and rinse them, something which it is not always so easy to do when they are packed full of food! In a similar vein, you should also think about timing this project for before rather than after the big weekly shop – you don’t want to have to be doing it when there’s a car boot full of shopping to be stored away.

Prepare for the melting

Once the fridge freezer is empty, you should then put some towels down in front of your appliance to soak up any potential liquids, open the doors slightly and turn the power off. At this stage, although it may seem like picking away at the ice buildup might be a good idea, it is important to remember that it is not. If you pick at the ice, you risk damaging the internal walls of the fridge freezer. Letting it defrost naturally is the safest way.

If you are however in more of a rush, then there is a safer way to speed things up. This is by boiling some water and pouring it into two bowls, each of which you can place in the fridge and the freezer section respectively. The heat from this steaming bowl should speed up the melting process, and you can even shut the doors while you have these placed inside, just so that the heat does not escape.

Whether you let the fridge freezer defrost the more natural way, or the sped up way, you will be dealing ultimately with a lot of water spillage leaking down the bottom of the fridge freezer and out onto the floor. Good thing we placed down those towels, eh!

Clean out those hidden areas

Once again, this can be the prime opportunity to clean out areas which might normally not be so conveniently cleaned. In this way, once the fridge freezer is empty and defrosted, you can then go about wiping down the inner surfaces and cleaning all those normally hidden away sections. You will then have yourself a clean, fresh and revitalised fridge freezer, ready to be turned on and repacked with your foods and drinks.

Localised defrosting

If you do not want to turn off the whole thing, then you can also just focus your efforts on individual areas where ice has built up. This can be carried out for example by using a hair-dryer. This comes in handy if, say, your freezer needs defrosting but you don’t want to turn off the fridge too. In this case you can simply move the frozen foods up into the fridge for a moment whilst you direct the hair-dryer at the area needing to be defrosted.

You then can take a warm, wet cloth to wipe down the area you have focused on and remove any melting ice. You will still need to put down the towels, but you will at least not need to turn off the whole fridge freezer.


Header image via Unsplash.