HomeKitchenHow Often Should You Defrost Your Freezer

How Often Should You Defrost Your Freezer

If opening your freezer door opens up a frosty world of ice buildup, it can only mean one thing: it’s time to defrost the freezer! However, it can also be good practice to defrost your freezer before the ice buildup occurs. How often is often enough you ask? 

The answer to this question can significantly impact the efficiency and longevity of your appliance. Join me as I unravel the mystery of freezer defrosting frequency and help you get your freezer in top-notch condition, regardless of how old it is and if it can automatically defrost or not.

How Often Should I Defrost My Freezer?

You should defrost your freezer at least once a year, more frequently if you notice ice building up faster and starting to block vents or shelves. How often you need to defrost your freezer also depends on its model, size, how you use it, and how humid your climate is.

Newer freezers tend to be more efficient, so they may not build up ice as fast as older models. If you open the door often and keep letting warm air in, you may also need to defrost your appliance more often. If you live in a humid area, you guessed it: you will need to defrost the freezer more than once a year. 

You should defrost your freezer whenever you see that the ice buildup layer is about 5mm thick. It is also smart to refer to your owner’s manual and check if the manufacturer has specified a defrosting frequency and if there are any instructions on how to defrost your freezer.

How To Defrost a Freezer

Defrosting a freezer is not a difficult task, but it may take some time for the ice to melt, depending on how large the buildup is. Make sure you have a plan for storing the food from the freezer so it doesn’t thaw, and follow these steps: 

1. Get everything ready

Prepare everything before you start defrosting your freezer. Get a large bowl, some clean cloths, a couple of old towels to collect the water from the melting ice, a disinfectant and washing up liquid, and most importantly – coolers or cool bags with ice to store your food during the defrosting process.

2. Unplug the freezer

Unplug the freezer and keep the doors open so the warm air helps melt the ice faster.

3. Remove all the contents

Remove everything from the freezer and place it in a cool storage space. You can use coolers or cool bags. This is a great opportunity to discard any items that have been in the freezer for too long and are unsafe for consumption.

4. Place towels/cloths around the bottom of the freezer

When the ice starts melting, there will be a lot of water draining out of the freezer. Place towels on the floor in front of your freezer to soak it up. If your freezer has a drainage hose, you can use it to help remove excess water by placing it in a bucket.

5. Wait for the ice to melt

Since it can take a long time for the ice to melt, you can speed up the process by keeping the door open or by using a hair dryer or fan. You can also place pots of boiling water in the freezer. Pay attention not to place them directly on the plastic parts so the heat doesn’t damage them.

6. Clean the freezer

Once the ice melts, clean the freezer using washing up liquid and a disinfectant. You can also use a homemade cleaning solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with four cups of water, and use the solution to wipe down the racks, inner walls and your freezer door. Dry everything using a clean cloth.

7. Restock the freezer and turn it on

Turn the freezer on, set it to the right temperature and wait for it to reach it. Then restock it. Make sure to check for foods that may have thawed or expired.

How Long Does It Take for A Freezer to Get Cold After Defrosting

In general, it will take anywhere between 4 and 12 hours for the freezer to get optimally cold. The amount of time depends on multiple factors: room temperature, how much food there is in the freezer and its age and model. 

To ensure it gets cold sooner rather than later, avoid opening the doors, especially to check the temperature. Use an appliance thermometer to check if it’s cold enough after 6 hours and be patient. 

What Happens If I Don’t Defrost My Freezer?

If you don’t defrost your freezer, the ice buildup will keep taking up space, which will leave less room for food. It will also use more energy and work harder to maintain a proper temperature, which will up your electricity bill and shorten the lifespan of your fridge. 

The ice buildup can grow to an extent where you will no longer be able to close the freezer door. You will get annoyed that you can’t fit everything you want into it, and the cost of maintenance, repair or replacement won’t be to your liking either. Make sure to regularly defrost your freezer to extend its lifespan. Don’t forget you can also do a lot to prevent ice buildup in your freezer too. 

Does Defrosting a Freezer Make It Work Better?

Yes, defrosting a freezer does make it work better. The airflow will be improved and there will be  less ice in it, which means the compressor won’t have to work as hard to keep the right temperature. 

Here are all the benefits of regularly defrosting your freezer. 

1. No ice buildup: Since ice buildup can hinder the freezer’s proper operation, defrosting it helps prevent any malfunctions and reduces the chance of damage.

2. Improved airflow: Ice buildup restricts the flow of air in the freezer. Defrosting eliminates ice formations which allows air to circulate freely and facilitates cooling.

3. Energy efficiency: When there is ice buildup in the freezer, it must work harder to maintain the desired temperature. This happens because ice acts as an insulator and it obstructs the normal operation of the freezer. Defrost regularly to remove ice buildup and make your freezer more efficient and energy-saving.

4. Damage prevention: Ice buildup strains the mechanical components of a freezer, such as the compressor and fan. Defrosting minimises the risk of mechanical issues caused by excessive ice, which prolongs the lifespan of the freezer.

5. Odour elimination: Ice traps food particles and moisture, which leads to unpleasant odours in the freezer. Defrosting helps eliminate them and ensures your food is stored in a fresh and clean environment.

How Do I Know If I Need to Defrost My Freezer?

When there is a 5 millimetre layer of ice in the freezer, it’s time to defrost it. Ice that is blocking the freezer vents or door is also a sign defrosting is in order. If there is even more ice, you have missed a defrosting session already. 

You can also defrost your freezer before the ice gets that bad, and help your compressor maintain the desired temperature more easily. 

Does A Defrosted Freezer Use Less Electricity?

A defrosted freezer uses less electricity because there is no ice to act as an insulator and obstruct the normal operation of the freezer. If you allow ice to take over your freezer, it strains the appliance and makes it work harder than usual, which consumes more electricity since all the components must work at full capacity all the time.

If you are looking to be kinder to the environment and reduce your electricity expenditure, regularly defrosting your freezer is a simple way to do it. 

Wrapping Up 

Defrost your freezer at least once a year to ensure it continues to work at optimal capacity. It will provide more space for that one extra ice cream you couldn’t fit in there before, and help you reduce your energy bill. 


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