HomeKitchenHow To Prevent Ice Build-up in Your Fridge

How To Prevent Ice Build-up in Your Fridge

Having a lot of frost and ice buildup in your fridge not only makes it resemble something out of Ice Age, it also has negative effects on the appliance itself..

Ice buildup in the fridge obstructs airflow and decreases fridge efficiency, shortens its lifespan by making it work harder on maintaining the right temperature, and increases the risk of bacteria growth, which poses a serious health risk.

Frost and ice buildup may be caused by excess moisture, a faulty fridge door seal and air leaks, or overworked cooling systems.

Here’s what you can do to prevent it: 

How To Prevent Ice Buildup in Your Fridge

It is always better to prevent getting ice buildup in your fridge than having to defrost it. Here are some tips to implement:

Choose the right temperature for the fridge and freezer. Setting the temperature too low leads to frozen food, while setting it too high leads to bacterial growth. The best temperature for a fridge is usually somewhere in the middle.  

Get rid of ice crystals as soon as they form. The best way to prevent ice buildup is to use a warm wet cloth and wipe the ice crystals away when you see them form.

Limit how often you open the doors. If you open the fridge doors too many times, warm air and moisture will enter the fridge and cause frost to form over time. 

Make sure the doors seal properly. Fridge doors that don’t seal properly cause warm air to enter the fridge, which will again make it work overtime and lead to ice buildup. 

Clean the seals regularly. Dirt on the seals can cause them to harden, lose their flexibility, and be more susceptible to splitting.

Unclog the defrost drain. Make sure that the defrost drain can pass water without any issue, so that the fridge defrost function works as it should.

Don’t block the vents inside the fridge. Blocking the vents obstructs airflow and causes food to freeze, while creating ice buildup in the fridge itself.

●     Don’t put hot or warm food in the fridge. Placing warm or hot food into the fridge can change the temperature inside and lead to ice buildup.

Keep the fridge and freezer stocked, but not overflowing. An overstocked fridge and freezer have a disrupted airflow, which can lead to frost and ice forming.

Regularly clean the condenser coils in the back. Vacuum the dust that accumulates on the condenser coils at least once every six months to keep your fridge working at its best.

Why Does Ice Keep Building Up in My Fridge?

Ice can build up in your fridge for several reasons:

Wrong Temperature Setting

Check your refrigerator’s temperature setting to make sure it is not set to an incorrect setting. The setting depends on how stocked the fridge is, how often you open it, and the type of climate you live in. If you’ve accidentally set it too high, ice can start to build up. 

Personally, I have the tendency to accidentally switch my fridge to the wrong temperature when placing food on the top shelf. If this is you too, randomly check that you’ve not done it again. 

Opening The Door Too Often

Avoid opening the door too frequently or keeping it open for too long. Since frost builds up primarily when warm air enters the fridge, opening the door too many times causes a lot of warm air to enter the fridge. Avoid that by opening the door only when you need to, and don’t leave the door open for very long.

An Issue With Door Seals

Make sure there are no gaps, cracks, or tears in the door seals. The fridge needs proper isolation to maintain a certain temperature. If you find any gaps in the door seal, adjust it by gently pulling away from the door using your fingers. If there are openings that persist, you may need to replace the seal.

How Do I Get Rid of Ice Buildup in My Freezer Without Defrosting It?

It is possible to remove ice buildup from your freezer without defrosting it. However, note that keeping the appliance on while cleaning it will consume more energy and it will be more difficult to remove the ice.

Follow the steps below to remove ice buildup from your freezer without defrosting it: 

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Ensure that you have all your supplies ready. Get some coolers or insulated grocery bags and ice packs to keep your food cold while it is out of the freezer. Prepare a pitcher of hot water, some towels, cleaning cloths, some detergent and disinfectant.

Transfer Goods into the Cooler

Open the freezer and transfer the items into the cooler or grocery bags. Clean any sticky items by wiping them with a cloth dipped in hot water. When you place the items into the cooler or grocery bag, make sure to put some ice packs in with them to keep them frozen while you’re cleaning the freezer.

Use Hot Water to Melt Wall Ice

After you empty the freezer, it is time to remove the ice using hot water. Place a folded or rolled up towel along the base of the freezer floor to collect the water and melted ice. Using a cup, pour hot water over the iced areas until they melt. Make sure to wring out the towel when it is soaked or replace it with a dry one until you melt all the ice.

Scrub Away Sticky Puddles

If there are any sticky puddles left after the ice has melted, make sure to soak them up with hot water and wipe them away. The puddles are often a result of drips and can be difficult to clean. You can use a towel to soak them up and then wipe them after they melt.

Clean the Walls

Using a surface cleaner and disinfectant, clean the freezer walls to make them food-ready again. Spray down the interior and let it sit for about 30 seconds. After the freezer is sanitised, use a clean cloth to wipe it and get it clean and dry.

Reload the Freezer

After you finish cleaning the freezer, put the food back in. Use the opportunity to organise your item better, and take note of anything you may need to buy. 

Is It Normal for A Freezer to Build Up Ice?

It is normal for a freezer to have some ice buildup because the moisture in the air condenses and freezes on the freezer walls, shelves, and food items. The phenomenon is referred to as frosting.

However, excessive ice buildup with thick layers of ice covering the inside of the freezer is not considered normal, and it could indicate an issue with the freezer and require defrosting.

If you notice that a significant amount of ice has accumulated in your freezer, address the issue and remove the ice buildup. Regularly defrost the freezer and fridge according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent ice buildup in the future and ensure proper functioning of the appliance.

Can Ice Buildup Damage the Fridge?

Ice buildup can damage your fridge if left unattended for too long. The reasons why ice buildup is harmful are:

Blocked vents and obstructed airflow. Ice buildup can block the air vents, thus restricting the airflow in the fridge and freezer. This leads to temperature imbalances in the fridge, with some areas being too cold, and others too warm. Additionally, this puts a strain on the fridge compressor because it needs to work harder to maintain the set temperature, which also increases energy consumption.

Obstructed defrosting mechanism. Many refrigerators have an automatic defrosting mechanism which prevents ice buildup. However, a thick layer of ice can hinder the defrosting system’s effectiveness, which results in prolonged defrosting cycles or defrost failures. Consequently, the cooling components can suffer damage due to the system malfunction.

Damaged seals and gaskets. Ice buildup can put pressure on the door seals and gaskets, making them deteriorate or deform over time. When the door seals are damaged, warm air enters the fridge and cold air escapes. Apart from making the fridge inefficient in cooling food, it also allows bacterial growth on the food and results in food spoilage.

Prevent these issues and keep your appliance efficient by regularly defrosting your fridge and removing any excessive ice buildup. Make sure that the airflow is not obstructed and that the door seals and gaskets are functioning properly.

Wrapping Up 

Ice buildup can not only reduce your fridge and freezer capacity, it’s also harmful for the appliance itself. Make sure to prevent it by adhering to my helpful tips, and prolong the life of your fridge


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