Why is defrosting important?
Defrosting your freezer is important for a variety of reasons. When frost builds up in your freezer it takes up valuable space that could be used to store your food. This can sometimes even cause problems in the door-mechanism, and prevent you from shutting your freezer door properly, therefore affecting the cooling.
In addition, built up ice and frost in a freezer (even though it’s cold) can act as an insulator, trapping warm air. This means that your freezer works over-time to maintain the same cool temperature. In some cases, up to 50% more energy is required to maintain the temperature. This is not only energy inefficient, but can have a big impact on your electricity bill.
How does frost build up?
Frost and ice build up is quite common. It can happen if the freezer door isn’t closed properly, or left open for extended periods of time. Frosting can also occur if your freezer seal is defective or old. If frost and ice continue to build up in spite of good maintenance, it might be time to replace the freezer seal or buy a new freezer/refrigerator.
How often should you defrost?
You should defrost your freezer at least once a year.
How to defrost your freezer safely and quickly
- Empty your freezer
Your freezer should be completely empty before you switch it off, so that none of your stored food spoils. Make sure you either eat whatever is in your freezer or store it in a different freezer (e.g. neighbor or friend). If it’s winter, your food will also be fine if you leave it on the balcony or terrace. Cooling boxes are also a great short-term solution to store and keep products cool.
You’ll need to see if your freezer and fridge compartments can be managed separately. If not, then you’ll need to empty your fridge too.
- Switch Freezer off
Turning off your freezer is essential to defrost, otherwise the ice won’t melt. Make sure you’ve either hit the ‘off’ switch or unplugged it entirely.
Make sure to put towels, newspapers or other containers to collect and mop up the water from the freezer as the ice melts.
Once you switch off the freezer, it is advised to just let it be and let the ice melt by itself. Simply leave the freezer off and with the freezer door open. Methods to accelerate the melting e.g. using a hair dryer or using force to break the ice can be dangerous or cause damage to your freezer. Remember, electricity and water do NOT mix well. However, if there are very large ice blocks, you can place a pot of boiling water into the freezer. The hot steam will expedite the melting process.
Freezers tend to stay cleaner than regular fridges. This is because frozen goods are less likely to spill/burst and stain. It is also harder for bacteria to form and survive at such cold temperatures. Nevertheless, a wipe down of potential food remnants is never a bad idea. For this you don’t need any intense or special cleaning supplies, a regular cleaning liquid suffices. Even home-made recipes like lemon juice and warm water will do the job! Pro tip: spread a little bit of oil (olive, sunflower, your choice) on the inside of your freezer. Many people swear that this helps delay the formation of new ice.
Plug In/Switch Back On
Once you’ve defrosted and cleaned your fridge, plug it in or switch it back on. Depending on the model, it can take a few hours for the freezer to reach its set temperature again. Once it's cooled down, refill it with your frozen products or time to place a new Every. order!