The latest tech reviews and inspiration from Currys

How to defrost a fridge freezer

Make your annual defrost n-ice and easy!


Article Main Image

If frost is building up in your freezer, it’s time to take action. Yes, that wall of ice means you’ll have less storage space (and the food you do have will be tough to get at) but too much frost means your fridge freezer won’t work as efficiently as it should.

Ever wondered what’s the best way to defrost a freezer? Follow our handy guide and we’ll show you the best way to defrost a fridge freezer. We’ve also got some clever hacks and the quickest way to defrost a freezer.

Ready? Let’s get started…

You will need

Kitchen towels

A sponge and a cloth

An ice-filled cooler - if you’ve got lots of frozen food you want to keep.

Bowl of hot water

A wooden or plastic ice scraper (optional)

Freezer defrost spray (optional)

How to defrost a fridge freezer combo

If time isn’t an issue, then the safest way to tackle the job is to just use hot water, a sponge and cloth. It’s also a method which requires no scraping, so there’s no chance of doing any damage to your fridge freezer.

1. Get your towels ready and place them at the bottom of the freezer to catch any melt water and to save you having to mop up after. A wide oven pan can also be useful for catching water too.

2. Turn off your fridge freezer at the mains.

3. Remove all the food and the drawers. If you have frozen food you want to keep, put it in another fridge - packed tightly together to help insulate it. If you have a separate compartment that you can keep extra cool, that’s a good option too. Otherwise, put everything into another freezer or an ice-filled cooler for now.

4. Now place a bowl of hot water at the bottom of the freezer with the door open. This will help speed up the defrosting process. Once the water is no longer steaming, replace it.

5. When the ice is melted you can wipe down the interior with a sponge. Then dry off with a cloth or kitchen towel.

6. Once done, turn your fridge freezer back on and replace your drawers.

Tip: Make sure that your drawers are replaced properly and that the close fully. If any drawer is sticking out, your freezer door won’t close tightly and it’s likely you’ll be defrosting again before too long.

How to defrost a fridge freezer without turning it off

Is it possible to defrost your fridge freezer without turning it off? Probably yes. Is it advisable? That’s a no. Remember that you never want to leave your freezer on while the door is open.

That beeping noise is there for a reason. Not only will you waste a lot of electricity, but you could also burn out the fridge freezer’s motor.

Tip: Check that your door seals are in good condition, so they don’t let in any warm air. You can check your seals are working by putting a bank note between the seal and the door. If it stays in place, your seals are fine. If not, then you should think about getting them repaired.

How long does it take to defrost a fridge freezer?

If the ice isn’t very thick, it might only take as little as 2 hours for it to melt away. If it’s glacier-like, you could be looking as much as 24 hours with the fridge freezer off and the doors open.

If it’s only light ice, we’ve got some suggestions that will help you get your defrost done fast.

Quickest way to defrost a freezer?

Simply follow the steps as before but you can use freezer defrost spray and a scraper to speed things up. Spray areas of icy build up and the spray will generally get to work within 5-10 minutes. Then gently scrape away any ice with a wooden spoon or spatula. There’s no need to forcefully break up any ice or you could damage your freezer.

You may choose to use a hair dryer to defrost a freezer, but it’s not something we’d recommend - since water and electricity don’t mix. Plus, blasting hot air into your freezer can damage any freezer elements.

How often should I defrost my fridge freezer?

Aim to defrost your freezer once a year. Or when ice build-up is thicker than a quarter of an inch or 6mm. This will keep it working efficiently – and more importantly will keep your food accessible at all times!

Defrosting don’ts

Don’t use salt to defrost your freezer. Yes, salt does help clear icy roads but it can also corrode your freezers elements, seals and linings.

Never try to be too forceful when clearing ice and especially don’t use metal tools. You’ll very likely do permanent damage to your fridge freezer.

If you’re planning to store your frozen food in the fridge, it’s best to avoid doing this with anything like frozen meat. A bit of defrosting is inevitable and you should never refreeze certain foods once defrosted – even if it’s just a little bit.

Tip: Thinking about a self-defrosting fridge freezer? Go one better with a frost-free model. Ice builds up in a freezer when warm air enters it and condenses into water before freezing into ice. Frost-free freezers quickly remove any warm air, saving you a lot of work defrosting it.

If frost-free fridge freezers seem like much less of a hassle, why not speak to one of our ShopLive in-store experts to help you pick your perfect chiller?

Related in Refrigeration news

Related Article Image
What causes fridge condensation and how to fix it
Related Article Image
Top fridge tech to keep food fresher
Related Article Image
Stay fresh with the LG Instaview Door-in-Door Smart Fridge Freezer
Related Article Image
How to make no-churn ice cream with just your fridge freezer
Related Article Image
Get fresh with these cool fridge freezer features

Frost free and easy!