How to Defrost Your Freezer Quickly

Updated on March 10, 2018
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I love to share the experience I have gained over three quarters of a century, be it useful tips, love, jokes or technology.


How to Defrost Your Freezer in Double-Quick Time

Do you dread defrosting your freezer because it's messy and takes hours? I recently had a "freezer emergency" myself and had to transfer everything out of one freezer into another. I managed to complete the job in 20 minutes, including totally emptying out the offending fridge, thoroughly cleaning it from top to bottom, and replacing all the food. Not bad, eh?

I'm going to tell you how to defrost your freezer in less than half an hour from start to finish with the minimum amount of mess and upheaval. No defrosting chemicals needed, no puddles of water, no hanging around for two hours waiting for everything to melt, and no worrying about the food unfreezing.

Equipment Needed for Defrosting Your Freezer Quickly

  • A kettle
  • A baking tray
  • A large saucepan
  • A clean absorbent cloth
  • Cooler bags and/or a large dustbin bag
  • A wooden or plastic spatula or wooden spoon


Save time by lining all the items up in front of you.

Step-by-Step Guide to Defrost Your Freezer

Don't worry about things melting when you take them out of the freezer—using my method, they will stay frozen. With that said, you should still choose a cool day, or cooler part of the day, to avoid or inhibit meltdown of your food in the hot weather.

1. Boil Water

Fill the kettle, and switch it on to boil while you do step two. Later, you will use the boiling water to fill a baking tray and some pans, which you will place in the freezer once it is empty. The steam from the water will help your freezer defrost quickly.

Pile up the frozen food together to slow down melting.
Pile up the frozen food together to slow down melting. | Source

2. Empty Everything Out

  • Switch off your freezer or turn it to zero.
  • Pile all the contents into the dustbin bags because if there are a lot of frozen packets all next to each other, they will retain their frozen state much longer than if spread around the room. Don't shake off any ice from the packets at this stage as it helps to keep things frozen.
  • Pick up any loose bits and pieces of frozen vegetables that are useable, and put them all in with your frozen peas or rice.
  • While the freezer is completely empty, use the wooden spatula to gently scrape the sides, top and bottom of the freezer, but don't force anything that won't come away. Do not use anything metal for this job or anything sharp, like a knife, as you might pierce the delicate plastic walls, which could enable water to leak inside the works and cause harm to your appliance. (Regrettably, I speak from experience, which is why I had to buy a new fridge).
  • Remove all the loose ice immediately by chucking it into the baking tray using the spatula.
  • Mop up anything spare with the cloth. The reason for removing all ice and water immediately is to prevent the freezer from staying cold. It also helps you avoid big messy puddles.

Safety Note: Advice given is in my capacity as a domestic freezer user and not as an expert. I suggest you turn off the freezer before starting and be careful with hot water.

Do Not Use Anything Metallic or Sharp for This Job!

Freezers are very delicate, and the interior casing could easily get pierced.

Pans of hot water melt the ice quickly.
Pans of hot water melt the ice quickly. | Source

2. Defrost the Freezer With Boiling Water

  • Pour out the ice and water in your baking tray. Then, half-fill it with the boiling water and place this on the floor of the freezer. This will cover a large area and aid speedy melting.
  • Pour the rest of the water into the saucepan, and place it on the shelf. If you have lots of shelves, put one saucepan of boiling water on each shelf.
  • Close the fridge door but not all the way—leave a little crack.
  • After five minutes, open the door. The whole interior will be covered in steam (very satisfactory), and most of the ice will be loose or freed from the sides and the floor.
  • Use the scraper and cloth (and your fingertips) to pry the rest of the ice away and remove it. You may find it all comes away, but if not, just refill the baking tray with boiling water, and put it on the freezer floor again for a few minutes.
  • Everything should then be partially melted, and you can wipe over the interior and clean up completely with the cloth. If it is a bit dirty, you can use bicarbonate of soda to wipe it clean, but personally, I don't bother.

3. Put Everything Back in Place

  • Switch the freezer back on to its normal setting, and use the rapid freeze programme, if it has one.
  • Shake and wipe off any surplus ice on the food packets and return them to the freezer.

4. Make a List of the Contents When Reloading Your Freezer

If you are one of those people who buy food on sale even if you don't need it at the time, you may sometimes find it difficult to remember precisely what you have in the freezer. This often happens in my household, and I have discovered that keeping a list of the freezer contents on the side of the freezer is very helpful.

So, as you reload the food into the freezer, make a list of what you have, and then pin it up there with a fridge magnet with a pen nearby so that you can cross things off as you remove them.

In order to find things more easily when you need them, you might divide the list into sections, such as "Prepared/Cooked Meals," "Fish & Meat," "Vegetables," and "Sweets." You could use your own headings, depending on how you want to categorize them. This is also quite helpful when you want some ideas about what to eat because you can see at a glance whether you have the appropriate ingredients.

A list of freezer contents
A list of freezer contents | Source

A Twenty-Minute Defrost Job Done!

If defrosting is something you have been meaning to do but have never got around to actually doing, it's easy to perform.

I have a lovely Bosch fridge freezer, which I defrost about once a year, whether it needs it or not. It usually does need it because by the end of the year, anything flat, like frozen-smoked salmon, gets completely buried in ice.

There is, of course, a reason why I don't unfreeze frequently: I always intend to use up or, at least, run down everything in the freezer first. However, this never happens.

How Does a Refrigerator Work?

What Sort of Housekeeper Are You? Saint or Slut? Take the Poll Below!

Do frost, dust, laundry and pet hairs pile up in your home, or do you get them under control before they get out of hand?

I am an occasional housekeeper, so I am somewhere in between. Someone once broke my fridge by not defrosting it while they were using my house for three months in my absence. Since then, I have kept an eye on the ice and not allowed it to burst forth from doors or seep down the back of the fridge. What about you?

So how do you rate yourself in the housekeeping stakes?

See results

Questions & Answers


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      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

        Isn't it nice when you try out a handy hint which actually works!

      • C L Mitchell profile image

        C L Mitchell 3 years ago

        Thank you, just followed your instructions today with great success. I haven't had this problem for years but recently moved into a new apartment with a freezer that seems to love to frost up. I wasn't looking forward to having to thaw it out, but with your method it really was very easy, so won't leave it so long next time!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

        Great idea

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

        Yes, it's easy to get carried away with enthusiasm and forget you're holding a dangerous sharp implement!

      • Lady Guinevere profile image

        Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

        I have had to do this a few times in my life. Now I have a frost free refrigerator/freezer.

      • gottaloveit2 profile image

        gottaloveit2 3 years ago

        Sadly, I know all about piercing a delicate side of a freezer with a knife. I was in a hurry and, well, the inevitable happened. Will use your method next time.

      • Joyfulcrown profile image

        Joyfulcrown 3 years ago

        What a great suggestion. I appreciate the tips.

      • Wednesday-Elf profile image

        Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

        I don't have a freezer, and my refrigerator is of the frost-free variety, but I have had to defrost an old(er) fridge in the past and wish I'd had this quick & handy reference back then! Very good advice.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @SteveKaye: I don't do housework on hot summer's days - they're as rare as purple marigolds in England!

      • profile image

        SteveKaye 4 years ago

        Great info. I wondered if you were going to defrost your refrigerator by taking it outside on a hot summer day.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @ecogranny: It sounds good,I should do that really

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @Brite-Ideas: You're lucky!

      • ecogranny profile image

        Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

        I'm still working on accomplishing this, but the best time-saving tip for me is to have a home for absolutely every item in the house--a home that is logical in terms of where we use the item and is also easy to access. If it is quick and easy to get something down and put it away, we do so. If it takes an extra step, is difficult to get to, or we haven't a good place for it yet, it becomes clutter. This concept is definitely a work in progress at our house.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @marsha32: That's why it's good to have a complete clear-out - so you can find those anonymous packages stuffed at the back, and use them up, concocting a meal around them

      • esmonaco profile image

        Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

        Great time saving ideas Thanks for sharing your knowledge:)

      • profile image

        marsha32 4 years ago

        anymore we don't get to shop enough to put things into the deep freeze. Doesn't mean there aren't things in the hamburger buns that have been in there for over 3 years! The last time I was in it I noticed how much ice is gathering on the sides.

      • Brite-Ideas profile image

        Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

        helpful page! am so glad we haven't had to do this for years!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @lovedislife: Don't forget to put your knowledge into action!

      • lovedislife profile image

        Rema T V 4 years ago

        Hi Diana,

        Great lens, very useful especially for people like me who find defrosting the freezer a cumbersome chore. Thanks for sharing this information. So simple and time-saving! Cheers :)


      • profile image

        TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

        How thoroughly handy and convenient.

      • Zeross4 profile image

        Renee Dixon 4 years ago from Kentucky

        I hate defrosting freezers, great tips!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @mel-kav: Yes, it will save a lot of mess

      • mel-kav profile image

        mel-kav 4 years ago

        I am a school nurse - I will have to remember this for the next time I defrost the freezer in my health office. Thanks for sharing.

      • Virginia Allain profile image

        Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

        I am lucky to have a cleaning lady but she doesn't defrost freezers. Thanks for these tips.

      • RhondaAlbom profile image

        Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

        I never thought about making all that steam to quickly defrost the freezer. Great suggestions.

      • Fufurinha47 profile image

        Beatriz 4 years ago from Portugal

        Loved your lens :D

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @Charlieee LM: Good old Mum!

      • Charlieee LM profile image

        Charlieee LM 4 years ago

        Excellent lens, I will definitely show my mother this! Thanks :)

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @gannoncannon: Filfy Beast!

      • profile image

        gannoncannon 4 years ago

        saint or slut LOL! i always have liked sluts better than saints ;)

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @PaigSr: Yes, like to keep an additional freezer in my utility shed

      • PaigSr profile image

        PaigSr 4 years ago from State of Confussion

        The parents had a freezer for over 40 years. It was only in the last couple that it started to get more ice then food. Luckily they kept it in the attached garage and cleaning out the excess ice was not as messy as if it were in the house.

      • katiecolette profile image

        katiecolette 4 years ago

        Thank you for the great tips!

      • blue22d profile image

        blue22d 4 years ago

        Had fun here and learned a few things -- thanks!

      • profile image

        anitabreeze 4 years ago

        Well, this is a job I have been putting off. Maybe (and I say MAYBE) I'll do it this weekend!

      • aviwolfson profile image

        Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

        Well written, very clever trick and also very useful!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @LaptopLeader: Use your saved time wisely - to create more web pages, or loll about in the garden

      • LaptopLeader profile image

        LaptopLeader 4 years ago

        Thanks for the quick tricks. :) Will come in handy!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        @BLouw: I should be doing other things too!

      • BLouw profile image

        Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

        Don't talk to me about housework and defrosting freezers! I run a B&B and here I am reading your nice article and NOT defrosting my freezer, nor ironing my sheets nor preparing my rooms. Get behind me ....

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @anonymous: I ought to do it more often!

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I like time saving and a quick fix to defrosting an icy freezer is a job we all avoid....but now we can get the job quickly and still have frozen food....I am grateful for frost free!

      • profile image

        ConvenientCalendar 5 years ago

        Good information!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @linsm76: good idea

      • profile image

        linsm76 5 years ago

        Tip for easier and faster defrost: Thank goodness I don't have to defrost anymore. But if you do. When you defrost the next time, after you wipe freezer down and dry it, take a small amount of cooking oil and wipe the top, sides and bottom of freezer. Then, the next time you do to defrost, when that ice begins to loosen up, tap it an it will drop off in chunks or just simply drop off. Cuts the defrost time in half.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @gottaloveit2: Oh dear! But thanks for the info as one reader commented that she always does it with a hair dryer. Clearly that's a no-no.

      • gottaloveit2 profile image

        gottaloveit2 5 years ago

        Wish I'd read this before I melted the side of my freezer with a hair dryer....

      • dingbat1932 profile image

        dingbat1932 5 years ago

        Nice tips thank you.

      • askformore lm profile image

        askformore lm 5 years ago

        Thank you for the very practical info.

      • profile image

        Alex-45 5 years ago

        Thank for so much for sharing. My small freezer badly needs de-frosting and I wondered how to do it without a minor flood - and now I know!

      • WriterJanis2 profile image

        WriterJanis2 5 years ago

        Wonderful tips. Thank you.

      • mrdata profile image

        mrdata 5 years ago

        Very useful lens! Thanks a lot and happy holidays!

      • profile image

        Cloud007 5 years ago

        nice idea's sound's very unlikely but it's a good option during christmas

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @ComfortsOfHome: I need to do it myself before Christmas!

      • ComfortsOfHome profile image

        ComfortsOfHome 5 years ago

        Oh dear, there's a reminder... my fridge defrosts itself, but my freezer really needs to be done very soon. Oh, I just dread that chore! Your tips should help. :)

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Wow, this is really useful lens. thank you for sharing.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @eightieschild: That's how I felt

      • eightieschild profile image

        eightieschild 5 years ago

        Fantastic tip. Seems obvious in hindsight, but never thought of it myself.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @OhMe: Now you can spend more time writing!

      • OhMe profile image

        Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

        Thank you for sharing these Time-Saving Housework Tips especially on How To Defrost Your Freezer Quickly

      • profile image

        PhotosVac 5 years ago

        Great lens, thanks a lot for sharing!

      • Lady Lorelei profile image

        Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

        I'm still trying to figure out how you managed to get a picture of the inside of my freezer? sure brought back some memories of years past. I love the new frost free appliances.

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        @MomwithAHook LM: That's a good one to try - thanks!

      • MomwithAHook LM profile image

        Sara Duggan 5 years ago from California

        To clean a microwave we just head a cup of water 2 - 3 minutes and let it set for 10 minutes. The goo comes right off.

      • Cyberwing profile image

        Cyberwing 5 years ago

        Nice tips. Thanks

      • Millionairemomma profile image

        Millionairemomma 5 years ago

        What a great suggestion. I'm going to do it.

      • profile image

        moverstampa 5 years ago

        I learned the hard way not to use a

      • Margaret Schindel profile image

        Margaret Schindel 5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Very nice tips for defrosting the freezer quickly!

      • profile image

        bossypants 5 years ago

        I am due to defrost our freezer and it will be my first time with this large one. Your lens is very helpful and encouraging!

      • RetroMom profile image

        RetroMom 5 years ago

        Thanks for sharing useful tips on doing housework.

      • Wbisbill LM profile image

        Barbara Isbill 6 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

        Wonderful idea which I have never tried. Thanks!

      • norma-holt profile image

        norma-holt 6 years ago

        Wonderful ideas here for those who have this problem. My fridge is over 30 years old and is a double sided ice maker and never needs defrosting. When buying appliances I get the best and aim for the least amount of work in maintenance. Good tools make the job easier. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Cooking Utensils, Ideas, Recipes and Accessories. Hugs

      • KimGiancaterino profile image

        KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

        Our freezers don't get too bad, but the one in the RV often freezes over. Your tips will surely come in handy!

      • jadehorseshoe profile image

        jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

        PERFECT Lens.

      • vendexo profile image

        vendexo 6 years ago

        Super tips, and a good mix of informative, sensible and dumb videos :)

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 years ago

        Very useful! I will definitely share this amazing lens with my friends. Two thumbs up! Squid-liked it.

      • profile image

        Runnn 6 years ago

        I plan to clean my freezer next week. Thanks for the tips.

      • LakeMom profile image

        LakeMom 7 years ago

        Great tips! Just got my first chest freezer this year! Was not looking forward to defrosting but you make it sound easy!

      • oztoo lm profile image

        oztoo lm 7 years ago

        Useful tips. I defrost mine just before the door gets to hard to close from the ice build up.

      • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

        Nathalie Roy 7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

        Thank you for the tips, I usually try to do my freezer before the ice gets too thick, but lately I have been a little lazy.


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