how to clean freezer & remove bad smells in freezer
Kitchen cleaning

How to defrost a freezer, fast!

Defrosting a freezer may take a little effort, but it doesn’t have to take too much time. Find out how to defrost a freezer quickly here.

Defrosting a freezer doesn’t have to be a laborious process – with a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be packing your food back in there in no time. Follow our tips and learn how to defrost a freezer, fast.

Before you start defrosting a freezer:

  • Check the manual for dos and don’ts. Some appliances also have defrosting settings and all kinds of other handy features to help you out.
  • Find a place to store the food in your freezer while you work. Remember, some foods cannot be refrozen after they’ve defrosted so you’ll need to cook them or keep them frozen to avoid waste.

How to Defrost the Freezer Quickly

Step 1: Turn off your freezer. Unplug it, and leave the doors open to get some warm air circulating in the cabinet. 

Step 2: Remove all the contents. While there are some foods you should avoid re-freezing at all costs, most of the food in your freezer should be fine. Keep it all together in a cooler in the coldest area of your home – usually a basement or dark cupboard – and wrap items up in towels for extra insulation. 

If you’re able to take out the shelves, do so – pop them in a bowl of warm water with a good quality dishwashing liquid, like Persil. 

Step 3: Arrange towels, and check for a drainage hose. For obvious reasons, melting all of the ice in your freezer can make a mess. Pad the floor around the base of the freezer with towels and newspapers, and place more in the bottom of the cabinet. Keep a few dry towels nearby in case these become fully soaked. If you have a drainage hose, make sure it’s actually draining into something, like a tray or a bucket.
Step 4: Melt the ice in the freezer. If you like, you can just sit back, pick up a good book, and wait it out, wringing out towels here and there. But if you’re in a hurry and want to know how to quickly defrost a freezer, there are plenty of tricks you can use:

  • Hot water method. Not the fastest method for defrosting a freezer, but the one that involves the least effort. Place a basin of boiled water in the cabinet, and shut the door. The hot steam will help the melting process along, and all you have to do it mop up here and there.
  • Hairdryer method. If you read any online guide on how to defrost a freezer quickly, the hairdryer method will appear. The idea is to use the hairdryer to blow hot air down the sides of the freezer, holding it parallel to the walls. This helps large ice chunks to detach from the wall, with a little help. This isn’t really advisable from a safety perspective, unless you can keep the hairdryer, cord, and plug well away from the water.
  • Vacuum method. Some vacuum cleaners have the option to detach the hose attachment at the base and re-attach it to the exhaust, allowing the machine to blow out hot air. For the same reasons as the hairdryer method for defrosting a freezer, this isn’t necessarily safe. Again, keeping the machine, cord, plug, and attachments well away from water is vital.
  • Scraping method. Best done with a soft plastic spatula in conjunction with one of the other methods – and never to be done with a knife. Use the spatula to gently prise chunks of ice away from the wall. Do not stab directly into the back of your machine, as you could go right through the plastic and break your freezer.
  • Hot cloth method. Soak a cloth in very hot water, and use it the gently swab the ice away. As a very hot cloth could burn your skin (or at least be uncomfortable to use), take measures to protect yourself. Thick gloves, tongs, or wrapping a dry towel around your hands can all help.
  • Alcohol method. Perfect for anyone to needs to know how to defrost the freezer quickly, but only has a thin layer of frost to deal with. Soak a cloth in rubbing alcohol, and rub down the walls. Bear in mind that this isn’t going to work very well for thick ice chunks.

Overall, it’s best to use a mixture of one or two of these methods to defrost the freezer quickly.

Step 5: Clean the freezer. Once the ice is gone and the wet towels cleared away, it’s time to clean the cabinet. Use a high quality antibacterial kitchen spray like Cif to clean down the entire freezer. Wash up any shelves you removed, and put them back in.

Step 6: Replace the food, and turn the freezer on. This is a good time to clear out any unwanted (or unusable) freezer items, and to recycle the packaging.

Defrosting a freezer may take a little work, but it helps keep your machine working well for longer, so it’s worth doing. And with the help of our tips above, it shouldn’t take too long!

Cleanipedia recommends


Once your freezer is defrosted, it’s the perfect time to give it a full, deep clean. A good antibacterial product (we like Cif antibacterial spray) can help get rid of any germs. Whatever product you use, check the label before using for the best application method.

Safety Warning


Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.