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Can You Use a Hairdryer to Defrost a Freezer?

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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If your freezer is starting to look like it needs defrosting, but it’s full of food, and you’ve nowhere else to store it, you will probably be looking for a way to get the job done quickly. Some claim that using a hairdryer can cut the time it takes down to 10 minutes! But is it safe?

Is It Safe to Use a Hairdryer to Defrost a Freezer?

While using a hairdryer to defrost your freezer isn’t recommended, it can be done if you do it carefully. Remember you are using electrical equipment around water, and don’t let the hots parts of the hairdryer touch the freezer walls. You could also be invalidating any guarantee that came with your freezer.

Dangers of Using a Hairdryer to Defrost a Freezer

Using a hairdryer to defrost a freezer should instantly ring alarm bells in your head. There are a number of clear dangers in doing so.

Electricity and Water Don’t Mix!

We all know that water and electricity are a dangerous mix. Water itself isn’t the issue – it’s the impurities in the water, such as trace amounts of minerals and dust, which will conduct electricity.

This means that if water gets into the hairdryer and you are holding the appliance with a wet hand, electricity could pass through you on its way to the ground, giving you an electric shock.

To avoid this, take basic safety precautions, such as making sure the cable and plug are well away from the melting ice and ensuring water doesn’t drip onto the appliance. You should also make sure your hands are dry and that you are not standing in a puddle of water.

Hairdryer Defrosting Ice in a Freezer

If water does get into the hairdryer, it could become dangerous to use, so if this happens, unplug it and put it somewhere safe to dry, such as an airing cupboard.

Using the hairdryer while it is wet inside could not just damage it but could put you at risk of a potentially fatal electric shock.

Damage to the Freezer

Another potential risk is that you may damage the freezer.

Ensure the hot parts of the hairdryer, such as the front of the nozzle, don’t come into contact with the coils or the sides of the freezer, as this excessive heat may cause damage.

You also need to ensure you don’t direct the hot air from the hairdryer at one place for a prolonged period, as this build-up of heat could cause damage. If you damage the freezer in this way, you will invalidate the warranty on your freezer.

If you melt the plastic, it could look unsightly, but the damage could also mean the freezer works less efficiently. If you damage the coils of the freezer, it may make the freezer less effective or may stop the freezer from working at all.

Tips for Using a Hairdryer to Defrost a Freezer

If you decide to use a hairdryer to speed up the defrosting process, a lot of the steps you will need to take are the same as defrosting a freezer the traditional way.

Remove Food

As you will be getting the job done quickly, it shouldn’t matter too much how you store the food while you get it done. If there’s space in your fridge, you could pop it in there, or you could use cool boxes to help keep things frozen

However, if you use a hairdryer, you will likely get the job done in less than 20 minutes, which is less time than it takes many people to get frozen food home from the supermarket, so you could just put the food in boxes, as it’s unlikely to defrost unless it’s a very hot day.

Unplug the Freezer

The next step is to switch off your freezer and unplug it. Be careful where you put the plug, as you don’t want it to end up in a puddle. Many freezers have a socket to put the plug in during transit, but if yours doesn’t, you could simply tape the plug to the top of the freezer.

Make sure you’ve got plenty of towels on hand to soak up the melting ice. It’s a good idea to put one on the floor in front of the freezer and a couple inside it.


Now you can get to work with the hairdryer. Aim the warm air at a small section at a time, taking care not to let it overheat.

If it is only a thin layer of frost, this should come away quickly. If the ice is thick, you will probably find that this will come off in chunks, so use a plastic implement, such as a spatula or a car ice scraper, to encourage it to fall off.

It’s a good idea to start at the bottom and work your way up, as heat rises, so you are likely to find that by the time you get to the top, a lot of the ice has already started to melt.

Clean Up

When all the ice is melted, simply wipe away all the water, then close the freezer, plug it back in and switch it on.

While it will take a while to get back to its usual temperature, you can put your frozen food back into it straight away, and in fact, this will help it to cool down more quickly.

Safer Ways to Defrost a Freezer

The safest way to defrost a freezer is to simply switch it off and leave it with the door open, letting nature take its cause, but this can take from three to 24 hours.

If you’re looking for a way to get the defrosting job done more quickly but don’t want to risk the hairdryer method, a more well-known and popular method is to put bowls of boiling water on the shelves of the freezer so that the steam melts the ice.

Do you still have questions about using a hairdryer to defrost your freezer? Then see if these FAQs out:

How Quickly Can You Defrost a Freezer with a Hair Dryer?

This depends on how frosted up the freezer is. It could take as little as 10 minutes for a little build-up to defrost or over 30 minutes for larger chunk of ice to melt.

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