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How to Clean a Freezer

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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If you are planning to defrost your freezer, you may want to know if you should clean it while it’s empty, and if so, how? Or maybe you’re wondering if cleaning the freezer should become part of your regular cleaning routine.

How Do You Clean a Freezer?

If you clean your freezer weekly, you only need to clean up any spills and wipe down the surfaces. For a deeper clean, it’s a good idea to empty the freezer, defrost it, take out and clean any removable components and give the whole unit a thorough clean.

Can You Clean a Freezer Without Turning It off?

For a weekly light clean, you can clean your freezer without turning it off. Once a week, it’s a good idea to check through your freezer, see if there are any spills that need clearing up and check if everything is still securely packaged.

This is also a good opportunity to take stock of what you’ve got and see if there’s anything that needs to be used soon or needs getting rid of.

Once you’ve done this, wipe everything down with a mild cleaning product, such as an antibacterial spray or warm water with a little washing-up liquid.

If your freezer isn’t too full you can simply move the food elsewhere in the freezer while you clean or empty a shelf at a time into a box on the floor while you give the shelf a quick wipe.

Pay particular attention to the door seal, as cleaning this regularly can help keep it functioning effectively. Take this opportunity to check the door seal for any damage.

How Do You Clean Spills in a Freezer?

If there has been a liquid spill in your freezer, it will probably have frozen solid, so you may need to defrost the freezer to shift it. Alternatively, you could apply a warm cloth to help melt and loosen the spillage.

A solution of one part white vinegar to one part water is good for cleaning the freezer. For spillages, you could use the same solution but leave it to soak for a few minutes before wiping it away.

A toothbrush or a scratch-free scouring pad can be useful for shifting stubborn stains. Do not use abrasive scourers or steel wool as this could damage your appliance.

Clean Freezer Spills

How Do I Prepare My Freezer for Cleaning?

Aim to use up the food in your freezer in the run-up to cleaning day, then you won’t have to worry about storing the food while you get to work.

If this isn’t possible, it might be worth asking a friend or neighbour if they have room in their freezer for a few items.

Otherwise, you will need to place your frozen food in a cool box, but bear in mind this won’t keep food frozen, it will only slow down the rate at which it thaws, so you will need to work quickly.

Once the freezer is empty, switch it off and unplug it, making sure the plug is up off the floor. Make sure you have towels ready on the floor and inside the freezer to absorb the melting ice.

You can leave the freezer with the door open to allow it to defrost, or you can speed up the process by placing some bowls of boiling water on the shelves so that the steam helps loosen the ice.

Once all the ice has gone and you’ve wiped away any water, it’s time to clean. Start by taking out any removable parts, like drawers and shelves. These can be cleaned in a sink full of warm soapy water and then left to dry while you carry on cleaning.

Can You Clean a Freezer with Bicarbonate of Soda?

Yes, bicarbonate of soda is a great choice for cleaning your freezer. You can make a cleaning solution by dissolving two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in a litre of hot water.

Another option is to mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water. You could also use hot water with a few drops of washing-up liquid.

Use this solution and a dishcloth or sponge to wipe down the inside of the freezer, including the door and pay close attention to the seal.

If there have been any spillages, particularly fluids leaking from raw meat, it’s a good idea to then wipe down the area with an antibacterial spray, to get rid of any lingering bacteria.

Dry the inside of the freezer thoroughly, replace any drawers or shelves, then plug the unit back in and switch it on. When the freezer gets backs down to temperature, it’s ready for you to put the food back in it.

Can You Clean a Freezer with Bleach?

It shouldn’t be necessary to use bleach to clean your freezer, and many appliance manufacturers recommend against it.

It has a strong odour which can taint your food, and if you do use it you will need to rinse the surfaces afterwards.

If you do decide to use bleach, you will need to use a very dilute solution. Clean the unit as described above first, then mix one tablespoon of bleach in 4.5 litres of water.

What About the Outside of the Freezer?

It’s a good idea to clean the outside of your freezer regularly, wiping down the top, front and sides, and hoovering or dusting the coils on the back.

These coils are essential for the functioning of your freezer and if these get clogged up with dust it can make your freezer run less efficiently.

Clean Outside of a Freezer

Do you have further questions about cleaning your freezer? Then these may help:

How Often Should You Deep Clean a Freezer?

It’s a good idea to deep clean your freezer twice a year and to do this you will need to empty and defrost your freezer. It’s also recommended that you defrost your freezer every six months, so it’s a good idea to get both jobs done simultaneously.

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