Having an extra freezer has many benefits. It’s a place to store the extra roast you bought on sale, the bags of frozen strawberries ready for your next smoothie, and maybe even chopped, fresh tomatoes from last year’s vegetable garden. My freezer stored it all.

My freezer is probably 15-20 years old and with its multitude of benefits comes a glitch. Every so often it must be, no don’t say it, defrosted.

I always thought defrosting was a huge overwhelming task to be postponed as long as humanly possible. Which I’ve done. Having thoroughly just defrosted it, I have to say the defrosting process is a cinch!

Defrosting made easy

I the cool factor

Pick a cool day. During the defrost, your food will be out of the freezer for a few hours. For it not to spoil, think of how to keep your food cold. Coolers, freezer packs, and a colder house temperature helps.

End of winter – beginning of spring is a good time for a freezer refresh.

My frozen food stays cold in coolers while I defrost the freezer.

II be safe… unplug

Unplug your freezer and open the freezer door.

III gather your supplies

Get your supplies while your freezer is unplugged and the freezer door is open.

  • coolers and freezer packs
  • vessels of any kind (I used pots) to catch most of the melting
  • hairdryer and extension cord
  • kitchen gloves, rags, baking soda, and a pail
  • garbage bag and a compost bag

IV be critical

Remove food from the freezer one item at a time. Take a critical look at the food item. Check the dates on the package and the content. This is the point to ask the tough questions and make realistic decisions, “Is this a ‘keeper’ or a ‘discard'”?

‘Keeper’ food items go into the cooler to stay cold and ‘discard’ items go into the garbage/compost bag. If you have more than one cooler to work with, you might want to sort the food at this stage. Perhaps you might decide to put your meats into one cooler while fruits/vegetables into another.

If you want a noticeably nicer freezer at the end of the project, you must be decisive at this stage.

V the melt

Once the freezer is emptied it is time to speed up the defrosting process. Place all the vessels on the shelves to catch as much of the dripping as possible. Forgetting this step will leave you puddles on the bottom of the freezer for you to constantly sop up with your rag. It’s much easier emptying the bowls of water into the pail if necessary.

Rectangular containers would have caught more, but I didn’t have any.

To speed up the melt, I used a blow-dryer at the high heat temperature. Use caution whenever you have electronic devices and water. I simply direct the hot air at the biggest chunks of ice while keeping the blow-dryer itself out of the freezer. I would never put the dryer in the freezer, since dripping occurs from everywhere including from up above.

VI the wipe

Once the ice has melted, empty the water from the bowls into your pail. Then I discard the water and ice into the toilet.

Wipe all surfaces with fresh, clean water. I also use baking powder to give the freezer a fresh scent. I wipe down with paper towel just to dry everything off.

VII the reward

Once everything is clean and dry it’s time to plug in your freezer and then put your ‘keeper’ food back in. To use your freezer’s shelf space efficiently, once again sort and categorize your food.

Done for another year

Defrosting your freezer can be a surprisingly gratifying chore!

The end result is not only a better functioning freezer, but you end up with a greater awareness of its content.