Tackle that growing beast of ice head-on with this 8-step plan of freezer salvation

Has your freezer become a no-go zone? If it’s bulging with ice and there’s a few UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects) lurking at the very back, it’s time to start anew with our guide to defrosting and cleaning your poor neglected freezer. 


The 8 stages of freezer salvation

First thing’s first, you’ll want to turn it off. Either turn the dial down to zero or, if it’s not attached to the fridge, just switch it off at the mains.

Now, this is going to be a messy business so stand by with more dishcloths than could ever imagine needing, even the novelty one your aunt gave you last Christmas that was stuffed to the back of the cupboard.

Also, wear shoes – there are few things worse in life than soggy socks. 

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Photo: bark / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: barkbud


1. Find a safe place for your freezer grub

If you haven’t met your neighbours yet, now’s your opportunity. Bring round a sweetener to break the ice (homemade cake’s always good) and ask nicely if you might be able to borrow some space in their freezer to keep your goodies cold while you get to work. Alternatively, you can fill up a large box with ice and store your stuff there.

2. Absorbents at the ready

Grab your towels, clothes, sheets and grubby old t-shirts and place on the floor in frontof the freezer to soak up all the melting ice – the more ice there is of course, the more water there will be.

3. Aaaand de-ice

Using a special freezer scraper or other blunt instrument (not a knife or cleaver, that’s neither big nor clever), remove as much of the ice as you can to make the job quickerand less messy.


4. Bored yet?

Watching ice melt is a little bit like watching paint dry, so speed up the whole process by boiling a kettle, filling a large pan with the hot water then shutting the door.

5. And repeat

Replace the boiled water every 10-15 minutes, loosening the defrosting ice with your scraper.


6. Keep it clean

How novel to be able to see the inside walls of the freezer! Who knew there was so much space? Give it a good scrub with a warm solution of mild detergent and then dry thoroughly toprevent more ice forming and undoing all your good work.


7. Shut that door

Don’t re-fill it just yet. Wait a while and let the freezer return to its original temperature (you should be aiming for -18C). Once ready, pack ‘em in. A well-stocked freezer is more energy efficient.


8. Give yourself a round of applause

Go on, it’s not every day you achieve a domestic task of such magnitude.

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Via Giphy



  • You can hurry the defrosting process along by using a warm hairdryer all over the ice and frost, avoiding the element coils and the sides of the unit. (Just make sure you stand away from any dripping water and keep the cord well clear of water and ice.)
  • You can heat a metal spatula and use this to loosen the ice (but don’t poke and prod at the ice if the spatula has a sharp edge).
  • You can use hot-water soaked towels to encourage the ice to defrost.
  • Tell your future self to defrost more regularly to avoid as much build up as this time.