There are several signs that your freezer needs defrosting, and they usually depend on the make of your fridge/freezer and the degree of frost. Typical signs to keep an eye (or ear) out for include:
- Loud fan noises, such as clunking, running loudly or sounding like there is something rubbing against the blades
- Freezer not freezing items, or connected fridge not keeping items cool
- Presence of thick frost coating on sides and rear of unit
How To Defrost
A tip is to do your defrosting on a day just before you do the big grocery shop to minimise what is in the fridge/freezer.
Turn off the freezer unit
Switch the unit off from the power outlet, unplug the cord and lay some towels down on the floor. When the ice melts, the water will run out from the fridge.
Remove all food from both the fridge and the freezer.
If you can, utilise some eskys or insulated shopping bags to keep your food cold. If you have frozen foods that need to be kept cold, ask a neighbour to store them for an hour or two. Remove any drawers and ice cube trays (this is a good time to give these a bit of a clean)
Remove Back Panels
If your freezer has visible outlets for screws that hold the back wall in place, gently remove the screws and take out the back panel.
Hurry Up and Wait
Now is the frustrating time when you wait for the ice build up to melt. And there is nothing like hanging around, waiting for ice to melt! DO NOT close the doors, this will just seal in the cold and extend the process. Try some of these tips to hurry things along:
- Fill a baking tray or ceramic bowl with hot, boiling water and place on the base of the freezer. The steam will help melt the ice. After about 5 minutes remove the tray or bowl and reheat then put it back in the freezer.
- Scrapper Method – think of this method as more assisting the ice to be removed than actually scraping your freezer walls. Use a rounded edge utensil, like a spoon or spatula to avoid piercing any part of your unit and causing a leak.
- There are some suggestions to use a fan or blow-dryer to assist in the airflow when defrosting, but this is not recommended as it involves having an electrical appliance around a potential water body.
Once you are sure you have defrosted all the ice, use old towels and/or rags to mop up the water. Using a mild detergent or a mixture of 3 tablespoons baking powder to one litre of water, wipe down all the walls and surfaces with a cleaning cloth. Simply wet, scrub, rinse and repeat. Don’t forget to clean the seals of your fridge and freezer as well; food can get trapped in these grooves and make the seals less effective, is really unhygienic and can prevent the doors from shutting properly.
Let It Cool
Make sure you have completely dried the freezer, or you’ll be re-freezing water into ice. Turn the unit back on and set to the desired temperature. Replace all the drawers and trays and leave for between 30-60 minutes before putting back your food items. Anything with freezer burn or not properly wrapped needs to be thrown away.