This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Looking to defrost a freezer? Within the last 5 months of the year, our home lost electricity for 2-3 days twice. Once was due to strong wings and rain from a hurricane that passed through and the other time was due to a large snow fall (11+ inches!). We did not have any lasting effects from the electricity losses, except for our upright freezer that resides in our basement. We lost some food, and the bit of ice build up that we already had on the shelves did nothing but get worse. The complete lack of usability of the top shelf was embarrassing!
If the top shelf looks like this, it is definitely time to defrost!
I’ve put off cleaning and re-stocking the freezer in fears that the winter would leave us with another power outage. We often get our worst snows at the end of February into early March. Now March is here, and we have no bad storms in the forecast, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and defrost, clean, and work on restocking the freezer.
Our upright freezer has been a lifesaver in the past. I have not given it enough credit over the years, and its dark space in the basement does not do it justice. It has seen us through the birth of our triplets and our son’s illness, both times when we relied on freezer meals. Between pre-planning and gifts from friends and family, there have been times that our freezer was stocked! With a busy season of life, I’m excited to get our freezer back to that point. Defrosting a freezer can be overwhelming. After all, it is not a fast process. But it is something that should be added to any upright freezer owner’s deep cleaning list. With these tips, I jumped into the job and completed defrosting and cleaning throughout the course of a day.
Tips for Defrosting an Upright Freezer
#1 Read the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual will have steps for your exact unit. All upright freezer models are different, and the process for defrosting the freezer may vary for each. If you no longer have the manual for your unit, many are available from the manufacturer online. Always begin by referencing your specific manual in order to keep within the guidelines for safety of yourself and the unit and for maintenance of the warranty.
#2 Have plenty of old towels nearby. My husband and I have a stack of worn out towels in the basement that we keep on hand for a variety of projects. These are great for cleaning and drying the freezer. If you know that defrosting the freezer is in your future, begin saving and collecting old towels a few months ahead of time.
#3 Have a back-up for freezer items. If the freezer is fully stocked, those items have to go somewhere while the defrosting process takes place. Have a plan of where to freeze these items ahead of time. Move the food products prior to turning the freezer off.
#4 Turn the freezer to “Off” and UNPLUG. Before beginning, regardless of the freezer model, make sure that the unit is totally disconnected from electricity by unplugging it. I also go an extra step and make sure that the plug is off the ground and will not be in contact with any water from the defrosting process.
#5 Thoroughly dry and clean. After following the manual’s instructions for defrosting the freezer, take the time to thoroughly dry and clean the freezer. Those old towels come in handy here!
#6 Make sure the unit is safe before plugging in again. All water in and around the until should be gone. If the unit had a removable drain plug for defrosting, re-insert the plug. Do a thorough inspection of the unit and surrounding area before plugging it back into the electrical outlet.
#7 Start the unit. Plug the freezer back into the electrical outlet. Set the freezer to your desired cold setting. Allow the until overnight to return to the desired temperature. Check the unit to make sure that it is freezing correctly. I usually do this by placing a few reusable cold packs in the freezer.
It’s time to re-stock the freezer!
I’m excited to get our freezer back to full capacity. Not only does a slightly full freezer run more efficiently than an empty freezer, but it is a peace of mind to know that we have a variety of ready-to-make foods available for those busy weeks or in the case of an emergency.
I hate defrosting the freezer, not my favorite task. Filling it back up with great tasting for now that I can get into.
I never even thought to do this!! Thanks for the tip! We always need as much room as possible in our freezer.
These tips are really helpful. Thanks for sharing them. We had this issue with our last freezer.
Sarah Bailey says
These are some great tips! I have to admit defrosting the freezer is one of my most hated jobs I always seem to make an absolute nightmare from it and flood the floor at least a little.
Melissa Chapman says
I am lucky I have a no frost freezer but these are all good tips for defrosting. I also like filling up the freezer with someof those great brands.
Amber Myers says
Good to know! I had no idea how to do this and I have one of these. The meals are delicious. I have them for lunch often.
I need to do this to my freezer. I do not have an upright freezer but it definitely needs to be defrosted. I like the tips you have here I’m going to use a lot anyway.
I’ve had a frost free freezer for quite some time now and don’t have this problem. But I remember back in the day when I did. Ugh.
Good to know how to do this. We’ve never defrosted ours- oops!
Interesting! We have had issues with our freezer needing to be defrosted. I’ll know what to do next time.
We used to have an old upright freezer that was a bear to defrost, probably because we let it get out of control before tackling the project. When my mom was living alone, she bought a lot of meals like this because they were so convenient.
Dennis Littley says
Some of these things are easy to forget when the time comes to defrost an upright freezer. Thanks for sharing this with us! Restocking is always the fun part.
Gladys Nava says
Wow! I enjoying reading tips because of tips that really helpful and amazing. I will try those tips you’ve shared. Thanks!
I have never had to defrost an upright freezer but I bet it was a pain!! Glad you were able to get it done and now you can restock it!
MELANIE EDJOURIAN says
I’ve not done this in so many years I don’t remember what I did. Thanks for the tips, that is great as a reminder with my baby brain lol.
Jona Shares says
We had an old refrigerator and thinking of replacing it with a new one. I guess I need to take note of this as well for my future reference and might as well try it if it will work on our old one.
Ruth I says
Helpful tips, thank you for sharing! I can definitely use this when I can clean ours.
I love my deep chest freezer but if I’m honest I don’t know how to do any maintenance on it. I have never defrosted it but from the looks of your pictures it is probably a good idea that I do. I’ll add this task to my spring cleaning list. I would love to get some of the frost off of the walls of my freezer, and add some more space for frozen treats.