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How to Clean a Freezer

While most people are pretty good about cleaning out the fridge, it can be easy to forget that the freezer needs a little attention, too. If you groan at the sheer thought of taking on this task, don’t worry. Cleaning out the freezer gets a bad reputation because it used to be a giant ordeal due to the amount of frost that built up. Fortunately, you won’t encounter this layer of ice in most modern refrigerator models, meaning it’s possible to clean your freezer in as little as 30 minutes.

Feeling better? Good. Now learn how to clean out a freezer.

Cleaning Freezer 101

Note: The following instructions are for how to clean a freezer that’s a part of your refrigerator. If you have a deep freezer, you should consult your manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

You’ll need:
  • A large cooler
  • Ice
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Hot water
  • A spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloths
  • An old toothbrush
  1. Remove all the food from your freezer and place it in your cooler with the ice. Take this time to check the expiration dates on your frozen food. If they’ve passed, toss the item.
  2. Unplug your refrigerator. Don’t worry about the food inside the fridge. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that food will stay cold for about four hours without power if you don’t open the refrigerator door. This chore shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Just make sure people aren’t going in and out of the fridge as you work.
  3. Mix equal parts vinegar and hot water in your spray bottle. This is your cleaning solution.
  4. Spray the inside of the freezer generously with your cleaner and wipe the solution away with a dry microfiber cloth. You may need to repeat this step a few times to get your freezer clean.
  5. For stubborn spills or food gunk, dip the old toothbrush in hot water. Scrub gently until the area is clean and wipe any residue away with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Wipe the inside of your freezer dry with a clean microfiber cloth, making sure you don’t leave any liquid behind.
  7. Wash your freezer drawers, bins and ice trays using the instructions in the section below.
  8. Plug your freezer back in and replace your food. If the ice in your cooler has started to melt, wipe any liquid off of food items before returning them to the freezer.

How to Clean the Removable Parts of Your Freezer

If you’re taking the time to pull all the food out of your freezer, you may as well clean your ice trays and any freezer bins or drawers. After all, there’s no point in doing a job halfway, right?

You’ll need:
  1. Check to be certain that bins, drawers and ice trays are at room temperature before you clean them. Otherwise, drastic shifts in temperature could cause your freezer accessories to crack.
  2. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with warm water.
  3. Use your dish sponge to wash the freezer accessories, just like you would hand wash your dishes.
  4. Rinse ice trays, bins and drawers under the faucet until all soapy residue has been removed.
  5. Wipe items dry using a microfiber cloth or let them air dry before returning them to the freezer. This step is important, as leftover drops of water can form beads of ice that could affect the functionality of your freezer accessories. The exception, of course, is ice trays, which can be refilled before they’re placed back in the freezer.

As you can see, learning how to clean a freezer is a cinch, and the act itself doesn’t take much time at all. However, keeping your entire home tidy while leading a busy life is another matter entirely. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain a daily cleaning schedule, contact your local Merry Maids for some backup.