Cleaning Your Freezer

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 15, 2013)


No matter the type of freezer you have, cleaning a freezer is much easier than cleaning a refrigerator. In our garage we have a top-and-bottom refrigerator/freezer, as well as a stand-up freezer. In our kitchen, we have a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. Again, it's my opinion that it is much easier to clean any of our three freezers, than it is to clean either of our refrigerators. I think the reason is because the freezers are opened far less than are the refrigerators, leaving fewer instances for dirt and spills to occur in the freezers.

That being said, there have been times when we've had frozen orange juice containers burst, and frozen fruit spilled, leaving a sticky mess to clean up. Follow these guidelines when cleaning your freezers to keep them clean and in good working order:

  • Unplug the freezer from the power source.
  • Lay down a tarp, newspapers, or paper toweling on the floor in front of the freezer to catch any water, ice, or debris.
  • Prop open the freezer door, if need be, and remove everything from the freezer. I like to place everything in my empty kitchen sinks when I clean the freezer. If there is too much food for the sinks, I place it in tubs on the kitchen table and cover the contents with thick bath towels or blankets to hold in the cold.
  • Once you've removed everything from the freezer, use a spray cleaner such as Formula 409 or Windex and spray everything inside the freezer cabinet.
  • Allow the spray cleaner to work, so you won't have to work so hard, and inspect the gaskets around the door. While the spray cleaner is dissolving grime and foodstuffs, you can take a Q-Tip, spray it with cleaner, and go around the groove inside of the door gasket to clean it. Doing so not only cleans the gasket groove, but gets rid of any food particles that might be preventing the gasket from sealing the door shut entirely.
  • Using paper towels, wipe down every inch of the inside of the freezer, cleaning the surface to a shine.
  • If you have food residue, apply a paste of baking soda and water and scour it with a soft pad. Do not use Brillo pads or steel wool, as those types of pads will scratch and etch the surface of the freezer.

Once you've cleaned the entire freezer, dry the cabinet thoroughly with a clean towel. Replace all of the freezer racks and components, and then put the food away. Close the freezer door and lug the unit back into the power source. Do not open the freezer for at least half-n-hour in order to allow the freezer to reach the proper temperature.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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What is 4 + 1?

2014-06-19 09:18:13


Someone has put a can of fizzy drink can in the freezer and it has exploded. I now have to defrost the freezer to clean this up.

It was going to be a nightmare cleaning this up, but thanks to your handy advice, it'll be a breeze!

2014-04-05 11:38:54

Mona Michaels

Karen, when I defrost my big freezer I want it done fast so after I unplug it and take everything out I put my hair dryer inside and close the door. Towels in the bottom soak up the water. I just cleaned my large stand up freezer an it took just a little over an hour. We raise our own beef so I usually have a lot of meat. When I put things in my freezer I have a sheet of paper on the outside of the door held there with a magnet and I write on the paper what is in the freezer. When I take anything out I mark it off. Never have to wonder what the stuff is. Of course marking the items with a sticker or pen is essential also.

2014-04-04 13:20:29

alicia stalberger

if you unplug the freezer, that also unplugs the frig. so you are cleaning the whole thing at once?
which is what I want. but my question is, if we think a piece of ice is stuck in the ice maker and will unplugging the freezer take care of that, or we wont know that till we plug it back in?
and how long do you leave it unplugged?

thanks alot

2013-07-16 02:49:13

Josette Brincau

Switch off the freezer. Take all the food from the freezer. Put the food somewhere adaptable so that you do not have any water spilling from the food. Cover the food with newspaper. Place a container with hot water on the shelves and I assure it will defrost quickly and you can put back your food. You can do this is less than an hour.

2013-07-15 09:39:16


I would like suggestions on quick defrosting the freezer of a small dorm sized refrigerator. We have one at work, and I can't just unplug it overnight since I am not there first thing in the morning. Any sugguestions?

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