Cleaning your freezer is not simply about removing food and allowing it to defrost. There are actually many steps to getting it done right! To ensure its optimal performance over time, here are 8 tips for cleaning your freezer:
Unplug the freezer
The first thing to do when cleaning your freezer is to turn it off. This will prevent the risk of electrical shock and other injuries as your freezer defrosts.
Since turning off your freezer will cause it to defrost, make sure you place it in an area where extra water will not damage the floor or other appliances. If necessary, place towels or old newspapers underneath it to soak up water.
Remove all the food
After you turn off your freezer, remove all the food from inside to prepare for the big wash-down. Place all food items in the fridge or another freezer to keep them cool while you clean.
Place frozen food into plastic storage totes or large containers with lids. By storing food in sealed containers, you can prevent premature defrosting. Line containers with towels or plastic bags to make cleaning easier when the food goes back into the freezer.
Take inventory of everything you have
The chances are that a lot of the food inside your freezer has been there for a long time. Cleaning your freezer is a great opportunity to take inventory of everything you have.
As you remove the items, write down the names and expiry dates of everything you intend to keep and ensure that the containers are labelled. Also, inspect and smell food to determine if it’s spoiled or not.
Indicators of spoiled food include:
- Abnormal discolouration
- Foul smells
- Frost or ice on the food inside the container or packaging
- Out of date labels
Speed up the defrosting process
Once these first few steps are done, it’s time to let your freezer defrost. This could take many hours if you only leave the lid open. However, if you’d like to speed up the process, here’s how:
- Place a large container of hot water in the freezer and close the lid. You may need to replace the hot water several times.
- Use a hairdryer on low heat. Keep the water away from the dryer, as it could cause an electrical shock.
Once your freezer has defrosted, drain it. Then, use a mild cleanser like dish soap or baking soda and vinegar to clean it out. Here’s how you should clean it:
- Place a small amount of your cleaner of choice in a bowl and add water to it
- Dip a cloth in the solution and wash the interior
- Remove any shelves or baskets and wash them in your sink
- Rinse your freezer to remove any cleaner
- Allow it to air dry
To get rid of any lingering unwanted smells, place a box of baking soda inside and close it for several hours. You can also keep a box of baking soda inside the freezer with your food as a preventative measure, as long as you replace it every few months.
Clean the drip pan and dust the coils
After your freezer is dry, clean the drip pan and dust the coils.
Locate the drip pan under the freezer. Mop up any water, then pull it out and wash the pan with warm, soapy water and allow to air dry. If your drip pan is fixed in place, use a damp cloth to clean it.
To keep your freezer running efficiently, you need to dust the coils. You can easily do this with a vacuum cleaner or a coil brush—just make sure you keep your freezer unplugged!
Clean the exterior of your freezer
One of the last steps is to clean the outside with soap and water. Pay special attention to the areas around the handles. For stainless steel exteriors, use commercial stainless steel spray.
Replace and reorganize
Now that you have finished cleaning your freezer, it’s time to place your frozen items back inside.
- To prevent items from being forgotten, organize your food as you put it back inside.
- Place foods with a long freezer life near the bottom and food that should be used fairly soon near the top.
- Take your inventory and attach it to the top of your freezer. Keep track of your food as you add or remove items.
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