How To Clean A Freezer

How To Clean A Freezer

Cleaning the freezer is a job that's often forgotten about – but it's a must for keeping your food storage space clean and organised.

Regularly cleaning the freezer helps tackle the build-up of frost and ice, meaning fewer freezer-burned items and more storage space– win-win!

But how often should you clean your freezer? And can you clean a freezer without defrosting it?

Here, we're answering everything you need to know. 

How often should you clean your freezer?

Generally speaking, a freezer should keep itself relatively clean, so it should only need a deep clean once a year. Of course, if you experience a power cut or have any food spillages, your freezer will need a thorough cleaning earlier, so treat freezer cleaning on a case-by-case basis. Some models may also require more regular cleaning, so always double-check your manual.

This applies to deep cleaning only – we'd recommend regularly wiping down your fridge and freezer, as you do with all kitchen appliances, to stop dirt from building up. You should also regularly dispose of any old or expired foods.

How do you clean a freezer?

You should deep clean your freezer seasonally, at least once a year. To clean your freezer:

  1. Remove everything from the freezer.

First, you'll need to remove all the food from your freezer. If you have a cooler with ice, store the food there while you clean. If you don't have a cooler, a sink with ice will help stop your frozen food from defrosting while you're cleaning.

As you remove frozen food, it's useful to sort through it and throw away any old or expired items.

  1. Defrost the freezer

To make cleaning easier, unplug your freezer and give it a little time to start defrosting. Frost can settle over dirt and spills, making them trickier to clean, so the less frost, the better.

  1. Spray inside the freezer

Next, thoroughly spray around the freezer's interior with an antibacterial spray, making sure it's food-safe. If you don't have an antibacterial spray, you can make a homemade solution with water and white vinegar. Vinegar contains acid, which helps remove mildew, making it a great DIY cleaning solution.

Spray the solution, and leave it to sit for five minutes (or as per the instructions) to ensure any bacteria inside the freezer is eliminated.

  1. Wipe down the freezer

After your cleaning solution has sat for a while, wipe down the freezer with a clean microfiber cloth, paying special attention to any areas of dirt or spills. Be especially thorough when it comes to the seals around the door, as debris can become trapped there.

  1. Dry the freezer

To limit a build-up of frost or ice, always thoroughly dry the freezer after cleaning it. You can use a clean cloth or towel for this.

  1. Fill the freezer and turn back on

Once you've wiped down the freezer, turn the power back on and re-fill it.

How to clean a freezer with ice build-up

If you have a lot of ice build-up in your freezer, you may need to leave it longer to thaw before you tackle cleaning it. If this is the case, plan ahead and try to use as many of your frozen products as possible. Avoid buying new frozen goods so you don't have to worry about them defrosting.

You can remove bigger blocks of ice manually using a plastic utensil before you defrost the freezer. Then, you can tackle cleaning by following the steps above.  

You may need to use a stronger cleaning solution for excessive ice build-up and bad stains. Degreasers are good for sticky, frozen-in stains – but always check they're food-safe first.

How to clean a freezer without defrosting

Don't have time to defrost? You can still clean your freezer without defrosting it. In fact, this method is ideal for quicker cleans throughout the year, to ensure your freezer is functioning at its best.

To clean your freezer without defrosting it, make a homemade solution of equal parts hot (but not boiling) water and white vinegar. Use a clean cloth or towel to dip into this solution and wipe around the freezer. The warm water will help remove excessive frost and ice, making it easier for the vinegar solution to clean underneath. 

How to get rid of freezer smells

The best way to keep a freezer from smelling is to clean it regularly, ensure old items are thrown away, and wipe up any spills immediately. If possible, you can also leave the door open to air out for a few hours after cleaning – assuming you don't have perishable food that needs returning as a priority.

If you're still met with stubborn odours in your freezer after cleaning it and airing it out, some common household items can help. Baking soda and coffee grounds are both great at absorbing and eliminating smells. Sprinkle either baking soda or coffee grounds into a container or a shallow bowl, and leave it in the bottom of your freezer. Close the door and wait an hour or two for the smell to be banished!

Tips: How to keep your freezer clean and tidy

The more frequently you clean your freezer, the less often you'll have to do a deep clean and defrost. Keep on top of wiping down your freezer and tackle any spills immediately to stop them from freezing in. Some additional freezer maintenance tips include:

  • Don't overload your freezer. This can block the circulation of air and cause a build-up of ice. Instead, ensure your food items are distributed evenly throughout the freezer.
  • Clear out your freezer regularly. Ensure all items in your freezer are within date. When placing homemade items in your freezer, it's helpful to add a label with a use-by date so you know when to use it, or when you should throw it away.
  • Check for freezer burn. Food pushed against the freezer's walls is more susceptible to ice and freezer burn, which can affect the texture and taste. If any items are covered in excessive ice, it may be best to replace them.
  • Keep food in containers. Never store uncovered or open food in a freezer. Items should be in an airtight container or freezer bag. If you've opened larger items, reseal the bag with a clip.
  • Store items upright. To avoid spills, try to store items in the freezer upright.

Looking to clean your fridge, too? Check out our post on How to Clean Your Fridge for a step-by-step guide and tips on keeping your fridge clean and organised.

Or, if your freezer has seen better days and you're ready to replace it, why not explore the Hoover fridge freezer collection? From standard designs to double American fridge freezers, our collection will help keep your kitchen clean, tidy and organised.