Woman opening freezer door

How to Clean a Freezer

The freezer is an often-neglected part of our kitchen cleaning routine. We usually just pop in and out without giving it much thought.

We spend so little time in there, it can’t get that dirty, can it? The truth is, just like any other kitchen appliance, freezers need regular cleaning too.

Stay on top of your kitchen hygiene by learning how and when to clean a freezer in this article.


Can You Clean a Freezer Without Defrosting It?

While you don’t have to defrost your freezer before cleaning it, you won’t be able to do a deep clean with ice in your way.

Consider defrosting your freezer before cleaning it. However, if there is only a small amount of frost and you just need to give it a quick once-over, you can use a defrosting spray to remove the buildup.

Frost in freezer


What’s the Easiest Way to Clean a Freezer?

Give your freezer a thorough clean by following these steps:

  1. Remove your food and store it in a cool box or freezer bag with ice packs. This is also a good time to throw away any food that’s past its best before date or that you know you won’t eat.
  2. Unplug the freezer. If you have a fridge freezer, you don’t need to worry about the food in the fridge, as fridges stay cool for up to 4 hours with no power. Cleaning your freezer should only take up to an hour.
  3. Take out the removable parts such as shelves and drawers. Put these to one side until they warm up to room temperature, as putting hot water straight onto them could cause them to shatter.
  4. Mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and decant it into a spray bottle.
  5. Spray the solution on the inside of the freezer, including the door, and wipe down with a clean cloth.
  6. The seal on the door will require extra attention as this is where mould can build up. However, some substances, including vinegar and bleach, can damage rubber.

Use warm water and washing up liquid to clean the rubber seal. If this doesn’t remove stains or you have an aggressive buildup of mould, mix a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with water and apply this to the stains. You can also use a toothbrush for more scrubbing power.

  1. Clean the removable parts with washing up liquid in the sink.
  2. Make sure to completely dry everything, including the interior and removable parts, before switching the freezer back on, as any leftover water could cause condensation and a buildup of ice.
  3. Switch the appliance back on and check the instruction manual for how long to wait until putting food back in. Alternatively, you can put a bottle of water in the freezer and check back in a couple of hours. If the water is frozen, it’s safe to put your food back in.
  4. Check that none of your food has defrosted before putting it back.

 Cleaning freezer with spray


How to Clean a Freezer That Smells

If your freezer has picked up an unpleasant odour, the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda cleaning solutions should eliminate it during the cleaning process.

However, if the odour lingers, you may need to plan ahead and leave the freezer door open overnight to let it air out.


How Often Should You Clean a Freezer?

You should defrost and clean your freezer at least once a year or as soon as there is a significant buildup of ice.

You should also clean your freezer as soon as there is a spill and food has leaked out.

Generally, you should give your freezer a quick wipe down once a month or every two months.

It’s best to avoid keeping the door open for long periods of time so you can prepare your cleaning solution and quickly remove your items while you wipe the freezer down.

This process should take no longer than 5 minutes.