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Noon's avatar

Quick ways to defrost a freezer?

Asked by Noon (1900 points ) January 18th, 2009

My husband and I dread this chore. Always a mess, takes forever, and we have to take everything out of the fridge. By the time we get around to it we have less of a freezer and more of a block of ice with a small hole in it. Does anyone have quick ways to defrost a freezer?

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21 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Let’s get the infamous frizzer Q & A out of the way. Maybe you’ll get some sensible answers.

SoapChef's avatar

It wasn’t quick, but after it was defrosted, I once used a shop vac to suck up all the water. It was slick!

WayToGo's avatar

Chore? I have not defrosted a freezer in 25 years. How old is this fridge?

arnbev959's avatar

@WayToGo makes a good point.

Maybe you should be asking why your freezer gets so full of ice in the first place. Mine never gets too bad. If you can prevent having to do it in the first place, that would probably be the best option.

pekenoe's avatar

I use a water hose to defrost our freezer, but I haul it outside first. That’s quick.

Snoopy's avatar

My mom used rotating pots of boiling water and a butter knife to chip, chip, chip away…..

This way you don’t empty the entire ‘frig. Just the freezer.

gailcalled's avatar

Have you thought of updating and getting a self-defrosting freezer that is also more energy efficient? Is it part of the refrigerator or free-standing?

Noon's avatar

Sorry maybe I should explain. We live in a crappy (yet loverly) little apartment in San Francisco. The fridge is like FOREVER old and yes, is one of those that needs to be defrosted (It’s a small cold box inside the fridge). We were told by the land lord that we could buy another fridge but that it would have to fit in the same place as the current fridge. Without going into specifics on the layout of our apartment. Let’s just say that we have not been able to find one that fits in said spot that isn’t a mini fridge.

So before someone suggest for us to get another fridge, again. Lets just say for the sake of this question that getting a new fridge is not an acceptable answer. Unless you can link me to a custom fridge maker within our budget.

gailcalled's avatar

OK. Get out the hammer, chisel, buckets and mop.

Jeruba's avatar

I had a funky little fridge and freezer just like that in my apartment in Cambridge. I did an old-fashioned steam-pan-and-chisel defrost just once before thinking of a better way. Here’s the better way.

After that first defrosting was done, I molded a layer of aluminum foil over the freezer box, inside and out. The whole surface was covered with foil. It clung to the contours of the freezer. When it was time to defrost (about every 6 months), I took everything out, turned off the fridge and let it stand open, and when it started to melt I would just chunk off the ice, foil and all. Pretty easy.

Snoopy's avatar

@Jeruba Nice! Lurve for you.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: I think I lived in the same apartment. Was it near the law school? Fourth-floor walk up?

Jeruba's avatar

Nope. Just off Mass. Ave. halfway between Harvard and Central Squares on the river side, basement level. There were a lot of those refrigerators around, and they all looked exactly alike.

wundayatta's avatar

I like gasoline. Just pour a gallon or so in, then stand back, and throw a match, and run like hell! That’ll defrost it right quick!

Judi's avatar

I used to use a blow dryer.

cooksalot's avatar

Start with placing a large pot of boiling water in the freezer, and close the door. After an hour come back, remove pot. sop up any water, and remove loose chunks of ice. Then proceed to blast out the rest of the ice with a blow dryer or you can repeat the pot of boiling water trick.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s virtually no puddles and mopping with the aluminum foil trick. Huge chunks come off whole and you just toss them in the sink.

As I recall, I used to help the process along by heating the blade of a table knife in a simmering pot or the steam of a teakettle, just enough times to carve through the edge of the ice and get the first chunks started.

stevenb's avatar

Some people still prefer freezers that are not frost free. My father is one. He swears that food stays fresh longer in a freezer that allows frost. He defrosts once a year, and it is a chore, but he does it because he likes the way the freezer saves his food. He always explains that it has to do with the freezers that are frost free drying food out, like meat you have butchered and wrapped in butchers paper, unless you seal it in vacuum bags. Frostable freezers are a more “natural” freezing device and don’t rob your foods moisture. They just suck to defrost. All of this of course, according to my dad. I have one of the old refers with the little ice box up top, and it is always freezing up on me. It is only a beer fridge now, so I think of it as an insurance policy that if the power goes out I will still have cold beverages for a while.

Snoopy's avatar

@stevenb Your dad is a smart man….

Current ‘frig technology eliminates the nuisance of cleaning out your freezer of ice build up…..the downside is the what you mention.

To combat this problem, we have the regular ‘frig/freezer and a chest freezer. We cycle stuff up to the ‘frig/freezer as needed. We freeze meats, breads, cheeses, etc. long term (deep freeze) in the chest freezer.

tranquilsea's avatar

I empty the freezer and put in a large pot full of just boiled water (on a trivet) and close the lid for 15 minutes. By that time most of the frost is skating on the sides and I can lift them out into a bucket. Then I am not dealing with tons of water in the bottom.

A spakel (mud) knife works wonders for those pieces that need a little gentle persuasion.

answerjill's avatar

I like the boiling pot of water idea, but my freezer is so small and so full of ice that I can’t fit a pot into it!

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