How To Maintain and Clean Your Freezer


Freezers - like all other appliances and gadgets in your home - require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to work at optimum capacity for as long as possible. No one wants to buy a new freezer every few years because they didn’t look after their current one and it gave out.

Taking a little bit of time to give your freezer some TLC can help extend its life and prevent accidents that result in your frozen food going bad.

Cleaning Your Freezer

Firstly some tips for cleaning your freezer.

Defrosting Your Freezer

If you own a manual-defrost model of freezer you’ll need to keep an eye on the build up of ice inside. When the interior walls are covered with between a quarter to half an inch of ice, it’s time to defrost. Doing this will keep your freezer running efficiently and means you won’t be losing valuable storage space to ice.

Transfer all the food in your freezer to another unit or to cool bags. In the lead up to defrosting your freezer it’s a good idea to try and eat up as much of your frozen food as possible. Once the food is moved, turn off and unplug your freezer.

Remove drawers and shelves and put them in your sink or bath while they thaw. Once they’ve thawed you can clean them with an all purpose cleaning spray.

Pull out the drain plugs on both the inside and outside of your freezer. If the plug is threaded you can attach a hose pipe to divert the water into a bucket for easy draining. Otherwise you will need to put towels down around the freezer to soak up the water from the melting ice.

Leave the freezer door open as it defrosts over the next several hours, and make sure to keep an eye on it. Empty the bucket or replace wet towels as needed. You can speed up the thawing process by pointing a fan towards the inside of your freezer. This will push the cold air out and room temperature air in. You should avoid scraping the ice as you risk damaging your freezer.

Once the freezer is completely defrosted you can wipe down the inside and clean it with an all purpose cleaning spray. Plug your freezer back in and wait for it to get down to the right temperature before refilling it.

Clean The Drain Hole and Pan

Self-defrosting freezers negate the need to manually defrost - this feature is present in most upright freezer models. However, despite not needing to defrost the freezer yourself, you do need to keep the drain hole clear and free from clogs so your freezer can properly get rid of water.

Unplug your freezer then find the drain hole. Clean and rinse it to remove any dirt and mineral deposits as left unchecked these can turn into blockages. Then wash the drain pan and you’re done.

Vacuum the Condenser Coils

Keeping the condenser coils clear from dust is an important part of keeping your freezer clean. If dust builds up on the coils it makes your unit work a lot harder to stay at the set temperature. This equates to higher electricity bills and a shorter lifespan for your unit.

The coils are located on either the back or underside of your freezer and should ideally be vacuumed every 3 months. Simply unplug your freezer and vacuum the coils with a nozzle attachment. It would be ideal to tie this in with defrosting your freezer as it will already be turned off.

However, don’t worry about turning off your freezer while it’s full of food if you’re going to quickly clean the coils. Your food should stay frozen for many hours which is plenty of time for a quick vacuum.

Wipe Down the Exterior

Keeping the outside of your freezer clean will keep it looking its best and prevent discolouration, especially if your unit is white.

Again, this can easily be combined with the defrosting process. While you’re cleaning the inside with an all purpose cleaning spray you can give the outside a once over too.

Maintaining Your Freezer

These are some tips and checks you can make to ensure your freezer is working properly and efficiently.

Check the Seal

The seal around your freezer door, or the gasket, helps to maintain the temperature inside when the door is closed. A tight seal will properly help maintain the temperature, but a loose seal will allow small amounts of air flow that can raise the internal temperature and make the condenser coils work harder to keep your food frozen.

Look over the seal and check for damage, cracks, or anything that could prevent it from making a good seal when closed.

You can also test the seal with an A5 piece of paper. Shut the piece of paper in the door. If you can pull it out easily then you need to replace the seal. This is also the case if you find cracks or damage when making your inspections.

If you don’t spot any damage and you can’t pull out the piece of paper easily, simply give the seal a wipe down to remove dirt and gunk.

The Optimum Amount of Food

Your freezer will work at its best when it is at least 75% full. It will stay cold when you need to open the door and add in new items, and will help to keep things frozen for longer if there is a power cut.

However, overfilling your freezer can have the opposite effect. Freezers packed to the brim can block the vents from circulating cold air properly, meaning your food won’t be kept at a consistent temperature throughout the unit.

Wall Distance

Make sure your freezer isn’t pushed up against a wall as this can cause it to overheat. A good distance is needed so that air can circulate around the coils and keep your unit working at a good temperature.

You can find the ideal distance in your freezer’s user manual as it can differ between models.

Keeping Your Freezer in Good Condition

Generally freezers don’t need much attention to keep them working properly; just some TLC every few months.

Think about the work you’re willing to put in when buying or upgrading your freezer. If you don’t want to deal with defrosting then buy a model that does it for you. Avoid stainless steel options if you don’t want to clean the exterior regularly. Choose a model with a threaded external drain plug if you want a cleaner way to defrost.

Make it easy for yourself to keep your freezer in good condition and you’ll have a unit that will last you many years.

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