Saturday Thoughts...Defrosting the Freezer

Myrna and I had the same chore on our minds last week…defrosting our upright “non-frost-free” freezers while we still had a few cool days left.  The chore causes anxiety with us…trying to let the freezer and refrigerator empty out a little, the sheer amount of work involved, the mess, the time it takes…etc.  I had about $515 worth of food in my freezer last don't want to lose any to the defrosting project either.

It went pretty well for both of us this year…we’ve finally developed a method that works for us.  My freezer is in my garage, so I don’t have to worry if I get a little water on the floor…Myrna’s is inside and she tries not to get the floor wet.

I keep my supplies together just for this project…
·        some old very large, very absorbent microfiber rags I bought from a vender at the big What Cheer flea market
·        plastic sheet-rock taping trowel that’s wide and won’t damage the coils or interior walls  
·        big ladle for pouring water over the coils
·        big brush for brushing ice from between those two close-together racks of coils
·        bucket
·        stock pot for heating water
·        aluminum folding side-table for setting my stock pot
·        3 or 4 cheap 13 x 9 metal baking pans I keep for canning
·        2 x 4” folding table for setting out the full freezer basket
As you can see, I keep my food in sturdy plastic boxes that keep it together, limit my “go-wild sale purchases” and make the food fairly easy to move to my refrigerator while the big freezer is defrosting.
The plan:
1.      Turn off the freezer.
2.      Start the stock pot full of water boiling on the stove.
3.      Empty the refrigerator of items that can set out for a while; condiments, cheese, produce, and the like.
4.      Bring in any items that defrost very quickly, like shrimp, frozen vegetables and fish sticks and put them in the refrigerator freezer.
5.      Bring in as many boxes of frozen food as possible and put them in the refrigerator.  You can turn your refrigerator temp up if needed, but don’t forget to turn it back down when you are done.
6.      My husband helps me move the full basket from the bottom shelf and we put it on the folding table and cover it with a large flat plastic trash bag and then a blanket or comforter.  I usually only keep larger cuts of solid meat in this basket, so they don’t thaw very quickly.  I don’t remove the door items, as that’s where I keep powdered milk, butter and lard for long-term storage, and the hour or so I’m working on the freezer doesn’t seem to bother those items.
7.      Bring out the stock pot full of hot water and put it on the metal table. 
8.      Place a couple of the baking pans under the top shelf and start ladling hot water over the coils.  Move the pans so you catch most of the water.  Pour it in the bucket when full.  I pour my bucket into my floor drain in the garage. (If you don't want too much water, put the water in the pans on the shelves and let it set awhile, this takes longer however).
9.      Continue to defrost each shelf with the hot water.
10.   Use the stiff brush to remove any loose ice from between the wire of the shelves until it’s all removed.  Don’t forget the very top ceiling coils, I do these last because I can’t pour water on them.
11.   Wipe down the top, sides, shelves and then the bottom with your absorbent rags.  You can use a hand-held hair dryer to get any last moisture.
12.   Wipe out the door shelves.
13.   Done!
14.   Return your basket and then your boxes of food.  I try to keep mine grouped together to find things more quickly and not keep that door open too long.  I make a chart of where different foods are located.
15.   Turn your freezer back on.

Myrna has tried and liked this product: Klean Logik Freezer Frost Remover .   She hasn't been able to find it locally for awhile but it works well and eliminates some water. 
We’ll be doing the same job again this fall.  It took us about an hour from turning off the freezer to turning it back on.  In 20 minutes it was already back below freezing, because the food didn’t really get warm.


  1. I got rid of my non-frost free because it was such a pain.

  2. And this is why I insisted on a frost-free freezer...


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