I just discovered that my ice cube tray has been leaking. There is significant layer (1/2" thick) of ice underneath it. It's about the same dimensions as the tray (5" x 12").

Is there an easy / quick way to remove the ice?

Some notes:

  • I imagine that the ice will slowly vanish over time because it's a "frost free" freezer, but I'm looking for a quicker solution that that.
  • I am loath to chip at it with anything too sharp. I punctured a freezer doing that one time in college.
  • I had thought of aiming a hair dryer at it, but it seems as though that wouldn't be very effective.
  • I would rather not unplug my refrigerator to let the whole thing thaw.


To clarify, I did not know that some units allow the freezer to be turned off independently of the refrigerator. As Stan suggested in his answer, this may be an option.

  • Is the freezer separate from the refrigerator (separate door) or located inside at the top of the refrigerator (one door)?
    – Stan
    Apr 7, 2018 at 3:04
  • My freezer has a separate door from the refrigerator. It is an independent compartment. I did like your answer; however, I found a different solution which worked for me because of the material on the "floor" of the freezer. I'm adding that answer below, now. Apr 7, 2018 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


I found the answer to my own question. However, it will only work on some brands and models of refrigerator-freezers.

LateralTerminal suggested using a brush on a drill. Instead I used what was on hand: a kitchen scrubber brush. To my surprise, when I scraped it across the ice, with some pressure, the ice sheet cracked! That led me to discover that the bottom of the freezer is a flexible plastic, rather than the rigid metal I assumed it was. I was able to tap on the ice sheet and break it up into pieces. Once the ice sheet was broken, I could remove each of the pieces. The freezer is now ice-free.


You could carefully use one of these.

Make sure you don't scratch the surface of your fridge

enter image description here

Too show I'm not biased and don't work for this company here's a few more variations.

enter image description here

I'm not sure what else to add here. I know you we don't like answers that are just pictures.

It's a drill with a brush attachment. Probably a bad idea to use a metal attachment but hard stiff plastic could take it off pretty quick.

  • Very interesting! I didn't know that these existed. With some hot water this would probably work very well. Thumbs up! Apr 7, 2018 at 2:27
  • Drill brushes can answer a lot of questions here actually. There's endless uses Apr 13, 2018 at 14:29
  • Do you think they can join the ranks of duct tape, WD-40, and lint rollers? (I'm a huge fan of lint rollers.) Apr 13, 2018 at 15:39

This just happened to me last week when I tried to remove an ice tray stuck to the bottom. It created a tiny hole where the ice stuck the tray when I pulled it free.

While I don't have a frost-free freezer (3F alliteration) You could try a partial defrost of yours manually. It's not rocket science - you'll think of things to help it along. No tools necessary. (Cheat: I did use a wooden spoon to push the bottom of the tray free.)

Open the door of the freezer and turn off the freezer. I have an "off-cool-cold-coldest" temperature selection dial which I turn to "off."

As the freezer warms to room temperature, some water will tend to accumulate on the bottom of the freezer. I absorb it with a small kitchen towel.

You could put a hot dish-cloth (hot water, soak and wring it so that it isn't dripping wet.) or a fan to blow room temperature air into the freezer to speed the thawing. I know some might use a hair dryer to spot-thaw the tray. I don't have one.

At some point, you'll be able to lift the block of ice off the freezer bottom. With my freezer (which was set to -18°C) it took about 20 minutes to half an hour.

Restart the freezer as soon as you free the tray and ice .

The refrigerator will remain cold enough to prevent your food from spoiling during this minor frustration.

EDIT: This technique worked for a combined (one door) refrigerator-freezer. A separate freezer may need a different procedure than this given one.

  • To speed this up I place pans of hot water on all the shelves. NB I like to defrost the freezer in winter because I can take out the drawers/baskets and put them outside so the stuff doesn't thaw. If I have to do it in summer I stack the drawers and put a blanket over the top. My freezer came with a plastic spatula just for this, but a plastic pancake flipper is also helpful.
    – RedSonja
    Apr 22, 2021 at 12:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.