So, my freezer looks currently like in the image below, it has an ice sheet on all the walls. Other than in this image, my freezer has drawers that start to be tricky to open and close.

Now, I know that this water comes from a) water vapor from outside when you open the freezer and b) water that sublimates from the contents.

I try to reduce this by opening the freezer as short as possible and keep the contents in plastic bags. This helps, but I still have to thaw the freezer every six months or so.

Currently, when I want to remove the ice, I would stop adding new stuff for a few days. When its kinda empty turn it off and leave the door open so the ice thaws and I can take it out / mop it up.

Thats annoying because it takes long (I have to leave it open the whole night) and I have to disable my fridge as well. So some food gets bad (not so much as the fridge is closed and I stuff all the frozen food from the freezer in there). At least everything that was in the freezer before the thawing needs to be consumed in the next days.

I would like to have a process that either accelerates the "ice removing" time significantly or keeps the freezer from icing over.

The metal you see in the image is from the second drawer and not a fixed part of the freezer. freezer By Angelo Fuchs (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0]

  • don't you have a expansion valve that can adjust cooling rate around evaporator?
    – Fennekin
    Jan 22, 2016 at 17:59
  • @Fennekin How would I know? What does that do and how would it help me? Jan 23, 2016 at 18:32
  • 1
    Well if that button is present then u just need to press it once and it will do the defrosting work within few hours
    – Fennekin
    Jan 24, 2016 at 2:50
  • @Fennekin No, I don't have a button present that does any defrosting for me. I just checked, sounds like a cool feature. Jan 24, 2016 at 8:25

6 Answers 6


To remove the ice more quickly, you can open the door of the freezer, put an electric fan heater in front of it and let it blow directly into the freezer. Of course, you need to take necessary precautions not to damage or even burn anything.

Others put pots with cooking water in the freeze (again, with necessary precautions), but my experience is that using an electric fan heater is way faster.

  • 2
    Place a small item under the front of the freezer to tip it backwards slightly. Then any melted water will pool at the back of the freezer rather than running out over your floor. Jan 12, 2015 at 9:48
  • Also, be careful not to get your electric heater wet in the process. That could be dangerous. Jan 19, 2015 at 7:16
  • I used this method whenever I defrost my freezer
    – Darren
    May 1, 2015 at 5:03
  • Put a big plastic bowl inside the freezer to catch most of the water
    – RedSonja
    Jan 27, 2016 at 14:55

A simple approach would be to thaw your freezer more often. By doing that you wont need to leave it off for as long and you wont have as much water to deal with when you do.

When you see frost beginning to build up (less than 1cm):

  1. Warm up a few towels in the dryer
  2. Move your frozen food to the fridge
  3. Turn off the freezer
  4. Stuff a few warm towels in the freezer
  5. Wait for 20 minutes or so.
  6. As the the ice melts swap the cold wet towels with fresh warm ones.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 as needed

This should speed up the process and eliminate mopping.

To slow further build up you may want to check and clean the door seals, if the door isn't making a tight seal it may be allowing moisture in.

It's probably worth noting that a lot of newer freezers will run defrosting/dehumidifying cycles on their own.


I don't know where you live, but if possible, pick a cold evening/night and switch the freezer off. Then immediately pack the contents of your freezer in cardboard boxes, put newspaper on top and close them, place them outside (if you can). If you have freezer blocks (the sort you use in insulated picnic bags) then it helps if you've frozen those beforehand - they can be added to the boxes. Keep any frozen food you know you don't want in the boxes, simply because it helps to keep everything else frozen until you're ready to put stuff back in.

Place an old towel or something on the floor in front of the freezer, and for this part, you'll need a hair dryer. First, place a bowlful of boiling water onto one of the empty racks (having removed any drawers and shelves). Now direct the blast from the hair dryer into the freezer, on its hottest setting, until you start hearing ice dropping everywhere. Have a go at removing any big lumps by chipping underneath with a plastic scraper, preferably without damaging anything, then repeat the hair dryer process, and continue, replacing the boiling water as it cools. Last time I did mine, just before Christmas, it was done in less than two hours and everything I wanted to keep from the freezer went back in once it was cold enough again. By the look of yours, its been a while since it was defrosted, so the process may take a bit longer. I'm surprised you've got such a build up of ice in 6 months - mine wasn't that bad after a year. To prevent so much ice forming, it helps if the freezer is kept full, and in particular, with any metal parts which form ice constantly covered with frozen goods.

It sounds as is if you have a fridge/freezer - try not to open the fridge at all while you're defrosting the freezer part. In terms of 'cleaning', a solution of Milton in warm water, used to wipe over the entire interior and the door once defrosting is complete, plus cleaning the drawers/shelves, is effective and does not leave any odours that may contaminate food. Wipe the interior dry before switching it back on again.

  • I did not understand this part-sentence: "in particular, with any metal parts which form ice constantly covered with frozen goods." Jan 13, 2015 at 8:45
  • I have a fridge / freezer, but they are separated (each has its own door) in everything but power supply. As I can't turn off just the freezer I need to turn off the fridge as well. Jan 13, 2015 at 8:46
  • @AngeloFuchs; sorry, I obviously wasn't that clear - that's exactly the kind of fridge/freezer I'm talking about, mine's the same, two doors, one motor, one power supply. Metal parts inside the freezer - there'll be metal grids beneath the baskets and at the bottom of the section in the top (this one is also directly above a basket, usually) and its those parts which ice up first. Yours is so iced up you can't see any metal...
    – Bamboo
    Jan 13, 2015 at 11:31
  • 1
    @AngeloFuchs - ok, but when you do defrost yours, I'd love to know if there's no metal inside it, can't see how it'd work without metal parts.
    – Bamboo
    Jan 13, 2015 at 12:28
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    @AngeloFuchs - sorry, didn't think - Milton is a sterilising fluid primarily sold for sterilising infant equipment, such as bottles, teats, soothers and the like. Bit like bleach, but much milder.
    – Bamboo
    Jan 18, 2015 at 15:40

My fridge came with a plastic wedge/scoop. Slide this along the wall and the ice breaks away in big chunks. This only works if the freezer walls are smooth.
To make the process even easier, start by heating the inside of the freezer with an electric heater as suggested above (keep the heater away from the meltwater). After 15 minutes the ice will be considerably softer and easy to break away.
Some people say there's a risk you'll break the walls, but that seems unlikely to me.

Another method would be to spray hot water on the walls with a garden hose, but that leaves the problem of getting rid of all the water.

  • I used a wooden spatula from my kitchen the last time, especially after I softened the ice with the hairdryer it was very quick. May 3, 2018 at 8:55

I find with mine that after leaving it defrosting for about 2 hours, the buildup has loosened from the edges enough to be able to pull it away as a sheet of ice which you can then just leave in the sink to melt


A bit late to this question, but here is my way to remove the ice buildup in my freezer:

Use the "non-eating" end of a metal utensil to "shove" the ice free from the walls. The metal utensil has the strength such that it will not break when you apply force to it.

After the ice has fallen from the walls, it should pile up like snow in the freezer. Simply collect them with any container.

A few points to note about this method:

  1. Remove food from the freezer temporarily. This process takes a few minutes only (at most 15 minutes if you have a lot of ice buildup), so it will not spoil your food.
  2. A metal spoon is the safest option to avoid hand injury.
  3. If you wait too long to collect the fallen ice, it will become sticky again.
  4. Simply dispose the collected ice into the sink.
  • This has the disadvantage of a risk of scratches on the plastic interior of the freezer. Could you add this risk (or ways to mitigate it?). Otherwise nice answer. (I personally would remove the first sentence, though) Dec 4, 2017 at 19:58
  • @AngeloFuchs The "non-eating" end should be round enough that it will not scratch. My experience is that a "moderately gently" force is enough to loosen the ice. It will not completely remove 100% of the ice but the majority of it (save the last 1 or 2 mm).
    – kevin
    Dec 4, 2017 at 20:17

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