5 Ways to Clean and Maintain Your Freezer

Fred's Appliance
June 6, 2022
Refrigerator Repair

When was the last time you cleaned your freezer? If your answer is you haven’t, don’t worry, you are not alone! The freezer is often a place where food gets shoved without much thought apart from, “When will I need to get to this again?” Just like your fridge, from time to time, your freezer needs some TLC. 

While a defrost and deep clean is only recommended every 6 to 12 months, there are lots of other things you can do in between to keep your freeze clean and sanitized.  

Here is a list of ways you can clean and maintain your freezer, starting with a full defrost and deep clean. 

1. Deep clean 

Defrost your freezer

To give your freezer the much-needed attention it deserves, it is best to start with a thorough deep clean. In order to do this, you will first need to defrost your freezer. This will not only allow you to reach and sanitize all the hard-to-access spots that may have been neglected, but it will also ensure your fridge is running at optimal performance, helping to minimize those electricity bills.

Depending on how much frost build-up your freezer has, it can take up to several hours for your freezer to defrost completely. Remember not to run any cold glass shelves under hot water as the glass might crack! 

How to defrost your freezer

  1. Remove all the food from your freezer. You may need to ask a neighbor to use their freezer while you clean. This is also a good time to go through each item and toss anything expired. 
  2. Unplug your fridge from its power source. You don’t have to worry about the food in the fridge. The FDA states that food will stay cold for about four hours if the appliance loses power. Just make sure that you don’t open the fridge door.
  3. Place towels or old newspapers underneath your freezer to catch any water from the ice melting.
  4. Take out all removable parts, including shelving and draws.

Wipe out and sanitize the freezer

After all the built-up frost and ice has melted, it is time to wipe out and then sanitize the freezer. Hot soapy water will usually do the trick, but if your freezer needs a lot of attention, then you can add two or three teaspoons of vinegar into the soapy solution. 

Start by wiping down the roof of your freezer and working your way down the walls. Don’t forget to wipe down the door as well as any shelving or draws that cannot be removed. You will also need to wipe it down again with clean water to remove the soap suds. Then dry everything with a clean tea towel or microfiber cloth.

To make sure it is properly sanitized, use a solution of bleach and water. Make sure you do this step after you have done the initial wipedown. 

Clean the removable parts 

Given all the shelving and draws have been removed, it is the perfect time to give them some attention too. They should be thoroughly cleaned in warm soapy water and dried completely before they are replaced inside your freezer. 

Turn freezer back on and refill it

Now your freezer is thoroughly cleaned and freshly sanitized, it is time to fill it back up. It is a good idea to wipe your frozen goods before you put them back into the freezer to remove any condensation or water that could freeze and contribute to frost build-up. 

2. Clean your freezer with vinegar

While you only need to defrost and deep clean your fridge once or twice a year, it doesn’t hurt to give it a once over every month or two. One easy way to do this is using a vinegar and water solution. While white vinegar or apple cider vinegar is preferred, any vinegar will do.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Unload your freezer; there is no need to unplug it. Spray the interior of your freezer with your cleaning solution focusing on areas with gunk or grime. Removing the shelving may make this process easier. 

Wipe off with a damp cloth, and you should rinse it regularly. The vinegar solution will work wonders in removing any grime and also help to keep foul odors from lingering in your freezer. 

Make sure your freezer is completely dry before putting food back in and closing the door. 

3. Clean your freezer with baking soda

If you are not a fan of cleaning with vinegar or don’t have any handy, you can use baking soda in its place. Create a paste using hot water and bicarbonate of soda and then after you have removed the contents of your freezer, smear this paste all over the interior. Using a damp cloth, remove the paste after a few minutes. You will need to rinse it regularly. You should finish by wiping out the interior with a clean, dry cloth to ensure none of the paste has been left behind. 

Make sure your freezer is completely dry before putting food back in and closing the door. 

4. Wipe down the freezer seals 

Freezer door seals, otherwise known as the gasket, are responsible for keeping the cool air inside your freezer. It is good practice to ensure these are well looked after. If you have a crevice tool, you can vacuum them to prevent dirt from building up. 

You should then take a soft cloth wrapped around a utensil like a butter knife, dip it in a vinegar/water cleaning mix and run it along with the seals. Ensure you are gentle as you don’t want to cut or damage the seals. Ensure the seals are completely dry before you close the door. 

5. Don’t forget about the outside

After spending so much time and effort on the interior of your freezer, you don’t want to forget about the exterior. You can use a variety of cleaning solutions for the exterior of your fridge. 

If you already have some hot soapy water or vinegar/water solution on hand, you can use this on the exterior too. Just dip your soft cloth into the cleaning solution of choice and wipe down the doors, remembering to do the top and bottom of the door as well.

Here is a guideline of how long foods can be stored in the freezer:

Ground beef and pork: 3-4 months

Beef steaks and roasts: 6-12 months

Pork chops: 4-6 months

Pork roasts: 4-6 months

Lunch meats and sausage: 1-2 months

Lean fish (cod, haddock, flounder): up to 6 months

Fatty fish (tuna, salmon): 2-3 months

Cooked meat leftovers: 2-3 months

Place the foods you will be keeping inside a cooler or plastic storage bag together, which will help them stay cold.

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