How to Defrost an Upright Freezer

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Even though it’s only the end of July and school doesn’t start until September here I’m already thinking about filling my freezer. Before I could do that, though, I had to figure out how to defrost an upright freezer. You see, I used to have a frost-free one. It was great.

Luckily when I moved into the house I’m in now they left us one of their upright freezers. That sucker is huge too! It’s funny how things end up working out in the end.

So anyway, I’m trying to fill this thing but it’s covered in several inches of snow so I figured I better defrost my freezer before fall. Apparently this is something you’re supposed to do more than once every year and a half (which is when we moved in).

See also: How to organize a bottom freezer.

How to Defrost an Upright Freezer Step by Step

1. Get all the food out

Chances are if you’re defrosting an upright freezer it’s probably your ‘big’ freezer. If that’s the case just move the food from your upright freezer to the fridge freezer. Or, if you’re like me and have an all fridge, you have to get creative.

If it’s winter and sub-zero you can always store the food outside. Otherwise a cooler will work. Make sure you have some ice or ice packs to keep everything cold though.

This is a great time to throw away all that old, freezer burnt food you’re never going to eat!

Cooler filled with food to keep it cool while defrosting the frezer

2. Turn off the freezer

Make sure the freezer is unplugged and keep the door open so that it can warm up.

3. Put towels in the bottom of the freezer and around the outside

If your upright freezer is large you’re going to need to absorb a fair bit of water. You might even need to change these towels part of the way through. There will be a mess.

3. Wait

Don’t scrape the shelves, it can damage your freezer. I personally removed as much ice as I could by gently wiping it with a damp cloth just so I didn’t have too much mess.

Empty upright freezer in the middle of defrosting

4. Wipe it down and dry it

Once you have a puddle on the floor and no more frost in the freezer you can wipe everything down. This is a great time to get the freezer nice and clean! Then dry it so the water drops don’t freeze.

5. Plug it in, close the door, and let it cool down

Once you’ve let the freezer cool down for a bit you can put your frozen foods back inside.

Adding food back in after completing the how to defrost an upright freezer steps

Taadaa! Now your freezer is clean and ready to be filled up.

Why should you defrost a freezer?

Frost inside the freezer makes it run less efficiently. That means that your freezer will be working harder and using more electricity, both not great.

When should you defrost your freezer?

Apparently you’re supposed to defrost your freezer once there’s a quarter inch of frost build up. For most people that’s going to happen about once a year. I definitely had more than that in some spots!

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