Everyday tip: How to defrost your freezer and clean your fridge

Freezers and fridges require regular maintenance to operate safely and efficiently. With these instructions, defrosting your freezer and cleaning up your fridge will be a breeze.

1. Defrost the freezer in winter

Regular cleaning extends the life of your appliances, saves electricity, and improves fire safety at home.

It's good to defrost and clean your freezer once or twice a year. The fridge needs washing a bit more frequently. When the freezer is completely covered in frost or the fridge smells of a mouldy carrot bag at the bottom of the vegetable drawer, it's high time to take action.

The best time for defrosting your freezer is on a wintery day when you can move the frozen goods outside to the balcony during cleaning. If you can't take the frozen goods outside, it's easiest to defrost the freezer when it's as empty as possible.

2. Protect the frozen goods and the floor

Activate the freezing function well before defrosting to ensure the frozen goods are as cold as possible and remain well-preserved outside the freezer. Empty the fridge and freezer and move the food to, for example, a cool bag or boxes covered with newspapers during defrosting.

Remember to protect the area in front of the freezer with a towel before starting the defrosting to prevent melting water from damaging the floor.

3. Speed up melting with warm water

Begin defrosting by turning off the freezer's power. Leave the door or lid open to prevent musty smells from forming inside.

You can accelerate the defrosting process by placing a container filled with warm water inside the freezer and manually removing the melting ice with your hands or a wooden spatula. However, do not use sharp tools to avoid damaging the surface. Wipe away the melting water if it does not drain into the freezer's built-in meltwater outlet and from there into an outside container.

A young blond woman coming home and putting a beige grocery bag on the hall floor.
It's so nice to store treats in a clean fridge-freezer after coming back from the shop.

4. Clean the surfaces − including the outside

Always check the cleaning instructions in the user manual. The cooling appliance doesn't need to be cleaned with chlorine or other strong detergents; simply wiping the surfaces and drawers with a mild cleaning solution is sufficient. Also, ensure the meltwater outlet isn't blocked and unblock it with a cotton swab if necessary.

Don't forget the outside: clean the doors too and vacuum the dust from under and behind the appliance.

5. Refill and organise smartly

Allow the surfaces to dry and air out before turning the power back on. The freezer should also cool down sufficiently before you put the food back. Discard expired food and organise the rest so you can quickly find the food supplies you're looking for in the future. Finally, remember to turn off the freezing function.

Sources (in Finnish): Martat, Kiinteistölehti, Kotiliesi