Cleaning Your Freezer Doesn't Have To Be An All-Day Event

Whether it's spring cleaning or a giant mess you need to tackle, cleaning the freezer is far from everyone's favorite activity. If you're anything like us, your freezer is full of things you need to throw out like those leftovers you were definitely going to eat until you weren't. Although it requires a bit of elbow grease and hard work, there are a few methods that'll make deep cleaning the freezer a little less strenuous. While it's good practice to do a simple freezer cleaning once every month, it's recommended to do a deep cleaning once a year to keep your freezer fresh and working well.

Just like with your refrigerator, you'll want to get into the nooks and crannies of the freezer in order to get it squeaky clean. You'll first need to empty everything out of the freezer and put it into a cooler to keep it all frozen. While you're dumping everything into the cooler, check for items that have shards of ice, which can indicate freezer burn, and toss those items. While you're tossing stuff, throw out any food you shouldn't store in your freezer in the first place like leftover fried food. Once you have your food cleared out, the rest of the process should move pretty quickly, ensuring you'll have time to relax at the end of the job.

To defrost or not to defrost

The major time killer that will turn your freezer cleaning job from a few hours to all day is the defrosting of the entire freezer. Some people will say that to get a real deep clean, you need to completely unplug and defrost the freezer. Others say you can avoid defrosting unless there's been a major, smelly spill or a prolonged period of time when it hasn't been plugged in. If you want to take the full defrost route, you'll need to unplug your freezer and turn it completely off while it defrosts. The process will take hours, so it's safe to let it thaw overnight so long as you leave towels or rags to catch any water.

Whether you fully defrost or not, the next steps are the same and are similar to those you take when cleaning your fridge. You'll want to take a rag and some hot, soapy water and clean the crevices of the interior spaces, door, and drawers. Don't forget to clean the ice maker. If you have an ice storage container, dump the ice and give it a good clean to prevent cross-contamination and remove gunk. Once your freezer is nice and clean, you can load all your frozen foods back in until the next time.