How Long Does A Freezer Take To Defrost?

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The time has come to defrost your freezer but it’s so long in between defrosting sessions, we need a refresher. The most pressing question might be, how long does it take to defrost a freezer?

It can take anywhere between 4 hours for the ice in freezers to melt depending on the size of the freezer and the amount of ice built up. The process can be sped up to 15-30 minutes depending on your method of choice. If a freezer begins to thaw because of a power shortage, it will take between 18-36 hours.

To get a refresher on how to defrost your freezer and to see how you can speed it up, read below.

How To Defrost A Freezer 

Defrosting a Freezer is not too difficult. The hardest part may be waiting for the ice to melt. The basic steps are as follows.

Unplug Your Freezer 

Unplug or turn off your freezer so that the compressor stops cooling down the air and the ice can start thawing.

Unload The Food Inside

It’s no good to have all of the cardboard and foam from food packaging drown in water or thaw the food, so take the food out and put them in insulated food bags to keep them as cold as possible.

Do Something About The Melting Water

As everything melts, you will need to mop up the excess water with as many towels (beach towels work the best) and rags that you can spare.

A plastic tarp underneath where the water will drain will help to keep water off your floors while the towels soak it all up. Spare towels in the freezer itself wouldn’t hurt either.

Let The Ice Melt On Its Own

The easiest thing to do at this point is to just wait and let the ice melt on its own. This will ensure no accidental damage is sustained to the freezer’s interior.

Clean The Inside Of The Freezer

As the ice finishes melting, you will notice your freezer is a whole lot filthier than you expected!

You’re going to need about 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 4 cups of hot water. With a clean cloth, use your solution to scrub down the racks, sides, and cubbies of the freezer.

Then use a slightly dampened cloth to dry everything. This will save your freezer some effort.

Turn On

Be sure to turn your freezer on and allow it a couple of hours to reach it’s optimal temperature.

Refill The Freezer

Finally, now that the freezer is sparkling and back to full capacity, you can put all of your food back.

How To Speed Up Defrosting A freezer 

Sometimes when we’re faced with a chore we put it off for a while, and then there are the rest of us that put it off way too long and have 3-4” of ice built up. For these desperate cases, we would like some way of speeding up the process. Here are a few methods.

Pot Of Hot Water

Start boiling a large pot of water on your stove. Unplug and empty your freezer as usual. When the water is boiling hot, place it in a bowl in the freezer uncovered, and close the freezer door.

It will take approximately 15-30 minutes based on the size of your freezer and the extent of the build-up, to melt all the ice. You can use ice scrapers periodically to help it along.

A Vacuum Cleaner

Strange but true for chest freezers. Unplug and empty your freezer as usual. Then, with a shop vacuum, take the hose from the sucking side to the blowing side, and stick the other end of the hose into the freezer and shut the lid on top of it. 

After about 20 minutes you will hear the ice collapse. Turn off the vacuum and collect the large chunks of ice in a bucket to be thrown out. As for the water, you can use your vacuum to suck up the water.

How NOT To Defrost A Freezer

Whatever you do, don’t use a hairdryer.

Hairdryers are powerful pieces of machinery designed to dry human hair in a few minutes. So powerful are modern hair dryers in fact, that to try to use one to speed up the thawing process in your freezer could cook the coils or melt the plastic parts within.

What To Do With Food While Your Defrosting A Freezer

When you take your food out of the freezer, put as much of the food in insulated bags and put the food together in one spot on a blanket.

Wrap the blanket around itself to keep the cold on the food from escaping. When the freezer is clean and getting cold again, it will take about 4-8 hours for the freezer to get cold enough to put the food back in.