Your freezer is crowded with layers of ice and frost? High time to defrost it. Get ready for some useful tips of how to best go about defrosting and cleaning your fridge or freezer!
When we open our freezer or fridge door, to collect an Every. bowl for example, warm air enters and mixes with the cold air in the freezer. This then condenses and freezes. The build up of ice in your freezer can negatively impact the freezing of products in your freezer, by delaying their own freezing time. It's therefore important to check other things that could be affecting the quality of your freezer before you defrost. Check for the following: is the door closing properly or is it somehow damaged? Is the freezer organised properly and not blocking anything? Is the compressor working properly? Are the stored products too warm? Is the temperature set properly? Or is the door left open for too long or too often?
Defrosting your freezer is important for a variety of reasons. Firstly, ice can take up valuable room that could otherwise be used to store your food. A layer of ice can also interfere with the door mechanism and mean it doesn't close properly, which affects the cooling. This can also allow warm air to enter (this also happens in the winter FYI) and cause the temperature to rise, harming the products.
Interestingly, ice can act as an insulator (even though it's cold) and cause overheating. This means that your freezer has to work over time to maintain the same cold temperature. In some extreme cases, this can require a 50% increase of energy required to maintain the temperature. Not only is this extremely energy-inefficient but will also increase your monthly bills. And finally, ice build up can compromise the life expectancy of your fridge/freezer overall.
Frost and ice build up is very normal. This can happen when the freezer door is not shut properly or stays open for long periods of time. Frost can also be caused if the sealing of the freezer is broken or old. If ice and frost continue to build up in spite of good treatment, it might be time to invest in a new model.
Regularly defrosting is important. You should defrost your fridge or freezer at least once or twice a year.
The best time of year to defrost is during the winter. That way you can store your frozen foods outside and keep them cold while you defrost.
As the name suggests, no-frost machines prevent the build up of frost and ice. This happens through the regulation of the temperature in the inner compartment of the freezer. The recirculation system ensures that the moisture is adequately distributed and ice formation is thus prevented. These refrigerators or freezer compartments cost more, but the investment is worth it due to the advantages of the no-frost technology mentioned above. Our tip: select a modern appliance in the A++ category, as other classes tend to build up ice faster. This not only saves you on energy costs but also the time needed to remove the annoying layer of ice.
Step 1: Empty freezer
Please check beforehand whether your fridge and freezer are controlled separately. If you own a combined appliance, then you also have to empty the contents of your fridge.
Before you switch the machine off, make sure that you’ve removed all contents. Pay attention that once they’ve thawed that you consume them or store them in a safe place (z.b. Friend or neighbour). Cool boxes are also a good short term option to store your frozen products. Our tip: even a bathtub filled with cold water and ice can help bridge the gap and keep your products cool for the necessary amount of time.
Step 2: Switch off
Switching off your freezer is essential for defrosting. If you don’t, it prevents the ice from melting. Either hit the off button or unplug the fridge/freezer entirely.
Step 3: Collect the water
To protect your kitchen or pantry from flooding, make sure to spread towels, newspaper or containers (flat containers or oven trays) to collect the water from the melting ice and frost.
Step 4: Defrost
Once you’ve unplugged or switched off your freezer, you should just let it rest and wait for the ice to melt. You can just leave it switched off with the door open. Methods to expedite the process (e.g. using a blow dryer or hacking at the ice) can be dangerous or damage the freezer. Remember, that water and electricity DO NOT combine well and can cause fatal injury. If you have very large ice blocks, you can place a pot of boiling water into the freezer. The steam will help the ice melt faster.
Step 5: Clean
Generally, freezers stay cleaner than fridges. That’s because frozen products are less likely to leak and therefore don’t stain as much. Furthermore, it's very hard for bacteria to build or survive at such cold temperatures. Nevertheless, it's never a bad idea to do a quick clean. You won’t need any special equipment for this. A normal cleaning liquid will suffice. Home made recipes like warm water and lemon juice are also sufficient. One of the best home remedies against odours is water and vinegar in the following ratio: 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar for 1 litre of water. Apply, dry and you're done! To avoid unpleasant smells, make sure that all of your items are packed and sealed well. Storing some baking soda in the fridge can also help.
Pro tip: spread a bit of oil on the inner wall of your freezer (olive oil or sunflower). Some people swear that this significantly delays the build up of new ice or frost.
Step 6: Switch back on
Once your freezer has defrosted and been cleaned, you can switch it back on. Depending on the model you have, it could take a few hours until the correct temperature has been reached. Once its cool, you can start re stocking your fridge and freezer with your favourite foods and Every. products!
See? Once defroster, your freezer will feel like new! Not only can you save on energy costs, but it’ll be a weight off your shoulders. More room for more food!
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