If you don’t have a freezer with a frost free feature, or this has failed, then you’re going to have to face the drudgery of manual defrosting. And with defrosting taking anywhere from 2 hours, to 24 hours for extremely thick ice, it’s a time-consuming job that takes some effort.
But it doesn’t have to take that length of time. We’re here to save you some time and effort by providing natural ways to speed up defrosting. These are all-natural methods, so you won’t be using any chemicals or deicer to melt the ice faster.
Ready, let’s go…
Prep for Defrosting
Before you start the defrosting process, you’ll need to find suitable storage for your frozen foods, and completely disconnect the freezer from the mains power supply. The following are some storage solutions for perishable foods to keep them frozen during the defrost. This is also a good opportunity to “use by date” check all your foods, bin anything that’s out of date or you know you won’t be using.
Store foods in:
- A family or friends freezer
- Cool boxes or bags with ice plates
- Electric portable cool box or camping freezer
- Defrost in winter and keep the frozen food outside in minus temperatures
- Alternatively, run the freezer contents down and start will a fresh restock
When all the freezer compartments are empty and power is cut, you’ll need some large towels on hand to soak up water, and a flat bowl or a baking tray under the appliance to catch the melting ice.
If your freezer is very heavily iced up, use a stiff plastic spatula to help break away ice. Be very careful if you’re using force to break ice away, as you could damage the thin interior plastic of the walls.
You can use one, or a combination of the following methods to speed up the defrost process dramatically.
Salt is one of the oldest elements used for melting ice – we’re not talking about the grit used for roads in winter here, good old table salt will do the trick. It works great for dissolving ice, while not causing any damage to the freezer and odours left behind. The meltwater combines with the salt to assist in deep defrosting and the solution is easily wiped away with a towel.
- Table salt
- Plastic spatula or fish slice
- Towels or large rag
- Rubber washing-up gloves
The type of salt is not that important, although finer grains are better. That means you can choose sea salt, iodized salt, or any variant, as long as it’s fresh. Road salt is at least 94 per cent sodium chloride that is not cleaned, which speeds up the defrosting process but you’ll need to spend time giving the inside of the freezer a good clean afterwards if you chose to use this.
Here’s how this speedy defrost technique works:
- Sprinkle the salt all over any ice patches on bases
- For ice on the roof, put on rubber gloves, take a handful of salt and rub into the ice
- Let the ice soak in for 20 mins, then repeat the process once more
- Break the ice off or use a hot water and salt mix to assist the defrost
- For stubborn ice, use a plastic utensil (don’t use to much force)
All salt should be removed from the freezer before cleaning so that you do not scratch the surfaces. Give everything a good clean and dry before powering your freezer back up.
Compared to the salt method, baking soda is not quite as effective, but works in a similar way to salt by lowering the freezing point. The components of baking soda ensure that no moisture film can form on the surfaces, which then freezes and over time leads to a thick layer of ice. Defrosting the freezer and then treating it with baking soda can avoid this problem. All you need is a tablespoon of baking soda and a warm damp cloth.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Use the same application steps as set out in the salt method above
However, you can use baking soda to reduce the return of frost and ice build-up by doing the following after defrosting;
- Clean and dry inside the freezer after completing a defrost
- Sprinkle a damp cloth with tablespoon of baking soda
- Rub mixture over interior of freezer compartments – back, roof, base, and walls
- All the inside of door – avoiding the rubber seals
- Larger freezers will require more of the mixer
If you defrost the freezer and then use baking soda, this does not prevent you from cleaning and defrosting the appliance. Above all, you should defrost old devices twice a year, while modern models with No-Frost technology should be subjected to the procedure once a year or if a layer of ice has formed despite the technology.
Melt With Hot Water
The hot water method is also often used to defrost the freezer compartment. To do this, boil water, fill it in a heat-resistant bowl and place it in the freezer. Now close the door and the hot steam will speed up the defrosting of the freezer. Over time, the water will cool down again and you should therefore refill the boiling water more often if the layers of ice are particularly thick. Just be careful not to get burned when you put the bowl in the freezer.
Hot Air Hairdryer
For the very brave, there is the option of defrosting the freezer faster with the hairdryer. With this method, you must be particularly careful not to get too close to the freezer compartment when defrosting so that water does not get into the hairdryer. You should also not use a hot air dryer, as this generates temperatures that are far too high, which can damage the cooling device. A normal hair dryer is recommended, even for those that only have low power.
We’ve saved the best method for last. If you really want to defrost your freezer at lightning speed, use a steam cleaner to melt and blast away ice in seconds. You could have your entire freezer defrosted within 20 minutes and ready to be refilled.
This method utilises the power of hot steam and the blasting pressure to remove ice – not elbow grease at all, in fact, using a steam cleaner is quite an enjoyable process. Plus, you don’t need to worry about damaging the inside with hard cleaning objects, and there’s very little cleanup involved.