How to easily clean your freezer without turning it off

It’s always a cleaning task that gets pushed down the list, but cleaning out your freezer is actually quite important.

Not only does it help remove odors and food that’s too far gone, but it also helps to remove any build-up that keeps your freezer from running efficiently.

Luckily, you can clean out your freezer without needing to turn it off completely, saving you tons of time! Here’s how.

quickly clean freezer without turning off

The Benefits of Cleaning Out Your Freezer

While not the most exciting task on a cleaning to-do list, there are so many reasons to clean out your freezer a couple of times every year.

  • You remove food spills and mess.
  • You remove odors that can leach into your food.
  • You help your freezer to operate more efficiently.
  • You remove expired food.
  • You take stock of your food situation so you can have less food waste.
  • You get to organize your food so that you are more likely to use it.
clean out your freezer without shutting off the entire fridge
This freezer that’s stuffed full will not operate as efficiently as a neat, tidy, and organized freezer.

>> While we’re at it, you might be interested in this guide on cleaning your oven without chemicals or this post on how to clean your dishwasher.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Freezer Without Defrosting It

1. Get Your Supplies

  • A bowl of hot water and vinegar solution (50/50 works)
  • Cleaning cloths and/or sponge
  • Full-sized towels for the floor
  • Microfiber towels for drying
  • Rubber gloves
  • A cooler for freezer items while cleaning

2. Prep the Area

Put the large towels around the freezer on the floor in case of any drips or melting ice. You’ll also want to put your freezer on the warmest setting while going through this process and leaving the door wide open.

3. Remove freezer items.

You can store the freezer items in the fridge while cleaning it out (if there’s room). Otherwise, you’ll need a cooler to help keep the frozen items as cool as possible.

4. Remove any trays that can be washed in the sink.

Clean the trays with warm soapy water or with some of the vinegar cleaning solution. Set them aside to dry completely before returning at the end of this cleaning process.

In some cases, you may need to clean off ice build-up first (see next step).

5. Use a hot cloth to help remove ice build-up.

You can use plain hot water to heat up your cleaning cloths (or sponge), or your warm vinegar solution works, too. Just be sure to wring out your cloths a bit so you’re not adding more liquid to the freezer at this time.

Wipe over any built-up ice patches until they dissolve or break down enough to be physically removed.

how to clean your freezer without defrosting
Use your hot cloths to wipe down and melt ice build-up in the freezer.

6. Wipe down the entire freezer with cleaning solution.

Once the ice build-up is gone, you are ready to give the freezer a proper wipe down. Use the vinegar and warm water cleaning solution (vinegar helps to remove odors) for the walls, shelves, and the seal around the door.

7. Dry the freezer.

You’ll want to keep the moisture level to a minimum in this process so there is less ice build-up opportunity left behind. We recommend having a dry cleaning cloth (microfiber works well) and going over the areas you have wiped down.

8. Let freezer cool again.

Turn the freezer dial to the coldest setting and close the doors for 10-15 minutes so it is ready for your freezer items. In the meantime, dry off the shelves and drawers you removed and washed in step 4.

9. Replace shelves and drawers.

Put the dried shelves and drawers back into the freezer.

10. Replace freezer items

Finally, you can start putting the food back in the freezer where it belongs. Turn the cooling dial to your desired setting, and close the door!

You’re finished!

>> You might also like these kitchen cleaning hacks that save you time.

How often do you clean out your freezer?

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2 thoughts on “How to easily clean your freezer without turning it off”

  1. I haven’t tried printing anything yet. I’m still looking. Lena, I found what I was looking at when I saw something about the blog. It was under the 2nd one. I believe it was called “Cleaning.” I’ll double check.


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I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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