How to Clean a Freezer

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s nothing worse than opening your freezer to find a foul smell. You check all the food you have stored, and it’s all within its expiry date. So, what’s causing the bad smell? The freezer probably needs a thorough cleaning.

Here, we’ll tell you how to clean a freezer correctly.

How to Clean a Freezer The Right Way

Cleaning a freezer is time-consuming and needs breaking some sweat. You’d also have to confront food you have stored for far too long that you forgot what it was.
But don’t fret! The process is easier than you imagine.

Empty the Contents of Your Freezer

First, take the frozen goods out of your freezer and place them in an icebox to keep them cold. Take this time to sort the contents of your freezer: the goods that should be kept and the goods that should be thrown out.

Unplug and Defrost

Turn your freezer off, then unplug it. Make sure to place rags underneath in case of water dripping. Afterward, detach your freezer drawers. Let the freezer defrost. This might take hours; however, you can use a few tricks to speed up this process.

If there is ice buildup, gently pry the ice using a plastic scraper. Ensure not to use a knife or sharp object to avoid scratching your freezer walls. Alternatively, you can set up pots or pans of hot water in the freezer. You can also set up a fan to help circulate the warm air around it.

Detach Removable Racks and Drawers

While waiting for your freezer to defrost, detach your freezer drawers and removable racks. Place them in the sink and let them come to room temperature. Don’t skip this step, especially with glass, since it can break immediately exposed to hot temperatures or vice versa.

Mix a few drops of dishwashing soap or any neutral soap with warm water in a basin. Then, leave them to soak in the soapy water for about 5 minutes before scrubbing them with a sponge. Rinse them with water, then wipe them dry with a clean cloth or leave them on a rack.

Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

The freezer houses your foods, so using non-toxic and food-safe cleaning agents is better. Here are a few recommended cleaning agents and how to use them:


  • Mix white vinegar and warm water using a 1:1 ratio.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution in the freezer.
  • Let the solution sit in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Rub the freezer with a sponge or a cloth gently.
  • Use an old toothbrush to get into the crevices and the corners.
  • Use another cloth dipped in warm water and wipe the surfaces again.

Dishwashing Soap or any Neutral Soap

  • Mix a small amount of dish soap or any neutral soap with warm water in a bowl.
  • Use a sponge or a cloth and dip that into the soap and water mixture.
  • Rub the freezer with that sponge or cloth gently.
  • Use an old toothbrush to get into the crevices and the corners.
  • Use another cloth dipped in clean, warm water and wiped the freezer one more time.

Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Water

  • Mix one part warm water with one part white vinegar and three parts baking soda in a bowl.
  • Use a piece of cloth to rub the paste in the freezer gently.
  • Use another cloth dipped in warm water, then wipe the paste off the freezer. Make sure all the paste is wiped clean.

Let Your Freezer Dry

After cleaning your freezer, ensure it is completely dry; otherwise, the remaining moisture can cause ice to build up again. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Use a dry, clean cloth and wipe the freezer; or you can
  • Leave the freezer door open and let it air dry.

Clean Your Freezer’s Drip Pan and Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils are usually placed in the back of the freezer, and the drip pan is under the freezer. Before accessing these, consult the freezer manual, just in case.
Here’s what to do to clean your drip pan:

  1. Empty your drip pan if it contains any water.
  2. Mix warm water and vinegar into a spray bottle using a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Spray the drip pan with the prepared solution.
  4. Let the solution sit for about 5 to 10 minutes‌.
  5. Scrub the pan with a sponge.
  6. Rinse the pan with warm water and leave it to dry.

Here’s what to do to clean your evaporator coils:

  1. Place a rag underneath the evaporator coils.
  2. Mix dish soap or any neutral soap with warm water.
  3. Place the solution in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the evaporator coils with the solution.
  5. Wipe the coils using a piece of cloth.
  6. Dry the coils with another piece of cloth.

Clean the Outside of your Freezer

Using the remaining cleaning solution, scrub the exterior of your freezer using a sponge, an old toothbrush, or a piece of cloth. Wipe off the outside of the freezer with a damp cloth.

Get Rid of the Odor

These are a few ways you can get rid of the odor from a freezer:

  • Place a jar that contains baking soda in the freezer.
  • Place a jar that contains a cloth saturated with vinegar.
  • Place a bowl or a cup of coffee ground.
  • Place a container with activated charcoal.

You can keep these in your fridge for about 1 to 3 days until the odor is gone before you restock.

Restock Your Freezer

Once the freezer is completely dry, you can attach the drawers and racks you cleaned earlier. Restock your freezer and take the goods back from the icebox.


There is no way to shortcut the process of cleaning a freezer. It requires time and elbow grease, especially the courage to face those long-forgotten frozen foods in the back of the freezer.
Now that it’s all done and you know how to clean a freezer correctly, you have to pat yourself on the back!

After all, you deserve a peaceful rest after all your hard work.

About Emily Leake

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