How to defrost a refrigerator quickly and correctly: step-by-step instructions

Evgenia Kravchenko
Checked by a specialist: Evgenia Kravchenko
Author: Irina Yakushchenko
Last update: June 2019

Happy owners of refrigerators with the No Frost system rarely think about defrosting them, but not everyone was so lucky. If the model does not provide an option to protect against the formation of frost, then a very thick layer of ice will grow very quickly in the refrigerator and freezer.

Devices with defrosting systems also need special care, but less often. We'll figure out what can cause ice formation and how to defrost a refrigerator with minimal time.

What is dangerous about ice?

All refrigerators have to be defrosted - with and without automatic defrosting systems. The difference lies only in the frequency, complexity and duration of the procedure itself. In any case, you can’t do without it.

The biggest mistake a refrigerator owner can make is to ignore the ice problem. This leads only to negative results.

Frozen in the freezer is ugly, uncomfortable and, most unpleasant, expensive. The growths interfere with the normal operation of the camera. Its volume is significantly reduced, so the products have to be put further from the walls.

If the product is in the freezer in a plastic wrap or a thin plastic bag, the package may freeze to a layer of ice.

It will have to be torn off with effort, tearing the shell and sprinkling ice cubes next to the refrigerator on the floor. Puddles form later, and cleaning is required.

Net volume reduction due to frost
If you do not properly care for the refrigerator, the capacity of the freezer decreases sharply, and it is more and more difficult to put food in and out every day. Bags, bags and paper packaging freeze and tear, leaving scraps on the walls of the chamber

The unpleasant appearance and inconvenience of using a frostbitten camera are not the main problems.

Due to the thick layer of ice, it is more difficult to maintain a given temperature. The refrigerator turns on more often, works longer, worse, and consumes additional electricity. It is noticed that the housewives, who timely take care of the freezer, pay less for the light. We talked about the energy consumption of the refrigerator and the methods of saving in this stuff.

The compressor of a refrigerator with a lot of ice wears out faster and its life is reduced. Its replacement is an expensive type of repair, which costs almost half the cost of the device itself.

Proper refrigerator care
Timely defrosting of the refrigerator prevents a lot of trouble: from overpayments on electricity bills to the cost of replacing a compressor

There are certain recommendations regarding the frequency of defrosting the refrigerator, however, you should focus not so much on the theory as on the actual amount of ice.

The reasons and the rate of frost formation are different, so sometimes you have to clean the freezer more often than manufacturers of household appliances advise.

Causes of frost in the refrigerator

When the door is opened, moisture enters the freezer, and it also evaporates from stored foods. Steam condenses on the walls of the device, and the resulting drops of water freeze. So the freezer and refrigerator are covered with hoarfrost.

Gradually, its layer grows, becomes thicker and turns into a powerful ice, which begins to interfere with the normal operation of the compressor.

In the summer, the formation of frost in the refrigerator is accelerated, because Hot air enters the chamber. The compressor is already working in heavy duty, and ice creates an additional load.

To prevent compressor failure, it is better to shorten the intervals between defrosting the appliance. But in winter you can relax and take care of the refrigerator a little less.

Clean refrigerator after defrosting
Winter is the period when refrigerator maintenance is facilitated. Firstly, it does not have to be defrosted often. And secondly, the service time of the freezer is not important, because Food can be taken out onto the balcony. If the temperature in the street is below zero, nothing threatens them

It happens that ice appears too quickly, and this is an alarm.

The frost formation rate increases sharply if:

  1. In the heat, the refrigerator is turned on to the maximum. The desire to preserve the freshness of products in hot weather is understandable, but still you should not start the cooling mode "to the full." The lower the temperature in the chamber, the more moisture settles when hot air bursts when the door is opened. The degree of product cooling still depends only on the settings of the device, and not on the environment.
  2. Superfreeze option works. The superfreeze function is turned on manually when you need to urgently freeze a large amount of products (for example, if you make preparations for the winter). There are models where the option works in automatic mode, but in most cases the user controls it.If you forget to turn off superfreezing, the refrigerator will work intensively and freeze heavily.

If you have to constantly defrost the refrigerator, you should make sure that the settings for the cooling mode are set correctly, and if necessary, correct.

Gum Replacement
If the back of the refrigerator or freezer is too quickly covered with ice, this could be a malfunction. The most common cause is a rubber band or a malfunction in the thermostat

If a malfunction is suspected, the sealing tape on the refrigerator door is checked first. If the cause of frost lies in an elastic band that is damaged or has ceased to provide a tight fit for the door to the refrigerator body, you will have to think about seal replacement.

If everything is in order with the sealant and the cause of freezing is not in the features of operation, then the probability of more serious breakdowns is high.

Refrigerant leakage
Leakage of freon leads to the formation of an uneven local ice, but this is not the most unpleasant moment. Due to a lack of refrigerant, the engine overheats, which can cause much bigger problems. If a leak is suspected, contact a service center.

Intensive freezing of the freezer is not always associated with the “human factor”.

Often this is a sign breakdowns, especially if after defrosting the cooling function of the device is violated.

Icing the back of the refrigerator
If the back wall of the refrigerator freezes and the temperature in the chamber is higher than this, this is a classic sign of a worn out seal. It should be replaced, and it is better to entrust such work to the master of the service center

Symptoms and possible causes:

  1. Ice appears on the back of the refrigerator compartment, and the temperature in the chamber is too low. It happens if temperature controller breaks down. The device ceases to maintain the desired temperature, often turns on and works for a long time. The wall of the refrigerator does not have time to thaw; a layer of ice accumulates on it.
  2. The refrigerator does not turn off, but the temperature in the chamber is still too high, and ice forms on the back wall. Such signs appear if the normal circulation of the refrigerant through the capillary pipe is disturbed. Sometimes it becomes clogged due to thickened engine oil, which forms a lump and blocks the lumen in the tube.
  3. The refrigerator works intensively and rarely turns off, and ice appears in the corner. These are signs of a freon leak. One of the most unpleasant breakdowns, because It is unlikely to be able to cope on their own. You must call the wizard to fix the leak and Freon system refills.
  4. Local icing of the rear wall of the refrigerator compartment. There is a possibility that a violation of the thermal insulation layer of the device manifests itself in this way. This area should be replaced.
  5. The temperature in the refrigerator is too low, in the freezer too high, and the wall of the appliance is covered with ice. This happens if the solenoid valve that controls the cooling system breaks and “stiffens” in one position. Normally, it should cool both chambers alternately.

The refrigerator, even if it is equipped with the best automatic defrosting system, must be defrosted on time, monitor its operation and control the degree of icing. Attentiveness to household appliances will help prevent many problems.

Step-by-step instructions for proper defrosting

For a working refrigerator with a modern defrosting system, defrosting is a routine that takes a minimum of time.

It should be carried out twice a year, and more "for show", because A small amount of hoarfrost accumulates only in the freezer. Drops of water may appear in the refrigerator compartment, but there is no ice.

Defrosting and washing the refrigerator
Although experts recommend defrosting refrigerators once every six months, many housewives carry out the procedure even less often - once a year.There is nothing to worry about if the model is equipped with the No frost or Frost free option (for two-compressor ones it is Full No Frost)

Obsolete models without auto-defrosting are faster covered with ice. As soon as this happens, you need to immediately take up the refrigerator - defrost, wash and thoroughly dry.

Step # 1 - disconnecting from the power supply

The temperature controller is transferred to the number 0, and then just unplug the plug from the outlet. Defrosting should be carried out when the device is completely disconnected from the power supply.

Defrosting refrigerator
The door is opened wide open. If one chamber of a two-compressor model is thawed, the second door must be tightly closed

Step # 2 - release unit chambers

All products must be removed from the freezer and refrigerator compartments. If the defrost is planned, it is better to take care in advance so that there is nothing perishable, and the freezer is empty.

In winter, the products are transferred to the balcony, and in the summer they are put in a basin and placed in a bathtub with cold water. This helps keep them fresh for the coming hours.

If you have to defrost the refrigerator on a hot day, it makes sense especially for such a case to buy an isothermal package in a hardware store. Ice packs can help reduce temperature and prevent food spoilage.

An alternative is to pack frozen foods in foil polyethylene or heat insulating material with a reflective layer.

Two-chamber two-compressor refrigerator
If you have to defrost a two-compressor refrigerator, the task of preserving products is extremely simplified. The cameras are turned off individually, transferring perishable food to working compartments

When the refrigerator is free, it remains to remove the shelves, lattices, trays, egg containers and other removable items.

Do not remove them with stored products. Due to the gravity of the contents and the temperature difference, the plastic may burst.

Step # 3 - collecting melt water

Some models have melt water trays. If they are, the problem of fluid collection is solved. It is enough to place hygroscopic towels under the container and leave for the time of defrosting.

Water collecting plate
If there are no containers, then you can put a tray, a wide bowl or pan in the refrigerator. Large towels are put in the freezer

Step # 4 - defrost procedure

For defrosting, no extra effort is needed. Simply leave the refrigerator door open and take care of collecting water. After a few hours, the ice will thaw.

The ideal option is to leave the refrigerator to defrost all night.

Faster defrosting of the refrigerator
Hot water helps to speed up the process of melting ice. The only caveat: a bowl cannot be placed on plastic. The liquid must be very hot, and a plate should be placed under the container

If the ice layer is thick and the refrigerator needs to be turned on as quickly as possible, the process is accelerated.

There are several simple and safe methods:

  1. Warmer. If the house has a rubber medical heating pad, it is filled with water and placed on the bottom of the freezer over a towel.
  2. Hot water tank. Heated steam will provoke accelerated melting. If there is too much ice and the water cools quickly, the procedure can be repeated. In an hour, pieces of ice will begin to crack.
  3. Spraying. You can simply spray the walls of the freezer with a special spray or hot water from a spray bottle. An alternative is to wipe the ice with a rag soaked in hot water. The main thing is not to get burned.
  4. Fan. If the kitchen is warm, you can install a fan by directing it into the freezer. You can also use a heater or a hairdryer, but you must be very careful that the hot air does not dry out the seal and the power cable does not come into contact with water.

The most controversial method of defrosting is with a hairdryer, heater or fan heater. On the one hand, it works.

But on the other hand, the risks are too high: if warm air enters the sealing rubber, it will lose elasticity and cease to fulfill its functions.

Risky defrosting method
It is better not to use fan heaters and hair dryers. If the sealant loses its tightness, ice will appear several times faster than before. Replacing rubber is an expensive pleasure, so it’s better not to experiment

Categorically it is impossible to chip pieces of ice with a knife. It can penetrate plastic and thin piping through which refrigerant circulates. This will cause freon leakage and costly repairs.

A large amount of water will remain in the container or pan, which is glass during defrosting. It must be collected and wipe well on wet surfaces.

Step # 5 - washing and cleaning the refrigerator

If any shelves or racks have not been removed previously, they must be removed. All items are thoroughly washed with the help of storefront or homemade detergents. You can use a dishwasher.

After cleaning, the parts are left to dry and wipe the packaging of products that show signs of contamination. Putting them back in the refrigerator can only be clean, otherwise an unpleasant odor will soon appear in the chamber.

Soda and vinegar for washing the refrigerator
You can independently prepare a detergent composition based on soda. To do this, dissolve 2 tbsp in 5 l of water. soda. If you need to get rid of the smell, then water with vinegar is more suitable (2 tbsp.spoons of vinegar are poured into a liter of water)

The refrigerator is washed from top to bottom. For internal and external surfaces, the same solution can be used.

The drain hole located on the rear wall of the compartment is not only washed, but also thoroughly disinfected, as from here it can smell bad. Detergent is poured into inaccessible recesses with a syringe.

Cleaning the refrigerator condenser
After defrosting, it is advisable to clean the condenser of the refrigerator. As a tool to remove dust lumps, a vacuum cleaner is suitable. If the location of the device does not allow to reach the vacuum cleaner tube, you will have to do with a narrow brush

Crumbs and liquid residues accumulate in the sealing tape, so folds should also be cleaned.

A great tool is a toothbrush. A tool is better to choose based on soda, because due to vinegar, rubber may dry out. It is important that there is no water remaining in the seal. After cleaning and washing it is wiped dry.

Step # 6 - total drying and filling

All surfaces are thoroughly wiped and left to dry completely. You can blow open the refrigerator from the fan. This will speed up the process.

Shelves and containers are put in place when the refrigerator is completely dry. The device is connected to the network and left to work for half an hour.

Refrigerator after defrosting
It is important to wait about 30 minutes for the temperature in the chambers to drop enough so that you can return products to them

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

There are many defrosting methods. We offer videos that clearly demonstrate how to properly accelerate thawing of ice. Proper defrosting of the refrigerator and subsequent maintenance:

Ultra-fast defrosting using several pots of hot water:

If you do not “start” the refrigerator and monitor its technical condition, the entire procedure for defrosting and cleaning it will take no more than a couple of hours.

To prevent the chambers from becoming covered with ice, store food in sealed containers and special containers. Then the products will remain fresh for a long time, and there will be no difficulties when defrosting the appliance.

Trying to defrost your refrigerator, but are you having problems? Describe in detail your situation in the comments section, and our experts will try to help you.

If you use the author's method of safe defrosting and want to share it with other users, tell us about it below this article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. I believe that launching a freezer so that “half a meter” of ice forms on its walls can only be terrible lazy people. I have such a sister. I grumbled at her, not understanding how to launch to such an extent. I started to tell her, she was offended that I was not in my own business. But then she bought a normal refrigerator, in which the snow "coat" and frost do not appear at all, otherwise it would continue. And before, we all had to defrost refrigerators. And thawed. So what to do?

    • Expert
      Evgenia Kravchenko

      Now you rarely see old refrigerators that need to be defrosted every few months. No Frost technology or dry freezing allows not to defrost the refrigerator for a year, not to mention the fact that the products are stored for longer.

      If ice begins to form actively in a refrigerator with dry-freeze technology, this indicates a technical problem. Most often, the problem lies in the incorrect operation of the defrost heater. It looks like this, but I do not recommend repairing it myself if there is no experience and a suitable tool.

      Other common causes are blockage in the drain pipe and damage to the seal.

      Attached photos:
  2. Lyudmila Savelyeva

    We have a NORD refrigerator, 2005. I really like it, it works quietly, it freezes very well, but there is no know-how frost system. Then she simply was not there. It is necessary to defrost it at least once every 2 months, otherwise a very large layer of ice accumulates in the freezer. For me, this is a familiar thing. I turn off the refrigerator from the outlet, I take out all the products. it’s good when it’s winter, you can hide everything on the balcony, it’s worse in the summer, you have to put it in a bowl from above to cover it with frozen food and cover it with some kind of jacket. It looks like a thermos. A couple of hours can withstand. I put a bowl of warm water and collect ice, which breaks and falls. I wait when it unfreezes completely, then mine. It usually takes me about 2 hours, no less.

  3. Semen

    For me it was generally surprising that modern refrigerators need to be defrosted, and even periodically. But here he was faced with such a need. Of course, I will unfreeze it, but I will challenge the master. Let him seek what is the matter.