Fixing A Freezer That’s Frozen Over: 6 Steps To Clear It


Are you frustrated because your freezer has frozen over? If so, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do to fix this. Fortunately, there are several options available to you. Now, under normal circumstances, a freezer should never freeze over – in fact, it’s designed not to. So, if you notice that this is happening, there’s clearly something wrong.

There are several ways you can fix a freezer that has frozen over. But before we go into that, you need to understand that there are different scenarios you can encounter. If you notice solid ice, this indicates a defrost issue, whereas if you spot the same solid ice at the bottom of the appliance, this is likely due to a clogged defrost drain line. And if you notice frost, there’s typically an air leak somewhere.

Many of these issues could be caused by something as simple as leaving the freezer door open just a crack for long periods. So, without further ado, let’s see what you can do to stop this from happening immediately.

Read on to find all the answers you’ve been looking for!

What You Will Need To Remove Frost Buildup in the Freezer

If you have a lot of frost build-up in the freezer, you will not need a lot of materials. You need to make sure you have a wooden spoon or a spatula. This will be important for manually knocking some of the ice off of the inside of the freezer. You might also want to have a bowl of warm water if you would like this process to go faster. It is also a good idea for you to have a pair of gloves, so you can protect yourself against the cold temperatures. 

You also need to make sure you have plenty of towels. All of the ice that you removed from the inside of the freezer has to go somewhere. You need to make sure it goes on the table and not on the floor. If you allow a bunch of ice to land on your floors, it is going to melt, leading to water damage. Once you have all of these materials, it is time to get started.

Now, it should be noted that this is only a temporary solution. To address this permanently, you’ll have to determine the cause behind the situation, as the issue will certainly return otherwise.

6 Steps To Fix a Freezer That Has Frozen Over

There are several steps you need to follow if you are looking for a way to fix a freezer that has frozen over. They include: 

Step 1: Remove Everything from the Freezer

Start by emptying the freezer. Yes – even the ice cream too!

If you want to fix a freezer that has frozen over, the first thing you have to do is remove everything from the freezer. When you fix a freezer that has frozen over, you need to remove the ice from the inside. As a result, the freezer was going to get warm. The door is also going to be open for the duration of the process.

If you do not want the food to spoil, you need to put it somewhere else. Fortunately, you have several options available. You may want to move it to the refrigerator instead. If you do this, make sure you put all the freezer food together. This, of course, will not entirely stop the thawing-out process, only slow it down.

Another option is to take the food and put it in a cooler. If you put the food in the cooler, make sure put plenty of ice and freezer packs on top of the food. That way, you make sure it does not warm up.

After you have removed all the food, you are ready to start the warming process. This will help you get rid of the excess ice in the freezer.

Step 2: Unplug the Freezer

After all the food is gone, it is time to unplug the freezer. You may need to have someone help you slightly move the freezer out of the slot. That way, you can see the cord, and you can reduce the chances of hurting yourself in the process. Simply remove the cord and allow the freezer to warm up.

During this time, you should also leave the door open. That way, the freezer will warm up faster. If you close the door, the freezer is going to stay cold for a longer. You can use a hair dryer or a steamer to help the process happen quicker.

While the freezer is warming up, there are other things you can accomplish to fix the freezer. 

Step 3: Remove the Shelves and Set Up the Towels

After this, you need to remove the shelves from the freezer. The shelves are probably dirty and they need to be cleaned. It is easier for you to clean the shelves if they are not in the freezer. When you take the shelves out of the freezer, you should put them in the sink. That way, when the ice on top of the shelves begins to melt, it does not go all over the floor. 

Note: please be careful not to drop the glass shelves, as they can be expensive. Sometimes, they’re not securely attached to the shelf you’re moving, so make sure that you hold on to the glass more than the shelf frame while moving them.

After the shelves that are in the sink, you can clean them using some soap and water. It should not take anything special to remove dust, dirt, food, and debris from the shelves. A bit of warm water and some cleaning solution should do the trick to avoid frost/moisture buildup. Let the shelves dry completely before returning them to the freezer.

Speaking of having water go all over the floor, you need to make sure this does not happen. As the ice in the freezer begins to melt, it is going to spill out of the freezer. You should put towels underneath the freezer to prevent your floors from accumulating water damage and also remove the ice bin if needed. 

The freezer is incredibly heavy, and you need to make sure you do not hurt yourself. You may need to have someone help you lift up the freezer before you slide the towels underneath. It is entirely possible that you may use every towel in your home during this process. The faster the freezer warms up, the faster the water is going to land on the floor. 

Step 4: Let the Freezer Sit

Leave the ice to melt for a few hours

Once you have done all of this, it is time to let the freezer sit for a few hours. It is going to take between two and four hours for your freezer to warm up. Therefore, it is going to take this long for the ice in the freezer to melt as well. 

If you would like the process to go faster, you may want to get a bowl of warm water (not boiling) and gently toss it inside the freezer. You should not toss all the water in the freezer at the same time. Otherwise, you will run the risk of damaging the appliance. You can also try placing a hot pot of water in the freezer and letting it sit there to help thaw everything out. Just keep an eye on things, and make sure that the hot pot doesn’t melt the appliance’s plastic.

If you have access to a spray bottle, this may be more efficient. You can put the hot water in the spray bottle and spray down the inside of the freezer using the bottle. This is another way you can get the ice to melt faster.

This is also a great opportunity for you to clean the inside of the freezer

Step 5: Clean the Inside of the Freezer

After all of the ice has melted, you will be able to clean the rest of the freezer. There are a lot of cleaning solutions available, and most of them are going to work well. If you are looking for an inexpensive, efficient solution you can use to clean the inside of the freezer, you might want to mix one tablespoon of dish soap with approximately four cups of water.

After this, take a clean rag and dip it into the solution. Then, use the rag to wipe down the entirety of the freezer. This should be enough to remove anything that is stuck to the inside of the freezer. You will also need to use a dry rag to make sure you remove the solution from the freezer. Otherwise, it is going to freeze, creating the same problem all over again.

There are plenty of other options that will work well as cleaning solutions. For example, you may want to use baking soda, vinegar, or both. You can also use stronger chemicals for cleaning, but if you do, please make sure to wipe down everything perfectly to remove any residue, as your food will be in direct contact with anything you leave there.

Step 6: Plug in the Freezer and Restock it Once Cool

Once you have done all of this, it is time to plug in the freezer again. It is going to take a while for the freezer to cool down. Therefore, you should not move all of the items back into your freezer immediately. The more time the freezer doors open, the more time it will take to cool down again. 

Depending on the size of your freezer, the power of the motor, and the health/age of the compressor, this process could take anywhere from 12–24 hours. You may want to put an external thermostat in the freezer. That way, you can keep track of the temperature as it drops. Once the freezer has gotten cold again, you can put your items back inside.

These are the steps you have to follow if you would like to completely defrostthe freezer. Fortunately, there are other options available if you do not want to wait this long. 

Scrape Out the Freezer with a Plastic Spatula or a Wooden Spoon

Using a plastic spatula or a wooden spoon is one of the fastest ways to remove frost from the inside of the freezer. This is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is hold the utensil in your hand and dig into the ice, knocking it off the edges. Then, you should scrape it out of the freezer into a bucket.

You have to make sure the ice doesn’t land on the floor. Otherwise, you are going to suffer a significant amount of floor damage. You should continue using this process until most of the ice has been removed. Keep in mind that this is not going to get rid of all of the frost, so you will have to do a full defrost from time to time.

It is also a good idea for you to remove the food from the freezer during this process. That way, you can easily access the entirety of the freezer.

Note: If you’re attempting to thaw out the evaporator, please resist the urge to use a chisel or chip away ice manually. This is a sealed system and the evaporator is made out of aluminum, so it can be really easy to damage it, in which case, your freezer is as good as gone.

Prevent Frost Buildup in the Freezer

There are a few ways you can prevent frost from building up in the freezer. First, make sure you do not block the air vents. If you put a bunch of food in front of the air vents, the air is not going to circulate properly. As a result, you will end up with a significant amount of frost in your freezer. 

You should also pay close attention to the thermostat in your freezer. You should set the temperature in the freezer just below 0 degrees F. If you are concerned that your freezer is not at the right temperature, then you may want to place an external thermometer in the freezer to measure the temperature. 

Protect Your Freezer from Harm: Fix a Freezer That Has Frozen Over

These are the basic steps you need to follow if you are looking for a way to fix a freezer that has frozen over. You count on your freezer to get cold. That way, you can prevent your food from spoiling. At the same time, it can also be frustrating if the freezer freezes over. 

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways for you to deal with this problem. If you are willing to go through an entire defrost process, make sure you protect your floors from water damage. It is a good idea to put towels underneath the freezer. If you have questions about the operation of your freezer, you might want to reach out to a professional who can help you. 

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more