Chances are, you expect your freezer to hold a lot of things, but mold probably isn't one of them. Unfortunately, if a freezer is left to defrost with its door kept closed, mold may grow within the moist and increasingly warm environment. With a bit of elbow grease and some products you likely already have around the house, you can get this cleaned up in no time.
Important Safety Considerations
Before you get started cleaning the mold out of your freezer, be sure the appliance is unplugged. It's a good idea to turn the power off at the circuit breaker just to avoid any potential hazards.
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If you'll be moving the freezer at all during the cleaning process, get help from another able-bodied adult to ensure you don't injure yourself. Freezers also pose a tipping hazard.
In addition, the mold that has grown within the freezer is hazardous to your health. If the freezer has been closed for a prolonged period, the mold spores may be very concentrated and harmful for you to breathe in. Ideally, you should wear a mask and disposable gloves while cleaning out the freezer.
Cleaning Mold in Freezers
When you open the freezer, have a towel and bucket handy to mop up any excess liquid. Depending on the type of freezer you have, there may be accumulated water inside. This is more likely in the case of a freezer that requires a manual defrost. This makes it especially important to ensure the appliance is unplugged in case water spills or pools near the power source.
Merry Maids suggests mixing equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritzing the inside of the freezer before using a paper towel to wipe away the mold. You'll likely need to use many paper towels and respray the interior surface of the freezer until you start to get most of the mold off. Keep a trash bag or can adjacent to you while you work so you can dispose of the paper towels right away to avoid creating an additional mess.
If the freezer is extremely moldy, spray the vinegar and water on the interior and let it sit for at least 20 minutes to give it time to take action on the mold and begin to dissolve it. You can also use a bristled brush or sponge with a rough coating to remove tough mold. As you clean, be sure to thoroughly access all nooks and crannies of the freezer, as well as the rubber gasket around the door.
Cleaning a Deep Freezer
The best way to clean a deep freezer is similar to the best way to clean a more traditional refrigerator-freezer combination. You can still use paper towels and a mixture of vinegar and water to do the job. However, you may need to manually defrost the freezer before doing so unless it's a fridge in storage that has mold.
When manually defrosting a moldy freezer, it's particularly important to line the floor with towels and have a bucket or pan at the ready to catch water. You'll want to wait right by the freezer and mop up the water, as well as dump your bucket or pan, as the freezer defrosts. Moldy water could make you sick and create additional messes as you attempt to clean the appliance.
For extremely moldy freezers or tough jobs that leave stains, Mold Advisor instructs users to try RMR-141, a powerful anti-mold agent.