How to Defrost a Freezer That Is Frozen Shut

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Make sure to defrost your freezer at least once a year.
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A freezer door that's frozen shut could be due to a faulty door seal or because it hasn't been defrosted in a while. The freezer should be defrosted at least once a year to keep ice from building up on rails or around the interior of the compartment.

You may encounter other freezer issues, such as a Samsung freezer drawer that won't open all the way. This may be because it's partially frozen or has ice buildup blocking its path. A partial freeze, such as a Whirlpool freezer drawer that won't open, can be quickly and safely resolved with the right methods and tools.

Unplug to Defrost a Freezer Door That's Frozen Shut

A freezer can take a few hours to defrost, particularly one that's frozen shut. Before you start, make sure you have a few hours, if not overnight, to allow the ice to melt and release the door. Unplugging the appliance will start the ice-melting process. If the weather is warm, use a fan to circulate that warm air around the freezer. This will speed up the melting process.

Defrosting a freezer isn't a difficult job, but it certainly can create quite a mess. A wet floor can create a slippery and unsafe surface, so be sure to place a layer of towels around the base of the appliance to catch the melting ice. The towels will also stop the water from spreading and creating a larger mess on the floor. A layer of newspapers can also cut down on puddles of water gathering around the freezer as you work.

Hair Dryer to Defrost a Freezer

Once you're able to open the freezer door, inspect the inside. If there's still a buildup of ice inside the freezer, you'll want to thaw it before using the appliance again. A hair dryer can be used to accelerate the melting process.

When using a hair dryer to defrost a freezer, make sure that the cord and dryer stay a few inches away from the surface of the freezer. Compact Appliance recommends that the hair dryer is continually moved around so that one spot isn't subject to direct heat for a prolonged period. Keep the heat from the hair dryer away from the coils and metal parts of the appliance to prevent damaging these sensitive parts.

Hot Water to Defrost a Freezer

Placing a bowl of steaming hot water in the freezer for 15 minutes will also expedite the defrosting process, according to Summit Appliance. They also recommend that the appliance remain unplugged when you begin a deep defrost to remove inches of ice from within the freezer. Note that food inside the freezer may not be safe for consumption when the appliance is left unplugged for an extended period.

Once all of the ice has melted, clean and thoroughly dry the freezer before plugging it back in for further use.

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Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.

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