What Is the Fastest Way to Defrost a Freezer?

Defrosting a freezer usually takes about several hours, but there are methods to speed the process up. Unplugging the freezer is generally the quickest way to achieve an overall higher temperature. In combination with a fan to blow in warm air, a pot of boiling water to add heat and possibly a hairdryer to blow in even more heated air, you can reduce the time spent on the project. Towels, buckets and an ice scraper are all necessary tools.

Definition of Defrosting Freezer

Defrosting a freezer refers to the process of removing the ice that builds up while a freezer is in use. Since the air and food that goes into freezers contains water vapor, this vapor is often trapped in the freezer, where it adheres to the walls or shelves and freezes. Over time, this buildup can inhibit the functions of the freezer and cause both practical and mechanical problems. Defrosting is done by melting and removing these ice deposits with various methods, depending on how much time you have and the type of freezer.

The Unplugging Method

The fastest method for defrosting a freezer is also one of the most simple--simply unplugging it and letting it sit. Without actively operating, the freezer's temperature will rise and the ice will melt and soften enough to be removed. Certain freezers have a "defrost" setting that will aid in this process, but some people prefer to unplug the appliance to save on electricity. Even at its most efficient, this process usually takes several hours.


There are several important steps to follow when using the simply unplug method of defrosting. You must first transfer any food to another freezer or a cold area where it will stay frozen. You will also need a collection of towels to help absorb the melting ice, along with a bucket or buckets to catch any dripping water and for wringing out the towels. Many people also use an ice scraper or similar tool to scrape the ice deposits off as they become removable.

Speeding Up the Process

There are several methods of increasing the heat applied to the freezer and speeding up the defrosting process. Used in conjunction, they can significantly reduce the time spent defrosting. Fans can be used to blow air into the freezer. Since outside air is almost always warmer than air in the freezer, this will keep the air circulating and the frost melting faster.

In similar fashion, you can also place pots of boiling water in the freezer to heat it up. The steam will warm the air and aid in the removal process, although the pots should be switched out every 10 minutes or so to keep the steam hot enough to be effective. Some also choose to use a hairdryer to apply heated air to the freezer. This method is effective, but it can also be dangerous, since the melting water may cause an electrical short and harm the defroster.


The most efficient way to defrost a freezer lies within the freezer's self-maintenance capabilities. Modern freezers can automatically prevent ice buildup, removing or neutralizing the water vapor before it can freeze within the freezer.