Frost in a freezer shrinks the space you have available and can make the unit work harder. The snow-like buildup can come from different causes, from leaving your door open for too long to air leaks. You can let the frost melt naturally or you can speed up the process with heat and air to get your freezer up and running again faster.
Prepare the Freezer
Removing snow in freezer spaces can take a while, especially if it's a thick layer. Remove all food from the freezer before you start. Put it in another freezer, coolers or cardboard boxes lined with newspaper.
Unplug the freezer before you start defrosting it. Put some old towels in the freezer to soak up the melting frost so it doesn't leak out onto your floor. You can also put a towel on the floor at the base of the freezer in case anything leaks.
Let Frost in a Freezer Melt
The easiest method to clear ice buildup in freezer spaces is to let it thaw naturally. It's the slowest method, but it requires the least amount of work from you. You also don't have to worry about damaging any of the freezer components.
Leave the door open to let the warm room air in for faster thawing. Check the towels in the freezer periodically to make sure they're not overly saturated.
Use Hot Water
A little heat accelerates the melting process, but you want to use heat carefully so you don't damage the freezer. A pan of hot water placed on the shelf in the freezer steams up the ice and helps melt it faster. Read your refrigerator owner's manual before using this option. Some warn against it to prevent damage.
Put a folded towel on the shelf to protect it from the hot pan. Boil water in a pan and place it on top of the towel in the freezer. Close the door to lock in the steam for faster melting.
Check on the progress every 10 to 15 minutes. You'll need to replace the pan with more boiling water periodically as the water cools to keep it working. The steam may soften the frost enough so you can easily scrape it off or you can wait for it to melt on its own. If you scrape the ice, use a softer utensil, such as a plastic scraper, so you don't damage the freezer walls.
Blow Air at It
Another heating option is to use a hair dryer, but it's important to follow safety precautions. Keep the hair dryer and cord away from any frost or water to prevent shock. Watch where you're standing to make sure you don't get water on you while you're using the dryer. This method is most effective when you direct the hot air parallel to the walls so the heat melts the backside of the ice to make it come free.
A cooler-air option is to aim a fan at the freezer. The fan draws warm air from the room into the freezer to speed up thawing. This option works best when the room is already warm. It's one of the slower methods, but it may help you defrost your freezer a little faster than letting it melt on its own.
Wash the Freezer
Dry up any remaining melted frost with a fresh towel. Use a bowl of hot, soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge to wash all of the walls. Go over the surfaces again with a fresh cloth to remove any soap. Dry the freezer again with a clean towel before turning it back on.
Plug in your freezer and turn it on to the setting you normally use. Give it about 30 minutes to cool down before you put food back in it.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.