How can I defrost a refrigerator quickly

Defrosting the refrigerator: this is quick & clean | Tips

Defrosting the refrigerator or freezer is a tedious task - but it pays off. Eight tips on how to do it particularly quickly without damaging food.

The ice in the fridge, freezer or fridge-freezer is created because food releases moisture, which then freezes. This acts like an insulating layer on the inside walls of the device. This increases power consumption - and significantly.

This refrigerator bug will cost you money

Frozen cooling compartments cost an unnecessarily high amount of energy, as the cold first has to get into the interior through the layers of ice. Consumption increases of up to 50 percent are possible with a one centimeter thick layer of frost.

1. How often does the refrigerator need to be defrosted?

Regular defrosting is important. You should therefore defrost the refrigerator at least once a year. If the cooling capacity is set very high, defrosting may also be necessary every six months.

Older devices build up thick layers of ice on the inside over time, but modern products have automatic defrosting. But winter is also a good opportunity for these chests to wipe them through in peace. It is best to plan this action long-term so that you can work towards it with the stockpiling and there is only as little food as possible in the refrigerator.

2. The best time to defrost

Icing in a refrigerator: A layer of ice forms quickly - and should be removed regularly. (Source: MiS / imago images)

It is best to defrost it before you go on holiday or on cold winter days. The latter are particularly suitable. Because then you can store your food on the terrace and balcony and it will remain in its chilled or frozen state - even if it takes several hours to defrost.

3. What to do with the groceries?

Switch off the refrigerator before you start defrosting and clearing out. Otherwise the thermostat could react to the suddenly penetrating heat with increased cooling capacity and overheat in the process.

There are several methods of bringing the food safely through the defrosting time. The easiest way is to store the refrigerated goods outside at low temperatures, for example on the balcony or terrace. A cold cellar is also suitable for storage for the duration of defrosting.

You can pack frozen food from the freezer compartment together with ice packs in a cooler bag. But also a thick wrapping of newspaper or blankets prevents unwanted thawing of the food. If you have helpful neighbors with an empty refrigerator, you may be able to store the groceries with them for a short time.

Tip: Clean the refrigerator quickly, especially the freezer compartments. The temperature in a conventional freezer is minus 18 degrees. Most of the time, you can't store frozen food that cold outside.

4. These foods can be put on the balcony in winter

If you want to store food on the balcony, you should consider a few things. Almost all types of vegetables can be stored outside at an outside temperature of up to ten degrees. Exceptions are:

  • Eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins

Even local fruit stays fresh this way. Dairy products like it a little colder, they can be stored outdoors up to an outside temperature of up to seven degrees. Eggs, butter and jam stay fresh even at temperatures of up to twelve degrees.

Of course, all food must always be well packaged. In addition, you should always keep an eye on the weather report and temperature fluctuations. Perishable foods such as cooked meals or fresh meat and fish should generally be stored in the refrigerator.

5. Defrost the freezer compartment quickly and safely

Cooling compartments: With a few tricks, even thick layers of ice can be removed without flooding.

Once you've turned the refrigerator off, it is usually enough to just leave the refrigerator door open so it can slowly defrost. The defrosting process can also be accelerated so that you don't have to keep the food out of the refrigerator for too long.

The freezer compartment defrosts faster, for example, if you put in a bowl or saucepan with hot water. Then close the door, however, so that the heat can take effect. Under no circumstances should you accelerate the defrosting process mechanically, e.g. with a screwdriver or a knife. You can easily damage the coating or pierce a cooling fin and break the refrigerator. A hairline crack in the lines is enough to permanently damage the device.

If you are very impatient, you can use a hot hair dryer to blow warm air into the icy compartments from a distance. Make sure that you do not hold the hair dryer too close to the refrigerator, so that on the one hand no defrosting water gets into the hair dryer and triggers a short circuit and on the other hand the plastic of the refrigerator does not get too hot and be damaged.

6. Get rid of condensation

The refrigerator is defrosted: A vessel with hot water in the refrigerator accelerates defrosting. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

There are many ways to catch the condensation. With very thin layers of ice, it is sufficient to put a few tea towels or hand towels in and under the refrigerator - preferably terry towels. They're more absorbent. If you need to catch a little more water, you can put a deep baking sheet or drip pan at the very bottom of the fridge or simply use the vegetable drawer to catch it.

This is not enough for thick layers of ice. The best way to remove them is to wait until the ice has thawed slightly and peeled off the walls. Now you can loosen individual chunks of ice with a scraper or spatula - but the tool should be made of wood or plastic, because metal leaves scratches and quirks.

Special absorbent defrosting mats are also available in stores. They are laid out at the bottom of the fridge or freezer and can hold several liters of condensation water. Depending on the manufacturer and the suction volume, the mats usually cost between 10 and 15 euros.

7. Clean the refrigerator after defrosting

If it is already empty and warmed up, there is a good opportunity to clean the refrigerator right away. Because so that germs do not spread inside, it should be cleaned at least once a month.

You do not need any aggressive disinfectants for this. Warm water, a fresh cloth and mild all-purpose cleaner, vinegar or washing-up liquid are sufficient to remove surface germs as well as dirt and grease. Vinegar not only cleans and disinfects, it can even remove unpleasant odors that may have developed in the refrigerator.

Don't forget the rubber seal when cleaning. This will last longer if you rub some baby powder on it after cleaning it.

8. Protect the refrigerator from the next icing up

To prevent the ice from sticking so easily in the future, you can either coat the empty freezer compartment with a thin layer of olive or sunflower oil or lay out a layer of baking paper.

Fridge-freezer combinations that can be switched on and off separately are also useful. This is not only helpful when defrosting, but also during a vacation, when the refrigerator may be empty but the freezer is not.

Tip: Devices with an acoustic warning signal draw attention to an open door. Because if the door is left open too long, no refrigerator or freezer can cool efficiently.

Many modern and high-quality models now have what is known as low-frost technology, which on the one hand reduces the formation of frost and at the same time makes defrosting easier. Devices with the No-Frost technology no longer have to be defrosted at all, the resulting humidity is constantly diverted to the outside and freezing is prevented.

To keep your electricity bill low, it also helps to open the doors as rarely as possible. Every time you open it, the refrigerator warms up, and cooling the temperature down again costs energy.