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Frost in your freezer can result in many unwanted outcomes- wastage of precious storage space for your goodies, a higher energy bill (frost build up reduces freezer efficiency and it is likely to overwork), and more.
So let us look at what you can do if everything in your freezer is covered in frost…
Hint: Apart from showing you how you can tackle the big solid frosty mess, we will give you tips to prevent ice forming in freezer again.
Everything in freezer covered in frost – how to quickly defrost your freezer
Your first step when you find everything in freezer covered in frost is to move swiftly to try and remove the layers of ice.
The good thing is that there are several simple techniques you can use to get rid of the light ice crystals in freezer (the main cause is air containing moisture leaking into the freezer because of the freezer failing to seal tight).
We suggest that you do the following (unplug it and empty everything that is removable from the freezer first – and keep the food in an insulated bag):
- Use a damp cloth to wipe away light frost from everywhere.
- Take a second cloth and wipe the entire freezer dry.
- With a plastic scraper or even a tool like a butter knife (they don’t have sharp edges), clear out the bigger patches.
Now you will probably be remaining with the heaviest buildup of frost that cannot be cleared by hand.
This will need to be manually defrosted.
Quick Tip: If anything won’t come out at the beginning- for example, a shelf- don’t force it (wait for the ice to start melting- it will eventually come out).
Up next, we show how you can get rid of the heavier ice buildup…
Food in freezer covered in frost – steps to defrost heavier buildup of frost
You’ll now need to defrost your freezer – remember there is no shortcut if you want to avoid the trouble of ice building up in your appliance in the future (apart from defrosting it completely).
To defrost the ice that won’t budge;
Take a blow dryer (hair dryer or blow dryer) and blow hot air where the stubborn ice is to help it melt.
The idea is to use what is available (and safe and practical) to quicken the thawing process.
Once you succeed in clearing the frost build-up, clean and dry everything before re-assembling your freezer – It is a great opportunity for you to do some cleaning rather than wait and be forced to take it apart again in a few weeks’ time to perform scheduled cleaning.
How to get rid of freezer frost – Other methods worth a shot
#1- Let it defrost on its own
If the frost is not extremely heavy (and you have time), you can try to empty it then let it sit un-plugged for about 24 hours. The issue may resolve itself.
Quick Tips (if you will go this route):
- Be prepared for some water on the floor if there is enough frost in it to overflow the drain pan.
- Some scraping may still be needed- Sometimes you may need to scrape some of the ice out (Be careful when scraping ice out- you do not want to be too aggressive).
- After it thaws part of the frost, some of the ice can be removed in fairly large chunks/sheets. If you get enough out, you may just have to dry the freezer with a towel when completely thawed.
#2- Run a forced defrost cycle
If your freezer has this option, running a forced defrost cycle will be an easier way of making it defrost than using a hair dryer or such tools.
Everything in freezer covered in frost – How to prevent freezer frost on food
To prevent the freezer from frosting badly again, you will need to narrow down on the root cause and tackle it.
Below are the biggest causes of the issue and what to do to ensure they don’t trigger the problem again (after you have removed the ice buildup):
#1- Look if something is stuck somewhere
One time I had the problem of ice building up everywhere in my freezer only to find a box of frozen food stuck in the back on inspecting underneath the freezer box.
I immediately removed it and voila! -the problem has never occurred again.
So try to check if a food item may have fallen behind, causing the frosting if you don’t want frost to come back.
Important: Check everywhere you suspect including behind the drawers for misplaced items (even a clip that folks use to seal veggie bags could be the reason).
#2- Check the common causes of the door sealing poorly
Inspect the door seal (gasket) and see if it is broken, split, or otherwise worn down (replacement will be necessary).
Also, check if it is properly fitting- start by running your hand along the seal on all(!) sides and see.
Now, you may even find small items such as leftover bits and plastic ice cubes lodged somewhere along the seal, causing poor sealing of the door.
In addition, the seal may have become dislodged somehow- push it back in place firmly and hopefully, it will fix the fault.
Likewise, a small cup that your kids had dropped between the freezer door and wall might be preventing it from sealing fully.
Also, the door may be closing crookedly because something has gone wrong somewhere with the door.
For example, if one of the gears has slipped a tooth, it will not be shutting all the way so moisture-ridden air will be getting in causing frost buildup problems.
Lastly, check around the door itself and have repairs done (including re-aligning the door if out of alignment) if needed (tighten any loose screws as well).
Quick Tip: Grab a dollar bill then close it (in the freezer door). If it comes out way too easily, then there is a gap that needs sealing(check what exactly is causing the space and tackle it).
#3- Try the Vaseline trick (if the door still won’t seal appropriately)
Take Vaseline and place a very thin layer on the door gasket- it may help the seal(gasket) stay pliable and able to seal properly.
Note: Do not go thick at all- just a very thin coating should work. And be sure to get the whole perimeter sealed.
#4- Re-arrange the packets of food
Re-arranging the packets of food in the freezer may be all you need to do to have the door close tight.
#5- Ensure proper sealing of the drawer(s)
Once you remove the ice from the back of the freezer and under the drawer, ensure the drawer closes and seals properly as well (to prevent the infiltration of air containing moisture).
For instance, even an extension cord may be getting in the way of the drawer and making it not close the seal all the way.
#6- Do not overstuff the freezer
Another probable cause is overfilling the freezer because the compressor will be working too hard(due to reduced air circulation) so make sure that you have spaced out your food properly.
Furthermore, keeping it fully stocked can be helpful as a half-empty freezer can be susceptible to ice buildup again from over-working (it freezes better when full).
#7- Do not open the freezer too frequently (and do not open it for far too long)
Another probable cause of the buildup of ice particles and snow is leaving your freezer open for too long, even if it is sealing all the way.
Additionally, avoid opening it too many times.
#8- Set the correct temp
The problem could be starting because you are having too high a temp on the freezer.
Check and set the manufacturer’s recommended temp.
#9- Clear blockages to the air vent
Also check for any blockage of the air vent as it could be triggering the problem (blocked air vent creates poor airflow).
On top of that, leave at least 2” of space between the vents and the wall.
#10- Do not put warm/hot food directly into the freezer
Hot food will release moisture that can ultimately lead to the issue re-occurring.
#11- Check if defrost drain hole is clogged with ice (you may have forgotten it)
You may also get flaky frost problems again if the defrost drain hole is clogged.
Check and unclog it with a screwdriver/a piece of wire that is long enough (select a stiff wire).
Wrapping it up
You now know what to do if you suddenly everything in freezer covered in frost and hopefully, this will be handy even in solving the problem in the long term.
Keep in mind that most of the newer freezers in the market have a precious frost prevention feature that keeps the issue of frost at bay so you may not need to worry about it, once you upgrade your freezer.