How to prevent ice buildup in freezer – 10 great tips

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Frost in freezer can form due to a couple of reasons- the biggest culprits are humid air passing into the freezer, broken door seals, and improper ventilation in the freezer.

Now, this article will teach you how to prevent ice buildup in freezer – You and I know that not only does frost buildup take up precious food storage space but it could also bring about nasty odors (not to mention freezer-burnt foods).

Let’s go:

How to prevent ice buildup in freezer – 10 great tips

Before we get started, here is an important reminder: frost buildup occurs when moisture freezes (the result will ultimately be a sheet of ice in bottom of freezer -and sometimes there will be freezer ice build up on back wall).

Of course, the first step in preventing ice forming in freezer is honing down in on the causes then taking steps to tackle them.

So let’s take a look at what contributes to freezer ice build up and how to prevent the issue (depending on the root cause):


How to prevent ice buildup in freezer – 10 great tips

Tip #1- Don’t open the freezer door as much

This is self-explanatory- Try not to open the freezer door that much. And when you do it, be sure to open it for a shorter duration of time.

Quick Tip: In an ideal world, you want to open the door for not more than one minute (at a time- and once per hour). Organizing your freezer is the first step in reducing the time you will be keeping it open.


Tip #2- Make sure the door is closing and sealing completely

Step 1: Check if the door is actually completely closing

Look around those areas where the lion’s share of ice buildup is forming and see if there is anything you can narrow down to as the key reason keeping the door from closing completely (e.g. too many food items).

I should add there is a simple test you can use to check if the door is completely closing if a visual inspection is not helpful. 


  • Grab a flashlight and put it in the freezer.
  • Next, turn it on then point it right at the door.
  • Lastly, check if there is any light that is shining out.

If you will notice any light coming out, then the door isn’t sealing completely.


Step 2: Check the door seal itself

Inspect the seal (around the door –also called door gasket)- If it is warped or damaged, then the door is likely to be prevented from closing completely so make sure the seal is corrected/replaced, as necessary.

Quick Tip: Grab a dollar bill then close it (in the freezer door). If you are able to pull it out without resistance, then the seals need to be replaced ASAP.


  • Clean the door seal– use can use warm soapy water –and a soft cloth- to clean the rubber seal, if dirty.
  • Push the seal back into door channel- If you find the seal pulled away (from the door), try to push it back until it fits properly into the channel.
  • Check if anything else is out of its rightful place and return it- carefully try to put back everything that is displaced back into place (if your inspection shows it could be causing the problem).


Step 3: Make sure the Flap (on your Ice dispenser) is closing properly

Warm air will also get into the freezer compartment if the flap (on its ice dispenser) is not able to close properly, leading to ice buildup in your freezer.

With that in mind, it is important to regularly inspect the flap and ensure it is closing properly too (ice and other debris that could be keeping it open need to be cleared).


Tip #3- Take measures to ensure proper ventilation

The next major thing you need to address is the ventilation- as mentioned, lack of proper ventilation is a common cause since moisture is unable to leave the freezer (and eventually forms into frost).

We suggest you do the following to make sure there is good ventilation around the freezer:

  • Do not place food against the back wall- Always make sure there are no food packages (or other food items) resting against the back wall of your freezer.
  • Keep your food spaced out properly- To improve ventilation, the food you keep in the freezer needs to be spaced out as much as is viable.
  • Clear anything that could be blocking the air vent (in the freezer)- For obvious reasons, always check that nothing is blocking the air vent (in your freezer). In fact, it is recommended that you leave 2” of space (in front of its vents at the rear).


Tip #4- Let hot food items cool first

The thing is, hot items put straight into the freezer will cause ice buildup, especially if you live in humid climates(hot food tends to introduce humidity).

For that reason, cool foods (and wipe off any moisture on their packaging) before putting them in the freezer.


Other tips to help you prevent ice build up in freezer

Tip #5- Do not overfill the freezer with food

Overfilling the freezer is not a good thing- it may not only block air vents but also interferes with proper air circulation (by the evaporator fan), potentially causing the formation of frost.


Tip #6- Move your freezer from heat sources

Be sure to keep your freezer away from heat sources such as hot water heaters or a furnace.

The reason is simple: Excessive heat makes it overwork (and this could cause ice buildup in there).


Tip #7- Keep your freezer indoors

Keeping it outdoors also overwork the freeze so keep it indoors (overworking can as well cause ice buildup).


Tip #8- Set the right temp

Your freezer should be set to the temp the manufacturer recommends (an incorrect temp setting could cause increased condensation, leading to eventual frost formation).

Quick Tip: A freezer thermometer can be a good way to keep an eye on the freezer temperature- Make it a habit to track the temperature periodically.


Tip #9- Break up larger food packages

It is easier for the freezer to freeze smaller, airtight food packages (it won’t overwork- remember running on overdrive is the enemy).


Tip #10- Don’t forget scheduled maintenance

Ice buildup can also be a result of faulty parts- defective defrost timer, a damaged defrost thermostat, etc.

The good thing is that malfunctioning parts can be replaced during routine maintenance reducing the chances of your freezer experiencing freezing up issues due to failed parts.


How to prevent ice buildup in freezer – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to eat frozen food with ice crystals?

According to the FDA, frozen food with ice crystals is safe to eat though you may not like its quality.

Why does my freezer have frost all of a sudden?

There are plenty of possible reasons- it may have failed to defrost because of a failed part, it might be overworking due to a wrong temp setting, it may be overstuffed (thus working harder), and more.

Go through the entire article to learn about other possible causes.



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