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How to Clean
a Freezer

April 11, 2024

If you use a kitchen cleaning checklist, you’re already a step ahead of most of us. But is your kitchen cleaning checklist as comprehensive as you think it is? If cleaning your freezer hasn’t made the list, you’re not alone. Many of us have never thought of learning how to clean a freezer, much less do it. After all, frozen foods can’t get bacteria, and mildew doesn’t grow in extreme cold, right? Wrong.

Why is Cleaning a Freezer Important?

It’s important to understand that frozen foods won’t stay preserved forever. While it seems your freezer is immune to germs because of the cold temperature, it’s not the case. Mildew and plenty of bacteria thrive in freezing temperatures, so knowing how to disinfect a freezer is essential. These contaminants can cause odors and even illness when the frozen food is prepared and eaten.

To ensure any germs don’t make it back into cold storage, remove everything and take stock. Here is a breakdown of how long you can keep your favorite foods frozen before they become unsafe.

  • Raw chicken can be frozen safely for up to nine months
  • Raw egg whites and yolks are good for up to 12 months
  • Raw ground beef, cooked beef, and cooked poultry can be frozen for up to four months
  • Casseroles, soups, and most leftovers can safely last for up to three months
  • Bacon and sausage should be used after they have been frozen for a month

If you can’t identify an item or determine how long it has been in your freezer, the safest action is to throw it away. Discolored items and food with frost inside the packaging or offensive odors should also be discarded. Place what you’re keeping in a cooler to prevent thawing. Now, let’s learn how to clean a freezer and disinfect it to keep your frozen food and family safe.

How to Get Your Freezer Cleaner Naturally

Purging outdated and questionable frozen food will ensure all your meals are delicious and free of mildew and bacteria. Now that you have a clean slate, it’s time to clean and disinfect your freezer to keep those frozen goodies good to go.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your freezer and disinfect it:

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  • Towels
  • Hot soapy water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Old toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar

Defrost and Disassemble

Many modern freezers come with a defrost setting, and although the process may be slow, it’s convenient and easy to use. If you don’t want to wait, or your freezer doesn’t have a defroster, you’ll need to unplug it and manually defrost it. Defrosting a freezer in a fridge/freezer combo means you’ll also have to move food from your refrigerator to coolers.

To speed up the defrosting, you can put a large pot of hot water inside and close the door. Regardless of your defrosting method, put some towels beneath the appliance to catch water. Disassemble shelving and drawers and clean them in the kitchen sink while the freezer defrosts. You can get your freezer cleaner much easier when you remove as many components as possible.

Clean And Disinfect

When the freezer has defrosted, clean the inside with hot, soapy water, then wipe away the soap residue and grime with a clean, damp cloth. Use a toothbrush or cloth to clean the grooves in the freezer seal, then wipe them down. A popular way to disinfect is to use one part distilled white vinegar, one part water, and three parts baking soda mixed into a paste. Wipe down the inside of the freezer, then wipe away the paste with a clean, damp cloth.

Freeze And Restock

Once the freezer has dried, plug it in, shut the door, and let it get cold. If your freezer has a temperature selector, set it to zero degrees Fahrenheit. While the freezer is cooling down, take time to get things organized. All you need is regular masking tape and a permanent marker. This easy method works for plastic containers, bags, and jars and simplifies keeping track.

Make sure everything is labeled with the name of the food, the date it was frozen, and the expiration date. When the temperature gets close to zero, you can safely put your food back in the freezer. Restock the freezer, beginning with items you won’t use anytime soon, and store similar foods together for convenience.

How Often Should I Clean My Freezer?

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your freezer, it’s time to clean and disinfect it. Now that you know how to clean a freezer like a pro, make your future deep cleanings easier with a little cleaning maintenance. Wipe down the racks and clean the seals with a damp cloth every two weeks. Take an inventory of your food and clean your freezer using these handy tips quarterly. Hopefully, you labeled everything before you put it back in the freezer the last time you cleaned it, so purging outdated food should be easy.

Twice yearly, clean the freezer’s condenser coils. Condenser coils help keep your freezer working efficiently as long as you keep dust and dirt to a minimum. Clean counters and kitchen appliances make your kitchen shine and help minimize the spread of germs and cross-contamination. Add freezer cleaning to your routine for tastier and healthier meals and snacks.

The Maids® Makes House Cleaning More Manageable

Once you’ve mastered these freezer cleaning tips, what’s next? If you want to restore your flooring or make housekeeping more manageable, The Maids has you covered. Whether you use these handy housekeeping guides or call in the pros, life is easier when you partner with The Maids.

Since 1979, The Maids has spread the joys of healthy cleaning with tips from the field and the most in-demand cleaning services. Discover how healthy cleaning can help you enjoy a clean and healthy home more often—get your free personalized cleaning quote today.

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