How To Clean Your Freezer Without Defrosting It First

Deep cleaning your freezer might not be one of those household chores that tops your urgent to-do list, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored, especially if you start noticing funky smells or spillage. Although it might be tempting to just ignore the ice buildup, or other questionably aged products lurking in your freezer, an annual cleaning can protect both your food and the appliance's longevity, keeping everything fresh and efficient.

Believe it or not, you don't have to defrost your freezer before giving it a deep clean. All you need is some hot water, baking soda, vinegar, a sponge, a microfiber cloth, rubber gloves, and a bit of elbow grease. While it's worth noting that unplugging and defrosting your freezer could be more effective and lead to better results, if you're in a rush and need a quick clean, it's still possible to safely wash your freezer while it's on in under an hour.

Cleaning your freezer

First, take an inventory of what's in your freezer. Remove all food or other products stored inside, placing them somewhere they won't defrost or melt. Then, put on rubber gloves and place towels inside and around the freezer to prevent any spillage from affecting the surrounding area. Next, mix hot, soapy water with baking soda in a bowl and place it at the bottom of the freezer.

Dip a towel in a mixture of hot water and white vinegar, and use it to wipe down any ice buildup on the sides of your freezer. You can use a scraper to help remove some of this buildup, but to fully remove the ice, you'll need to defrost your freezer, so do the best you can, making use of the heat from the water. Afterward, dip a microfiber cloth or sponge in the hot water-baking soda solution, and use it to wipe down the doors, sides of the freezer, and all other surfaces — this sanitizes the freezer. Wait for it to dry, and then put all of your food back in the freezer. Voilà! Your freezer should now be clean and hopefully free of those strange smells or gross buildups that were accumulating.