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How To Clean a FreezerApril 13th, 2023 by
Is your freezer dirty or smelly? Dirt, crumbs, and odors will build up in your freezer over time. Cleaning a freezer regularly is important to keep food safe to eat and eliminate unpleasant smells. With a few simple steps, you can easily clean your freezer in less than 30 minutes. From how to clean a freezer to ways to prevent odors, here is everything you need to know about keeping your freezer clean.
Simple Steps for Cleaning a Freezer
Cleaning your freezer is a simple process and you only needed a few things to keep smells and bacteria at bay. Here are the steps to clean a freezer:
1. Empty the Freezer
Start cleaning your freezer by removing all the food. Check the expiration dates on packaged foods and throw away cooked foods that have been in your freezer longer than three months.
Then put any frozen foods you plan to keep in a cooler. You can also use an insulated bag or even a cardboard box with some ice packs to keep foods cold while you clean.
2. Defrost if Necessary
If your freezer is not frost-free, you’ll need to defrost it before cleaning. To do this, turn off the freezer and let the ice melt naturally.
You can also speed up the process by placing bowls of hot water inside the freezer or using a hairdryer on a low heat setting to melt the ice. Dry the surface of the freezer before continuing.
After defrosting your freezer, plug it back in right away. This ensures it is cold by the time you restock the food after cleaning your freezer.
3. Remove Shelves, Racks, and Ice Trays
Take out any shelves, racks, and ice trays from the freezer, and soak them in warm soapy water. If necessary, scrub them with a soft microfiber cloth. Rinse them off and dry them with a towel.
Add 4 teaspoons of bleach to a quart of water, then spray the shelves and racks with the diluted bleach solution. Let them air dry while you clean the rest of the freezer.
4. Wash the Interior
Clean the freezer with a cleaning solution of warm water and liquid dish soap. Dip a microfiber cloth in the soapy water and gently wash all of the interior sections. Be sure to wipe down all surfaces, including the door gasket, walls, and ceiling.
If there are stubborn stains, remove them with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. Let them foam for a minute or two, then gently scrub them with a soft cloth. However, avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could damage the freezer.
5. Dry Your Freezer
Once your freezer is clean, dry all of the surfaces with a soft, clean cloth. Avoid using heat, as it can warp the freezer walls.
Alternatively, you can just close the door and wait a few minutes. As long as the walls are only damp, the freezer will cause the water to evaporate.
6. Sanitize With Diluted Bleach
You should then disinfect your freezer with diluted bleach. Use a spray bottle to sanitize your freezer. Spray the bleach solution on every surface in your freezer. Then let the bleach air dry with the door open for about five minutes.
7. Replace Shelves and Frozen Food
Lastly, you can reassemble your freezer. Start by replacing the shelves and racks. Then put the frozen foods back inside.
If you unplugged your freezer to defrost it, make sure that it is below 0° F (-18° C) before replacing the food. Otherwise, you run the risk of spoiling the food.
How Often Do You Need To Clean a Freezer?
It is recommended to clean your freezer at least once a year. However, you should clean it any time you notice that it is smelly or dirty.
Remember to clean up spills and crumbs right away because they can cause odors and bacteria. You should also clean your freezer after a lengthy power outage.
Tips for Keeping a Freezer Clean
Here are some tips for keeping a freezer clean in between washing:
- Keep baking soda in the freezer: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, so keep an open box in the freezer at all times. Replace the box every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent odors from building up.
- Wipe up spills immediately: If you notice any spills or drips in your freezer, clean them up immediately. This will prevent them from freezing and becoming harder to clean later on.
- Organize your freezer: Keep your freezer organized and tidy by placing food items in labeled containers or bags. This will help you easily find what you need and prevent spills and messes.
- Package frozen foods properly: Thin plastic containers and bags increase the risk of smells and bacteria. Instead, always package foods properly. Use heavy-duty freezer bags or freezer containers for food.
How Long Do Foods Last in a Freezer?
Most of us mistakenly think that food will last forever in a freezer. Unfortunately, that is not true. While your freeze temporarily prevents foods from spoiling, bacteria will eventually grow.
The freezer will also pull moisture out of the food, leading to freezer burn. This makes food less flavorful and can make some foods tough, chewy, or leathery.
Here is how long you can safely store certain foods in the freezer:
- Lunch meat – 1 to 2 months
- Sausage – 1 to 2 months
- Salmon and tuna – 2 to 3 months
- Cooked leftovers – 2 to 3 months
- Ground beef – 3 to 4 months
- Ground pork – 3 to 4 months
- Cod, flounder, and haddock – 3 to 6 months
- Pork chops – 4 to 6 months
- Pork roasts – 4 to 6 months
- Beef roasts and steaks – 6 to 12 months
Always store foods in heavy-duty freezer containers or bags. Throw away anything that looks old, leathery, or smells rancid.