Sears Knowledge Center

How to Manually Defrost Your Freezer and Refrigerator

While many of the newer models of freezers and refrigerators come with an automatic defrost feature, a lot of appliances still require manual defrosting. To prevent freezer burn and spoiled food, you need to occasionally defrost your refrigerator and freezer, especially if you notice an excess build-up of frost. Manual defrost is a detailed process and requires you to perform a series of steps to melt excess ice and restore your appliance's appropriate temperature.

What you’ll need:

  • Towels. These will be used to absorb the ice as it melts during the defrosting process.
  • Soap and sponge. Use these to clean the interior after defrosting.

Step 1: Remove everything from the interior. To manually defrost, you need to clean out the interior of your refrigerator and freezer entirely. Keep items that need to stay chilled in a cooler with ice.

Step 2: Circulate warm air. Open both doors and allow the warmer, room-temperature air to flow into the freezer and refrigerator to begin the defrosting process.

Step 3: Put towels down. Keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors open will cause excess ice to melt away. This process will take a few hours, and the melted liquid will puddle on your kitchen floor if you don't line the floor and compartments with towels to soak up the water.

Step 4: Clean the interior with soap and water. Once the ice from the freezer fully melts and moisture from the refrigerator dries, use soapy water and a sponge to clean the interior. Go over the surface once more with just water to ensure no residue from the soap is left behind.

Step 5: Restock the refrigerator and freezer. When the appliance is completely dry, it's safe to put all your food back in. Make sure the temperature is at the appropriate setting for both your refrigerator and freezer.


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