How to Clean Out Your Freezer in 6 Easy Steps

Cleaning out your freezer is an important maintenance task that helps keep your freezer running efficiently and prevents potential problems like frost buildup. A clean freezer also makes it easier to organize and find your frozen foods. Follow these 6 easy steps to thoroughly clean and organize your freezer.

Step 1: Remove Everything from the Freezer

The first step is to take everything out of the freezer. This gives you access to the walls and base where dirt and grime can collect.

As you remove items, check expiration dates and get rid of anything that is past its prime or freezer burned. Be ruthless here – outdated or spoiled food takes up valuable storage space. Also discard any torn packages or foods you know you’ll never use.

Make sure to have coolers or insulated bags ready to temporarily store frozen items that you’re keeping. Work quickly when removing foods, and try to limit how long the door is open to prevent thawing. If possible, have a helper so you can pass items out of the freezer quickly.

Once the freezer is empty, remove the shelves and bins if possible. This allows you to fully access all surfaces for cleaning.

Step 2: Wipe Down Inside Surfaces

With the freezer emptied, you can now clean inside. Start by removing any dust buildup with a vacuum hose. Make sure to vacuum the condenser coils in the back since dust on these can reduce freezer efficiency.

For the walls and base, mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner. Using a soft sponge or cloth, wipe down all surfaces, paying special attention to corners and crevices where grime collects.

For stubborn stuck-on stains, let ice cubes melt directly on them to soften before scrubbing. Avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the freezer lining.

Be sure to wipe off any cleaning solution residues so no odors transfer to your food. Dry all surfaces thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Step 3: Clean and Disinfect Shelves and Bins

While the freezer interior dries, shift your attention to the shelves and storage bins. Wash removable parts in warm soapy water using a dishcloth or soft brush to remove any dirt buildup.

For extra disinfecting, soak shelves and bins in a bleach solution (1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water) for 2-3 minutes. This helps kill germs and remove lingering odors. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely before replacing in the freezer.

If the shelves cannot be removed, simply wipe them down in place using your warm soapy water and dry well with a soft cloth. Pay attention to any cracks or crevices where grime can collect.

Step 4: Clean Door Seals and Gaskets

It’s important to clean the flexible rubber door seals and gaskets around the freezer opening. Buildup of dirt and oils here can cause the seals to stick and crack.

Wipe down the gaskets gently using baking soda dissolved in warm water. The baking soda helps cut through grime. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.

To test the seal, close the door over a folded piece of paper. If you can easily slide the paper out, the seal needs replacing. Contact an appliance repair service for assistance replacing worn seals.

Step 5: Check for Frost Buildup

While the freezer is emptied, check for any ice or frost buildup, especially around the sides, bottom, and coils. A frosting that’s 1/4 inch or more thick can lead to efficiency issues.

Use a plastic scraper to gently pry away any thick frost. Try to avoid puncturing the freezer lining. For stubborn ice, turn off the freezer and allow frost to thaw before scraping.

Excess moisture and frost signify a problem with the door seal or freezer performance. Have an appliance repair technician inspect your freezer if frost persists after cleaning.

Step 6: Restore Food and Organize

Once the interior is cleaned and dried, you can return food to the freezer. Check items for ice crystals or freezer burn before returning to storage. Reorganize items, adding new inventory to the back and older food up front.

Consider implementing an organizational system like:

  • Assigning different shelves/bins for types of frozen items (produce, meats, baked goods etc.)
  • Using open bins for loose items, baskets for packaged foods
  • Labelling bins and shelves for easy identification
  • Keeping an inventory list posted on the freezer door

Maintain your cleaned freezer by quickly wiping spills and regularly inspecting for frost buildup. Repeat a deep clean every 6 months for optimal performance. Follow these simple freezer cleaning steps and you’ll enjoy cleanly stored frozen foods!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Your Freezer

Cleaning out your freezer is an important maintenance task. Here are answers to some common questions about the best practices for deep freezer cleaning.

Should I unplug my freezer when cleaning?

There is no need to unplug the freezer when doing a deep clean. Simply turning it off and removing all food items is sufficient to safely clean inside. Make sure hands are dry when handling any electrical connections.

How often should I wash my freezer?

Plan to do a thorough wash of your freezer’s interior every 6 months. Quick wipe-downs after spills can be done more frequently. Regular cleaning keeps the freezer smelling and operating best.

What temperature should I set the freezer when cleaning?

Set your freezer to its coldest temperature when removing items for cleaning. This keeps food as cold as possible. While cleaning, the freezer can remain off with the door protracted open.

What should I use to clean freezer shelves?

Remove shelves and wash in warm, soapy water. For a disinfecting boost, soak in a dilute bleach solution then rinse. Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage the finish. Dry thoroughly before replacing shelves.

How do I clean freezer burn stains?

For stubborn freezer burn stains on the interior, place ice cubes directly on the stain until the surface is wet. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes. The moisture helps soften the stain for easier scrubbing.

Why does my freezer have an odor after cleaning?

A fresh odor after deep cleaning typically comes from lingering cleaning solution or soap residues. Be sure to wipe all surfaces dry after washing, and allow time for any moisture to fully evaporate before restoring food items.

How can I organize my freezer after cleaning?

Consider assigning shelves for different food types, using clear bins, keeping an inventory list and rotating older items up front. An organized freezer makes finding items much easier.


Cleaning out your freezer should be part of your regular appliance maintenance routine. By following these 6 easy steps, you can fully wash your freezer’s interior, shelves, door gaskets and more. Be sure to remove all items, clean all surfaces, check for frost buildup, wipe gaskets, dry thoroughly and replace food with an organized system. Deep cleaning the freezer every 6 months helps optimize efficiency and storage.

How to Clean Out Your Freezer in 6 Easy Steps

Cleaning and organizing your freezer is an important maintenance task that should be done regularly. Allowing frost and grime to build up can decrease freezer efficiency and make finding your frozen foods a hassle. Follow these 6 simple steps to thoroughly clean your freezer.

Step 1: Remove everything – Take out all frozen foods, bins, and shelves so you can access all surfaces. Check dates and discard old items.

Step 2: Wipe interior – Use soapy water and a soft sponge to wash walls, corners, coils etc. Rinse and dry completely.

Step 3: Clean removable parts – Wash shelves and bins with warm soapy water. Soak in diluted bleach solution to sanitize.

Step 4: Clean gaskets – Wipe down rubber door seals with a baking soda solution. Check for cracks and replace if needed.

Step 5: Remove frost – Use a plastic scraper to gently pry away any thick frost buildup.

Step 6: Organize – Return foods organized by type. Keep an inventory list. Rotate older items up front.

Regularly following these simple steps keeps your freezer clean, organized and running at optimal efficiency. Be sure to fully dry all surfaces, check door seals and toss unneeded items. A clean freezer prevents frost buildup and helps food stay fresh longer.