How to Clean a Chest Freezer

Lisa Maloney

Having a clean chest freezer is both sanitary and appetizing--nobody wants to eat food that comes out of a dirty freezer. The absolute best time to clean a chest freezer is when food stocks are low, because this will keep the amount of bending and reaching you have to do to empty it out as low as possible.

Remember that anything that comes out of the freezer will have to be either stored in another freezer, a refrigerator, or somehow insulated from thawing until the defrost and cleaning process is completed.

  1. Empty all items out of the chest freezer and store them in another freezer or the refrigerator to prevent thawing. You can also store them in a cooler filled with ice or, in a worst case scenario, sandwiched between layers of blankets to help slow the thawing process.

  2. Turn the chest freezer down to its lowest setting--switch it all the way off, if possible--and unplug it.

  3. Break any large chunks of accumulated ice and frost out of the freezer by hand. Be sure to wear gloves to help protect your hands from the ice. Let any remaining ice melt as the chest freezer thaws.

  4. Sponge melted water out of your chest freezer. If there is too much water in it to sponge out, ask a friend to help you carefully tip the freezer onto its side to pour the water out, then set it back upright. Avoid jarring or bumping the freezer as you shift it, as this might cause damage.

  5. Wash the inside of the freezer out with warm, soapy water. Remember to clean the inside of the lid, too. Use a toothbrush or cotton swabs to clean around the edges of the rubber seal inside the lid and in its grooves.

  6. Pull the chest freezer away from the wall. If its back coils are exposed, carefully suck dirt off them with a hand vacuum or with the hose attachment from a standard vacuum. Then return the chest freezer to its original place.

  7. Wipe out the inside of the chest freezer to ensure that it is completely dry.

  8. Replace all your food items inside the chest freezer. Plug it back in and return the chill setting to normal, then close the lid and leave it to cool back down to freezing temperatures.

  9. Tip

    You can speed the defrosting process by using a hairdryer to melt ice out of your chest freezer.

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