How to Defrost a Kenmore Refrigerator

Kenmore refrigerators that are not frost-free or feature self-defrosting will need to be fully defrosted when the ice lining the freezer walls is 1/4-inch thick or when the refrigerator's normal freezing and cooling power seems diminished.

Defrost a Kenmore Refrigerator
While defrosting a refrigerator can take between five to eight hours, the amount of money saved on electricity and the increased efficiency and lifespan of the appliance more than make up for the time invested. .

Remove all of the food in both the main refrigerator and freezer portions of the appliance. Plan to either store the items in a large, ice-filled cooler or to consume them that day.

Turn the main refrigerator dial to the defrost setting or (in some older Kenmore refrigerators) to "Off." Open both the refrigerator and freezer doors. Place a large pan surrounded by towels beneath the freezer section of the refrigerator.

Place a pan of hot water inside the freezer section to hasten the defrosting process. As the ice begins to melt, regularly empty the pan beneath the refrigerator of water and promptly mop up any excess with large towels.

Wipe down the refrigerator's walls and surfaces with a mixture of mild detergent, water and baking soda after all the ice has melted. Dry the entire inside of the refrigerator thoroughly.

Turn the refrigerator back on. Close the doors and allow the appliance to return to its set temperature. Replace all food items only when the refrigerator is cool enough.

Things You Will Need

  • Well insulated, ice-filled cooler
  • Large, rimmed flat pan
  • Large bath towels
  • Pan small enough to fit into the refrigerator's freezer
  • Mild detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge or small towels


  • Do not ever attempt to hasten defrosting by scraping or chipping away at the built-up ice: you can irreparably damage the refrigerator. Allow the ice to melt on its own.

About the Author

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.