How often do you clean out your freezer? Have you ever given it a deep clean?
This can easily become one of the most disregarded tasks in the kitchen, but it’s definitely worth setting aside the time every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be difficult either – here are six easy steps to get your freezer deep cleaned with minimal fuss.
1. Turn the freezer off
If your fridge and freezer are integrated don’t worry about the food in your fridge, it should stay cool for around four hours as long as the fridge door is left shut. Just make sure the rest of the family aren’t popping in for snacks in the next hour or so!
2. Take everything out
All foodstuffs need to be removed from the freezer so that you can give it a proper deep clean. But don’t stop there – take out the drawers, shelves and ice cube trays as well. If you have a big enough sink, put the drawers into the sink to soak in warm soapy water, set them aside somewhere out of the way.
Ice cube trays very rarely get cleaned. Most people just refill them each time they’re empty and then pop them back in the freezer, but ice cubes can harbour harmful bacteria and trays should be cleaned regularly. If you have a dishwasher, put the trays through a wash on the top shelf or add them to the sink of soapy warm water with the freezer drawers.
3. Check use-by dates
Freezers are great for long-term food storage but can easily end up a graveyard of leftover spaghetti bolognese, bags containing a few lonely oven chips and boxes of ice lollies bought on that one warm day we had last summer. Check use-by dates on packaged items and throw out anything that has become freezer burned.
Once you’ve established which food is safe to be kept, pop it in a cool bag while you complete the rest of the clean.
Put a tea towel down on the floor to catch the water as it melts (maybe a few tea towels if the ice has built up more than you’d like to admit!). If the ice is only thin, you can move onto the next step while you wait for the freezer to thaw out.
If your freezer is excessively frozen with thick ice, you may need to use a bit of elbow grease. Get a plastic spatula and start gently scraping. Warm the spatula in a jug of hot water to make light work of removing the layer of ice, but never use metal implements or abrasive materials as they can damage the freezer interior.
5. Clean the freezer drawers
Use warm soapy water to remove any staining or dirt from the freezer drawers. Make sure to
thoroughly dry the drawers before putting them back in the freezer, as this will avoid ice build-up.
6. Wipe down inside the freezer
Use a microfibre cloth and natural cleaning products or a solution made up with diluted white vinegar to clean down the inside surfaces of your freezers. Don’t be tempted to use bleach or harsh chemicals as these can give off harmful fumes that can contaminate your food. Dry off the freezer walls with a tea towel ready to refill the freezer.
7. Put everything back
Make sure everything is totally dry before putting it back in, including food containers that have started to thaw out slightly.
Avoid the temptation to cram everything back in wherever it will fit and instead follow a logical system. For example, leftover meals in one drawer all added in date order, frozen vegetables together (separated from meat), and one drawer allocated to sweet items such as ice-cream and frozen fruit. These are just ideas; the best system is one which means something to you and makes your life easier.
To help keep track of items in your freezer, date plastic tubs of leftovers with a dry-wipe pen. Once that meal has been eaten, the date can be washed off ready for the box to be reused for another meal.
We’d encourage you to make time for a deep clean of your freezer a few times a year. If you follow these steps, a full clean should only take around an hour. With regular cleaning, checking food dates and keeping on top of ice build-up, you’ll have more precious space to store your food in future.
Jess Bray is a Marketing Assistant at thecleaningcollective.co.uk, with 10 years’ experience in digital marketing. She loves applying her knowledge of design and marketing to the world of cleaning, helping her to share tips, tricks and hacks with keen members of ‘The Cleaning Collective’.
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*This is a collaborative post