How to Clean a Chest Freezer – 10 Steps to Follow & FAQ


Another question that has been asked about Chest Freezers across the community and that was how do you clean a Chest freezer so if you need some tips and help in completing this task in the coming days or weeks, then take a quick look through this step by step guide to get this particular job done.

Nearly all refrigerator freezer appliances have the auto defrost capability however the majority of chest freezers across the market need to be defrosted and also cleaned manually so be prepared to do this on an ongoing basis.

Reasons and Benefits to keeping your Chest Freezer Clean…

  • After defrosting, cleaning will prevent any potential microbial growth
  • Protection for your food stock items
  • Prevents any possible food contamination
  • Extends the life of the appliance
  • Creates a clean and safe environment for the storage of food stocks

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Cleaning a Chest Freezer…

Q. How often should it be cleaned?
A. It should be cleaned once per year or even twice if you have enough time.
Q. How thick does the ice need to be before considering defrosting?
A. When the ice on the sides is between half inch and 1-inch thickness.
Q. How long does the defrost take?
A. It can take 12 to 24 hours to defrost but adding hot water containers can speed up this process which will raise the internal temperatures much quicker with the lid closed.
Q. What do I do with the stock taken from the Chest Freezer?
A. Put them in a sealed plastic container and avoid areas with high temperatures / direct sun light while out of the freezer. The stock should be placed ideally in the refrigerator freezer or a neighbors freezer wherever there is available storage space.
Q. How do you remove the melted ice?
A. Attach the drainage pipe to a container or put a shallow pan underneath and remove the plug to allow the water to safely drain away.
Q. How do you get rid of smells that tend to linger?
A. Leave a small container of baking soda inside and change it once per quarter.
Q. What if there is no drainage plug for draining?
A. Use a large towel to mop up the water and drain the towel into a container – repeat this several times.

Steps when Cleaning your Chest Freezer:

Step 1 – Reduce the Stock Inventory

As the food stocks will be out of the freezer for some time while cleaning and defrosting, you should run down the food stocks to as low as you possibly can prior to this process to prevent foods from thawing out.

Step 2 – Power off

First thing you need to do is to unplug the appliance and store the cord and plug aside in a safe place and do not allow it to get exposed to any water or moisture. Wrap in a towel if needed or a protection bag.

Step 3 – Empty and Check Stocks

Next empty out all your food stocks and put in a safe place. At this point, it is a useful exercise to take note of the dates of the stocks – anything that is out of date should be disposed and anything coming near the end of its shelf life should be put aside and put to the top of the freezer when refilling to ensure it is used in the specified time. Stocks taken from the chest freezer should be placed in an air tight container and should avoid areas of high temperatures and ideally placed in the refrigerator freezer or a neighbors chest freezer.

Step 4 – Floor Preparation

After this, to protect your floor, add a series of used newspapers, towels or dishcloths around the base to avoid any water leakages damaging your floor surfaces.

Step 5 – Defrost

Next you should allow it to defrost which can take up to 24 hours. To speed up the process, you can carefully add a container of hot water (make sure not to spill any) and place it in the middle of the base and then close the lid. This will raise the temperature much quicker and so the defrost process will commence at a faster rate. If you have large quantities of ice to be defrosted and the base is large enough, add a second or third container of hot water to increase the internal temperatures even further and quicker.

Step 6 - Drainage

Once all the ice has melted, then remove the plug for the drainage pipe but make sure it is connected to a bucket or additional shallow plastic container or pan to avoid spillage across your floor areas. The shallow container can be placed underneath and then emptied into the bucket as it has filled. Once all the water has been removed, don’t forget to place the plug back into place.

Step 7 – Removable Parts

Removable parts such as shelves or mini baskets should be removed and cleaned separately in the sink with hot soapy water and rinsed with clear water afterwards and allow to dry.

Step 8 – Detergent

Next add a warm soapy water solution in a glass or metal bowl to a dishcloth or a sponge and wipe down all the interior surfaces thoroughly.  A small sample selection that can help you out is outlined below – Click any to view larger

Step 9 – Stubborn Stains

For any stubborn stains, prepare a solution of white vinegar and water to equal ratio and wipe down the surfaces using this solution. Otherwise you can use some baking soda by sprinkling a small quantity in water to make a paste and rub it around the stained regions in circular motions and allow to soak in for an hour or so.

Step 10 – Residues

Once all surfaces have been cleaned with the detergent / vinegar / baking soda, make sure to rinse all the surfaces with clear water to remove any residues that may be left behind.

Once Complete - Refill & Organize

Only refill the freezer with stocks are deemed acceptable. Any items that have gone beyond the shelf life or have been damaged, freezer burned should be disposed separately. Again, any items where the dates are nearing the end should be placed on the top and the most frequently used items should be placed in the easy to reach baskets.

Furthermore, while you are here – please feel free to take a closer look at popular Chest Freezers that may be of interest to you by clicking on any of the images provided below…


Finally, it would be greatly appreciated by the community if you can share your own tips of cleaning your own Chest Freezer by leaving a comment in the comment box below – So that other people in the community can learn also!!!


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