Refrigerator Defrosting

No-Frost, Frost Free & Auto Defrost Fridges Save Time and Effort

Manual refrigerator defrosting involves several steps that owners need to follow in order to keep the unit clean and in good working condition. Failing to defrost your refrigerator can greatly affect its performance and can sometime even cause uneven temperatures that can affect the freshness of its contents. The defrosting methods can be automatic or manual, by heater or thermostat. An Auto Defrost, No-Frost or Frost Free refrigerator will save a lot of time and effort compared to a Manual Defrost refrigerator.

When you talk about defrosting your refrigerator, you are referring to the process of removing frost or ice from the freezer or evaporator. Modern refrigerators have automatic controls that help prevent frost formation on the freezers or evaporators. These defrost systems are basic features you can find even in low end refrigerator models. The invention of no-frost or frost free technology has made the lives of people with busy lifestyle easy and convenient. This means that they do not have to do any refrigerator defrosting as there is no build up of frost or ice on the walls, floor or ceiling of the freezer.

Refrigerator defrosting is the most important task in maintaining your appliance. Defrosting and cleaning are done at the same time. You can enjoy your fridge for a long period of time if you regularly clean and defrost it. But many owners of refrigerators find that they do not have a clue as to how they will go about the task. Every household owner with a manual defrost refrigeration unit must regularly undertake the task of cleaning and defrosting because failing to do so will definitely damage the unit and you may rack up repair costs just to get the unit fixed.

A Look at the Defrosting System:

Modern refrigeration systems, whether industrial or household, feature a defrost system. A refrigeration system works by developing temperature below the water's freezing point. Long hours of continuous operation may lead to development of a layer of frost or ice around the freezer or the evaporator coil. This hinders the cooling capacity of the evaporator, making it difficult for the cooling effect to pass into the freezer. Without refrigerator defrosting, the layer of frost or ice leads to loss of cooling and lessening of performance coefficient of the refrigerator and higher electricity costs. There are various defrosting methods that your fridge can employ. Take a look at some of these defrosting methods.

Thermostat Defrosting:

Thermostat is a basic component in all modern refrigerators. The device allows you to set the freezer temperature that you want, depending on your requirement. Most often, a refrigerator with thermostat comes with a small plastic tray which can be found below the freezer compartment. This tray is where the excess water from your freezer goes to. The thermostat works by stopping the supply of power that is received by your compressor whenever the temperature that you have set has been reached.

The refrigeration unit stops producing the cooling effect whenever the thermostat stops, which happen several times a day. And during this stage, the frost or ice collected on the freezer starts to melt, with the resulting water collected in the tray. A small tube connects the tray to a small outlet usually located at the bottom back side of your refrigerator. A pan is installed there where the tube brings the water resulting from melted ice after defrosting.

Manual Defrosting:

While there are more and more refrigerator models that come with the automatic defrost function that has eliminated manual refrigerator defrosting, there are still millions of households who have a manual defrost unit that needs to be maintained. The most ideal time to defrost your unit is during the cold or winter months. This way you can remove the contents of your fridge and still prevent them from getting spoiled due to the low ambient temperature. Before turning the unit off or setting the temperature to zero, one should place old clothes or towels on the floor by the door of the fridge as well as the bottom of the unit. This is to prevent water from spilling to your entire kitchen floor. Set up a cooler with ice to hold the contents of your fridge while the unit is being defrosted. After transferring the contents of your fridge on to the cooler, you can turn the unit off and unplug it from the socket. Never start defrosting while the power is still running through the unit. Some units need not be unplugged, just set to zero temperature.

Make sure that all the doors of the fridge are open in order to deliver the warm air into the unit and thaw out all the ice formations. Removable containers, shelves or wire baskets should be removed from the unit leaving it bare. You may put a container with hot water on the freezer section to speed up the ice melting process. Once the ice is completely melted, you can start cleaning the unit. Another important thing to avoid is chipping off the ice in the freezer with a knife or other sharp object as you may damage the walls of your freezer or even cause injury to yourself.

The best cleaning agent would be a mixture of soap and baking soda. This solution can remove oil, grime and stains effectively leaving the walls of your fridge spotless. Avoid scrubbing the walls of your unit vigorously as it may scratch the surface and expose the inner part of the wall. Use a soft cloth or towel to clean off your fridge. Rinse the soap off with water and dry out the entire unit with towels. Only when the inside of the fridge is all dry should you hook it up to power once more. This usually takes about an hour or so.

You can put the contents back into the unit and re-set the temperature after refrigerator defrosting. The thing to watch out for in defrosting is the state of the contents or whether they are still fresh and safe enough to consume despite being taken out of the unit for a period of time. Many homemakers schedule their time of defrosting before grocery shopping as this is the time when the fridge has the least contents. Others decide to cook food items that are in danger of getting spoiled easily when taken out of the cold temperature.

Heater Defrosting:

If your refrigerator has more than one door, then this method of defrosting is recommended. In refrigerators with automatic defrost system, refrigerator and the freezer section are separated. A ducting is present in the refrigerator to allow maximum flow of cool air from freezer to refrigerator compartment. The system has a thermostat as well as a heater which is usually fitted to the refrigerator's evaporator coil. As soon as the thermostat stops the supply of power to your refrigerator, the heater will start melting the accumulated frost.

It is highly recommended that you clean your refrigerator and freezer each time after refrigerator defrosting. Using a mild detergent and baking soda will eliminate bad smell and stains in your refrigerator. Before turning on your refrigerator after defrosting, make sure that you clean it dry and have returned all the racks and shelves which you have removed during defrosting and cleaning to their proper places.


Refrigerator defrosting is an important task indeed. It prolongs the life of your fridge and keeps it in good running condition all the time. It also ensures that the cooling function of the unit is not hampered in any way due to the large ice build-up. If done regularly and properly you can be sure you are getting the most from your unit. Refrigerator defrosting is a great way to make sure that your refrigerator works efficiently and for a long time.

You will save a lot of time & effort by buying a No frost or Frost free refrigerator - you will never need to defrost it manually.

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