How to Defrost a Refrigerator
Do you know how to defrost a refrigerator? Today, most refrigerators are frost-free and do not require defrosting. However, many people may still have old models that require defrosting from time to time. Many people maintain an old model out in the garage to store drinks or extra groceries. Dorm style refrigerators are not often frost-free. If you've never defrosted a refrigerator before, it can seem intimidating when you have so much fluffy white icy buildup that you can't even close the freezer door.
Set the Refrigerator to Defrost Mode
Check the temperature dial on the refrigerator. Most models have a defrost setting. This setting will allow the main portion of the refrigerator to maintain a steady temperature, but will lower the temperature of the freezer so that the ice will start to melt. Some refrigerators will have separate dials for the freezer and refrigerator sections. If there are two dials, make sure you adjust the correct one. No one wants their perishables to spoil every time they defrost the refrigerator. If you have a rare model without a defrost mode, you will have to put your perishables in another refrigerator or in a cooler on ice and turn the refrigerator completely off.
Wait a Few Hours
In a few hours, the ice should start to noticeably melt. This is the time to make sure you capture water if it melts so that you don't create a huge mess. Most refrigerators have a slide out pan under the freezer compartment. If the ice builds up too much, you may not be able to slide the pan out until some of the buildup melts. Make sure you empty the pan frequently at this point if it will slide out. If it won't, see if it will slide out a little and tip it so that water will drain into another container. If you can't do that, make sure you have plenty of towels around to soak up the water as it spills.
Remove the Large Ice Pieces
As they loosen, remove the larger ice pieces and put them in the sink to finish melting. Once they start to separate from the sides of the freezer compartment, you can usually pry the ice loose in large sheets. You will be tempted to use a knife or other sharp object to make this process go faster, but that can easily damage your freezer compartment.
Reset the Temperature Dial
When all ice is removed, wash surfaces with soap and water. Dry thoroughly. Reset the temperature dial to the desired temperature. When the appliance is back up to temperature, your food can be placed inside.