Freezer Cleaning: Cleaning the freezer is a job no one wants to tackle. It’s just a pain, especially when ice builds up, bags and containers of mystery food slide around when you take out something, and the ice cream machine bowl may or may not be somewhere in there among the spilled corn and a floating chicken breast. This space needs some help. Cleaning the freezer follows a similar process to the refrigerator cleaning method listed on the previous page, with the addition of some hot water to melt ice buildup. This also works for defrosting chest freezers; it will just take a longer time and more work to drain the melted ice.
First, turn the freezer setting to the highest (warmest) setting, or turn it off completely. If you can manage, unplug the system so you aren’t battling the cold air. Completely empty the space, placing things to keep in a cooler filled with ice and tossing anything freezer burned, unidentifiable, or without a valid date. Then place a bowl of hot water inside the freezer to help melt ice buildup. Place a few towels under the unit and between the door, close the door as best you can, and let the hot water do its work.
Meanwhile, mix up a bottle of boiled and somewhat cooled water mixed with ¼ cup baking soda and ½ cup white vinegar. Use the towels to sop up melted ice. Spray the walls and shelves liberally with the spray mixture, and use a textured towel to clean. Use a toothbrush sprayed with the cleaning mixture to get into nooks and crannies, particularly where shelves slide in, if necessary.
Wipe down with water, then wipe dry with a dry towel. Now you can organize the items you’re putting back in to keep things a bit tidier. Use masking tape and a Sharpie to label everything with a date, and keep plenty of rubber bands or chip clips handy to corral items that may open if shuffled too much. Group like items here, too; fruit and desserts on one side, vegetables in the middle, and meat on the other side. Use boxes or bins to keep things organized, or add additional shelves if necessary.
Don’t forget to turn the temperature dial back to the proper temperature (typically 0 degrees F) or plug your freezer back in.
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