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How to Clean a Small Chest Freezer

Dec 06, 2016

Unclutter your refrigerator by storing some foods in a small chest freezer.

Unclutter your refrigerator by storing some foods in a small chest freezer.

People are showing increasing interest in bulk grocery shopping, and a chest freezer may be partially integral to this trend, according to the Riedel Marketing Group in a survey of the HomeTrend Influentials Panel, or HIPsters. A small chest freezer is generally considered to have a storage capacity of 6 to 9 cubic feet, while the largest models push past 18 cubic feet. Appliance manufacturers recommend owners perform regular cleaning on nearly all chest freezers, which includes manually defrosting a unit that does not have automatic defrosting.

Manual Defrosting


Unplug the chest freezer from the power outlet. Remove all food that is stored in the freezer. Temporarily store meats and other frozen foods in your refrigerator's freezer compartment while you defrost the chest freezer or place them in coolers filled with ice.


Open the lid on the chest freezer.


Place the drain pan or a shallow pan underneath the drain outlet at the bottom, side wall on the chest freezer.


Remove the drain plug from the floor in the interior of the chest freezer. Pull the defrost drain plug from the exterior of the freezer.


Wait as the encrusted ice melts and drains out of the chest freezer into the pan. Monitor the pan and empty it into a bucket or into a nearby sink, as necessary. Put both drain plugs in place after defrosting is complete.



Add 1 qt. warm water to a bucket. Measure 2 tbsp. baking soda into the bucket. Stir the baking soda until it is dissolved, using a cotton cloth. Wring excess water from the cloth.


Wipe the interior walls of the freezer with the baking soda-soaked cloth. Wipe other removable parts like the wire basket, where applicable.


Wet another cotton cloth with water only. Wipe away the baking soda residue, food crumbs and stains.


Plug the freezer's power cable into the electrical outlet. Wait about 24 hours for the temperature in the freezer to stabilize, if you can keep your frozen meats safely stored in the refrigerator's freezer for that long. Alternatively, place any frozen meat back into the freezer after it has cooled sufficiently.

Things You Will Need

  • Shallow pan

  • Bucket

  • Measuring cup

  • Measuring spoons

  • Baking soda

  • Cotton cloths


  • The baking soda solution washes stains and neutralizes odors in the chest freezer.


  • Avoid leaving the door open on the chest freezer unattended, especially with children and pets in the home.

  • Although baking soda is generally a harmless household cleaner, refer to the chest freezer's instruction manual to confirm that the manufacturer approves of its use on your unit.