How to Defrost an Ice Box

Many iceboxes have an automatic defrost feature; however, some older models must be manually defrosted. An icebox should be defrosted about once a year, or when the frost inside is 1/4 inch or more in thickness. When frost accumulates in your icebox, it decreases the space and efficiency of the appliance. Your icebox will need to work harder to keep food frozen, and this will increase your energy bill.

Unplug the icebox from the electrical socket. Remove all food, ice cube trays and removable shelves. Place towels on the floor below the appliance to help catch any water that might leak.

Fill a large pot with hot water. Sit it inside the icebox and close the door.

Open the freezer after about 15 minutes. Use a plastic scraper to chip off the melting frost. Take out large chunks of ice and frost by hand.

Discard the water from the pan and refill it with hot water. Put it in the icebox, wait 15 minutes, then scrape. Continue this process until all of the frost is gone.

Mix 1 qt. of warm water with 1 tbsp of baking soda in a bucket. Wipe out the interior of the icebox with a sponge and the baking soda solution. Rinse the inside of the icebox with a clean sponge and plain water to remove the baking soda residue. Dry the interior with an absorbent rag.

Plug the icebox back into the electrical socket. Replace any removable shelves that you had taken out. Close the door and wait about 30 minutes for the icebox to become chilled before putting food back inside.


To keep your frozen items cold during the defrosting process, put them in coolers filled with ice. You may also line a cardboard box with several layers of newspapers and put the food in the box.


Refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions on defrosting your icebox. Some manufacturers do not recommend using hot water to defrost the icebox because pressure may build up in the evaporator, which can make it difficult to restart the appliance. If this is the case with your model, leave the icebox door open for several hours and allow the icebox to defrost naturally.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Large pot
  • Plastic scraper
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Absorbent rag
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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.