How Long Does It Take to Defrost a Refrigerator?

Gary Burchell/Taxi/Getty Images

Depending on the size and method, defrosting a refrigerator or freezer can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a day. The most common method is to unplug the refrigerator or freezer, prop the door open and allow the ice to melt on its own. However, this method may take up to a day to defrost the appliance completely.

Another proven method that offers faster results is to place a pan of boiling water on the floor of the refrigerator or freezer and close the door. The steam rising from the water softens the ice, making it far easier to remove.

Do not use any sharp or pointed tool, such as a knife or ice pick, to remove the softened ice. This could damage the internal components of the appliance. Instead, use the flat side of a wooden spoon or a plastic spatula to scrape the ice away carefully.

Another method that speeds up the defrosting process is to use a hair dryer to melt off the ice. Do not get the device or the cord wet.

With all of these methods, a towel or shallow pan should be placed in the bottom of the refrigerator or freezer to prevent the melting water from spilling out onto the floor and making a mess.