How to Defrost a Refrigerator

By Julie Boehlke

When your refrigerator slowly begins to not keep your food chilled, the first assumption you may make is that the appliance may be breaking down. Before you go out spending hundreds of dollars on a new refrigerator or appliance repairs, check and see if the back of the refrigerator needs to be defrosted. Ice formation on the back of the refrigerator could cause it to overheat and not cool down properly. Whether you have an old refrigerator or a new one, following some simple steps will help you save money on repairs and a new refrigerator.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerator
  • Towels
  • Cooler
  • Hairdryer
  • Phillips head screw driver

Step 1

Empty all food contents out of your refrigerator and freezer and move the food to a cold place such as a cooler.

Step 2

Unplug the refrigerator from the electrical outlet.

Step 3

Pull the refrigerator out a few feet to expose the back side. If the coils are covered, remove the face plate with a screw driver to expose the ice covered coils. Set the face plate and screws aside.

Step 4

Wedge the towels down between the floor and the refrigerator to catch leaks and ice particles.

Step 5

Use your screwdriver to carefully pick at the ice formations that have accumulated on the coils. Be careful not to break the coils or damage any parts on the refrigerator.

Step 6

Use a hairdryer to dry up any ice particles or wetness that has formed on the refrigerator.

Step 7

Replace the faceplate on the refrigerator, plug in the refrigerator and replace the food.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the settings on your refrigerator are set on a middle to low temperature setting so that the refrigerator maintains an adequate temperature.
  • Keep all food in a cold dry place.
  • Remove excess frost from the interior of the refrigerator by applying heat to the location.
  • Allow the refrigerator up to one hour before it reaches it the proper cooling temperature.
  • Use caution when pulling a refrigerator out from the wall, it could fall on you or tip over.
  • Never get into the back of the refrigerator unless the unit is unplugged, failing to do so could cause electric shock.
  • Avoid breaking or pulling on the coils, this could permanently damage the refrigerator.