How To Defrost A Mini Fridge (Quickly & Easily!)

It is important to keep your fridge and freezer clean and free of frost.  If you use a mini-fridge, it is even more important to keep these smaller appliances in pristine condition. Keeping a mini-fridge clean and free of frost isn’t hard.

Defrosting a mini-fridge requires the fridge to be emptied and the mini-fridge unplugged.  The ice and frost that has accumulated to melt.  After the ice and frost are gone, the mini-fridge can be cleaned and readied for storage or turned back on to get cold again.

 Maintaining your mini-fridge in top shape is important to keep the fridge operating efficiently.  A well-maintained mini-fridge will last longer, providing years of reliable service. Keeping your mini-fridge operating at top efficiency, you should keep the ice and frost build-up to a minimum.  Regular maintenance may involve regular defrosting and cleaning.  Following a few simple steps can make this chore easier and quicker.

How To Defrost A Mini Fridge

1)Get Prepared to Defrost and Clean your Mini-Fridge

You will need to have a few things on hand before you begin to defrost and clean your mini-fridge.  To make the job easier and quicker, gather the following:

  • Prepare a place to put your food before you start. Most mini-fridges will take 2 to 6 hours to defrost. Another refrigerator or a good cooler can hold your food while you defrost your mini-fridge.
  • Towels to help soak up any water they may drip or leak.
  • A dishpan or bowl to collect any ice or frost that you remove from the mini-fridge and freezer.
  • A bowl to hold hot-water to speed up the defrosting process.
  • Cleaning supplies to clean your mini-fridge after defrosting the mini-fridge.
Clean your Mini-Fridge first before Defrosting

2) Empty your Mini-Fridge

Remove all the food in your mini-fridge and put it in another fridge or a cooler.  If using a cooler pack with ice to keep the food at a safe temperature.

If you plan, you can prepare as much of the food as possible.  Avoid buying more food until the mini-fridge is back in service after defrosting.

3) Remove the Mini-fridge Plug from the Outlet

Without the electricity to power the compressor, your mini-fridge will start to defrost immediately.  Don’t rely on the on/off switch on the fridge.  To be safe, unplug the mini-fridge to prevent an accidental shock.

4)Prepare for the Defrost

As soon as you unplug the mini-fridge from the outlet, begin preparing for the water that is sure to follow.  Place a few towels under the mini-fridge.  Pay particular attention to the edge under the door as most of the meltwater will escape here.

Don’t use paper towels.  Bath towels work much better.  Paper towels don’t have the absorption capability to handle as much water as may appear.  If you have hardwood floors, you should move the fridge to another area.  The water from the melting ice can damage the hardwood floors.

5)Remove Any Shelves, Drawers, or Bins

Empty the mini-fridge completely.  Remove any shelves, bins, or drawers inside the mini-fridge.  Now is a good time to wash these parts of the mini-fridge.  Doing the washing now will give the parts time to dry before putting them back in the fridge.

6) Open the Freezer Door

Open the freezer door to allow air to circulate inside the freezer.  If the freezer compartment is inside the mini-fridge, leave the door of the mini-fridge open as well.

8)Take as Much Ice Out as Possible

If the build-up of ice is heavy, it may be possible to remove some of the ice in large chunks.  Removing built-up ice is easier after the mini-fridge has time to defrost and the ice has melted a bit.

You may use a plastic spatula as a scraper to help free the built-up ice in the mini-fridge.  Take great care if you chose to scrape the ice.  Never use a metal utensil to remove the ice.  If you are too aggressive with your scraping, you can damage the inside of your fridge.

9) Speed Up the Process

You can speed up the defrosting process a bit by placing a bowl of hot water in the mini-fridge or freezer compartment.  The hot water will raise the mini-fridges temperature and hasten the melting of any ice or frost.  Be sure you prop the mini-fridge door open any time you are using hot water to help defrost the mini-fridge.

10) Get it Clean

The defrosting may take 2 to 6 hours.  The time it takes to defrost depends on how much ice build-up is in the mini-fridge and freezer.  It would be best if you waited until the defrosting is complete before starting with the mini-fridge cleanup.

When the ice and frost are gone, wipe down the mini-fridge’s interior with a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture.  Once the interior of the mini-fridge is dry, you can begin the deep cleaning.

Use a mild cleaning agent and a clean cloth to clean the interior of the mini-fridge thoroughly.  You should also wipe down the exterior of the mini-fridge.  Pay particular attention to the door seals.  Keeping these door seals clean will extend their life by keeping them soft and flexible.

11)Replace the Shelves, Bins, and Drawers

When the mini-fridge’s interior is clean and completely dry, you can replace the interior parts of the mini-fridge.  Return the drawers, shelves, and bins to their proper places.

12)Plug the Mini-Fridge in and Wait

Plug the mini-fridge into the outlet and close all the doors completely.  Before you return any food to the mini-fridge, you must wait for the fridge to reach its operating temperature.  The time you must wait is dependent on the mini-fridge.  Typically, it takes about 24 hours for a mini-fridge to reach its proper operating temperature.

13)Stock Up the Mini-fridge

When the mini-fridge is back to its operating temperature, you can return your food to the mini-fridge.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Defrosting

There are a few things you should avoid when defrosting a mini-fridge.  Some of these are common sense.  The others are safety issues and should be recognized.

Don’t Use Metal Tools to Scrape the Ice

If you must try to hurry up the process by scraping ice and frost from the inside of your mini-fridge, don’t use any metal tool.  Metal tools easily damage the plastic that lines your mini-fridge.

Should you accidentally pierce the plastic lining of your mini-fridge, you can puncture one of the refrigerant lines.  Once punctured, the refrigerant line will release all the cooling agents in the system, and your mini-fridge will be useless.  It is difficult and expensive to repair these refrigerant lines, often costing more than a new mini-fridge.

Unplug the Refrigerator Before Defrosting

Unplugging the mini-fridge will make the defrosting process much easier and faster.  If you don’t unplug the mini-fridge, the compressor will continue to run.  As the compressor runs trying to keep the mini-fridge cold, it may overheat and suffer damage.

It would help if you also remembered that you would be working in and around the mini-fridge with water.  It is highly unlikely that you would suffer an electric shock, but why take the chance.  Remove any danger by disconnecting the electrical plug from the outlet.

Never Use a Blower Dryer or Heat Gun to Defrost Your Mini-Fridge

Don’t be tempted to use a blow dryer or heat gun to speed up the defrosting process.  Not only can you damage the interior of your mini-fridge with the blow dryer or heat gun, but you are also at risk for an electrical shock.

Working with a heat gun or blow dryer as the ice and frost melts in your mini-fridge, the water can conduct the electricity, and you can suffer a dangerous or deadly electrical shock.

Give the Mini-fridge Time to Get to Temperature

If you put food back into the mini-fridge before the temperature inside the mini-fridge reaches a safe level, your good may spoil.  Give the mini-fridge plenty of time to cool off and reach a safe food storage temperature.

Defrost Your Mini-fridge Regularly

Don’t let the ice and frost build-up inside your mini-fridge too much.  Surprisingly, a thick layer of ice inside your mini-fridge or freezer makes the compressor work hard.  The strain on the compressor may shorten the life of your mini-fridge and certainly makes the fridge work inefficiently.

The thicker ice and frost also make defrosting the mini-fridge harder and much more of a challenge.  Defrosting regularly makes the job easier and will help your mini-fridge last longer and operate more efficiently.

Storing Your Mini-Fridge

If you plan on storing your mini-fridge for any length of time, you should defrost your mini-fridge first.  The interior of the mini-fridge must be completely dry before you store your mini-fridge.

Use a small prop to keep the door open a few inches when the mini-fridge is in storage.  An open will allow air to circulate and keep mold and mildew from growing inside the mini-fridge. Mold and mildew are the chief cause of bad odors in your mini-fridge.

Keeping your Mini-Fridge Cold and Comfortable

A little attention now and then will help keep your mini-fridge operating at peak efficiency for many years.  Regular cleaning and defrosting are key to this maintenance.  The process does take some time but pays off in a mini-fridge that gives years of service.

We hope that you found this article useful and informative. Our intent is always to help you make life easier by maintaining and repairing your home and appliances quickly and easily.