6 Easy Ways To Melt Ice Fast In Freezer (10 Minute Defrost)

If you’re anything like me, you procrastinate on simple chores over and over until they become a big project. 

The ice accumulating in my freezer is a perfect example. 

Luckily, knowing the right tricks, it’s pretty easy to defrost a freezer and melt the ice quickly so it doesn't take all day. In fact, it shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes if you know what you are doing and use one of these easy methods.

To defrost a freezer fast, turn off your freezer, empty its contents into freezer bags or a cooler, fill the drawers with hot water or place buckets of hot water in the freezer, and close for 15 minutes. The steam will melt the ice and any remaining ice can be scraped away with an ice scraper or spatula.

Alternatively, a handheld steam cleaner, blowdryer, hot cloth with rubbing alcohol, or diluted vinegar spray will encourage ice to melt quickly. 

Defrosting a freezer doesn’t have to be an event. Using a few tricks to speed up the process can turn a full day of waiting into a 10 minute job. 

Below are the best ways to melt ice in a freezer super fast — without damaging your freezer. 

1. Use Hot Water And An Ice Scraper

Things You’ll Need:

  • A couple old towels
  • An ice scraper or spatula (plastic not metal)
  • A tea kettle or pot to boil water
  • A few basins or buckets (depending on your freezer)
  • A cooler or a few freezer bags

1. Empty Your Freezer Items Into Freezer Bags (Or A Cooler)

Empty out your freezer, placing everything in freezer bags or a cooler.

Don’t assume that the process will be quick and everything will be fine on the countertop — the freezer may take a while to come back to temperature when you’re finished. 

2. Prep The Freezer For Defrosting

Once the freezer is emptied, place an old towel around its base to catch any melted ice that leaks out. You don't want to make a big mess on the floor.

Switch off and unplug the freezer. If the unit is a refrigerator and freezer two-in-one, keep the refrigerator door shut the entire time to help it maintain its temperature. 

3. Fill Tubs With Hot Water And Place On The Shelves Of Your Freezer

Remove each drawer and fill with a few inches of hot water (not boiling or you might melt the plastic). Replace the drawers, close the freezer door, and wait for 15 minutes or so.

If your freezer doesn’t have drawers, fill buckets, basins, or pots with hot water and place on each shelf instead. 

If you have glass or metal shelves you can bring some water to boiling on the stove. Then you can place the pot directly from the stove onto the shelves.

Ideally you want one pot or bucket of water per shelf. It'll melt the ice below and directly above it.

If you have plastic shelves you don't want to place the hot pot directly on the shelf as it can melt the plastic. Either use thick cloths underneath or transfer the hot water into plastic tubs and place those on the shelves.

4. Close The Door and Leave For 5-15 Minutes

Once you've placed the hot water into the freezer you want to close the door and leave it to melt the ice.

Depending on the thickness of the ice and the size of your freezer this can take as little as 5 minutes or you may want to leave it for up to 15 minutes.

5. Scrape Away Excess Ice and Soak Up Water With Towels

Now that the steam has begun to melt the ice open your freezer door and soak up melted ice with a towel.

Use a plastic ice scraper or spatula or your hands to remove any remaining chunks of ice. Start at the top and work your way down, tossing any chunks of ice into the sink or one of the drawers/pots for emptying later.

If you don’t have an ice scraper handy, a wooden or plastic spatula should do the trick. Don’t use anything metal, you may damage your freezer. 

You'll find that a lot of the big chunks of ice will come away pretty easily after they have had time to melt from the hot steam and heat from the hot water.

6. Clean And Dry The Freezer

Now is a perfect time to give the freezer a quick cleaning.

Use a washcloth and a bit of soapy water to wipe down your freezer’s interior. Drawers can be cleaned in the sink.

You might as well throw out any expired food that’s been hiding in the back of the freezer for nine years as well. 

Dry everything thoroughly with a towel before replacing the drawers. 

You want to make sure your freezer isn't wet as this water will refreeze and you'll end up with the same problem. Or worst case scenario mold might grow in the freezer due to an excess of water.

7. Turn The Freezer Back On And Put Your Items Back Inside

Plug the freezer back in and switch it on.

Wait at least an hour or two before placing everything back inside. Depending on the size of your freezer, it may take up to four hours for it to return to temperature.

2. Use A Steam Cleaner To Defrost Your Freezer Fast

A handheld steam cleaner is the perfect tool for melting ice in a freezer fast.

Simply turn your freezer off, empty its contents into a cooler or freezer bag, point the steamer at accumulations of ice, and use towels to absorb meltwater as you go.

Because the steam is extremely hot it'll melt the ice really quickly and you can be done in as little as 10 minutes.

As an added bonus, the steam will clean and sterilize your freezer as it defrosts. 

3. Use Hot Cloths and Rubbing Alcohol To Quickly Defrost Your Freezer

Using tongs, dip a washcloth or towel in a pot of boiling water. You want to soak it completely and then ring it out so it's not leaking water everywhere.

Pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on the cloth. Rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, so it encourages ice to melt faster. 

Place the cloth on any large accumulations of ice, pressing down around the sides with your tongs.

You can then leave the cloth for a few minutes to allow the ice to begin to melt.

Once the cloth cools down a bit and the ice begins to loosen, slide your fingers underneath and gently wiggle and pry until the chunk of ice gives way. 

For thinner sheets of ice, simply laying the hot cloth on top should melt them away quickly.

You’ll likely need to wring meltwater out of your washcloth, dip into your hot water, and reapply rubbing alcohol several times as you go.

Absorb melted ice with a fresh dry towel throughout the process. 

4. Use A Hairdryer To Melt Ice In Your Freezer Quickly

A hairdryer can help defrost your freezer quickly, just be cautious. 

Using too high of a heat setting may cause damage, but this will only really happen if you put the dryer extremely close to underlying electric components.

Consider sticking to low or medium heat and keep the blowdryer moving the whole time. 

Keep the hair dryer and its cord well away from any water – hairdryers and water shouldn't mix.

Soak up the melted ice with a dry towel as you go and as ice begins to melt remove large chunks and throw them in the sink or in a bowl or bucket. 

Aim the hair dryer at the sides of the ice. The goal is to get the air to penetrate behind the ice, between the ice and the wall of your freezer. Eventually you'll get big chunks coming off and you'll be able to remove a lot of ice from your freezer quickly.

5. Use A Vinegar Spray To Melt Ice and Clean Your Freezer At The Same Time

Vinegar can help you melt ice in your freezer quickly. Like rubbing alcohol, vinegar lowers the freezing point of ice, encouraging it to melt faster. 

Dilute one part vinegar to one part hot water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on any accumulations of ice. 

To prevent damage, avoid spraying the cooling elements of your freezer directly. 

Since vinegar is a natural, all-purpose cleaner, you’ll also be killing mold and cleaning your freezer as you go. 

Once the ice has melted give your freezer a final spray with vinegar and wipe it down then dry your freezer with a towel or leave it to air dry for a bit before turning the freezer back on.

Don’t Use Salt!

Salt is great at melting ice. Unfortunately, it’s also great at corroding the cooling element of your freezer and damaging seals and linings. 

Don’t use salt to melt the ice in your freezer, no matter how desperate. As shown above, there are many ways to melt ice quickly without salt

Final Thoughts

Defrosting a freezer quickly is pretty simple with the right approach. To melt ice in a freezer fast:

  • Fill drawers with hot water and use an ice scraper. 
  • Use a handheld steam cleaner. 
  • Use hot washcloths and rubbing alcohol. 
  • Use a hairdryer. 
  • Use vinegar. 

Any of these methods will have your freezer ice-free in 10-30 minutes or less.