How to Clean Your Freezer Without Ruining Your Food

Cleaning the freezer can be an ominous task. In addition to all the frost buildup you might encounter, chances are you will find items from years gone by that need to be ditched, unless you’re great at keeping your frozen foods organized. Then there are the crumbs and spills at the bottom that will need cleaning up, from when the kiddos opened up the waffles and didn’t close the bag. But even more worrisome is the fact that those frozen foods that you have meticulously preserved could go bad if you don’t take the proper precautions when defrosting. 

This is why you want to break out the coolers, ice packs, and thermal bags when you undertake this kitchen job. Cleaning the freezer is definitely a plan-ahead chore. You want to make certain that there is minimal disruption to the foods so they stay frozen and don’t risk experiencing swings in temperature that could encourage bacteria growth. 

Freezer needs to be at zero degrees

Food in a cooler

As the FDA notes, if your frozen goods remain at zero degrees Fahrenheit, there is no need to worry because they are always going to be safe. However, if you let them sit out while you clean, you could be putting those who eat them at risk for food-borne illnesses. This is why having a cooler filled with ice on hand is a good idea. Put those frozen veggies, steaks, casseroles, and pints of ice cream in it while you clean, to help maintain that consistent temperature and keep microorganisms at bay.

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If you don’t have a cooler, you should group the frozen foods together in plastic bags and they should stay cool without too much of a temperature shift. Additionally, the thermal bags you can find at grocery stores that are used to transport frozen goods will work as a temporary storage spot. They tend to keep things cool for up to 12 hours. The final piece of advice is for after you have cleaned and sanitized your freezer: Make certain that you give it time to cool down after you turn it back on, so the temperature is at zero before you start putting foods back into it.

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