Your mini fridge might come with a small freezer compartment inside, which could be more of a problem than a convenience.
The freezer compartments can often freeze up, and the ice can block the cold airflow, which ironically raises the air temperature inside your fridge and can force food to spoil.
In this article, we’ll cover how to defrost a mini fridge.
Are There Defrost Settings on a Mini Fridge?
It depends on what mini fridge you get. Most mini fridges do not have a defrost setting, at least not one viable to use. Your best bet is going to be to take the manual route.
If you’re using your mini fridge to store sensitive things, such as insulin, you’ll need to make sure you have a separate refrigerator to store it in while you defrost your mini fridge.
why does my mini fridge freezer keep icing up?
There isn’t nearly as much temperature control between the freezer of your mini fridge and the fridge section itself.
Because a freezer’s temperature is so low, it freezes moisture, so any moisture that seeps into your fridge will be frozen, and add frost onto the exterior of your freezer bin.
It’s not the best design. There’s a reason your residential refrigerator has a separate fridge and freezer, divided by insulation layers.
Mini fridges freeze up because of temperature settings, moisture buildup, and in many cases, a bad gasket. Gaskets are easy enough to replace and play a more crucial role in your mini fridge than you think.
If there’s a bad seal, the air temperature will be off, forcing the compressor on, which will speed up the freezing process of all the moisture seeping into your mini fridge. Therefore pay attention to your gasket seal to prevent it.
How to Defrost a Mini Fridge: Step-by-Step
This is a quick and straightforward way to defrost your mini fridge.
One of the main reasons you want to defrost your mini fridge properly is to start with a literal clean slate and clear out any bacteria in your fridge harbored by moisture buildup.
1. Empty the Contents of Your mini Fridge
Straightforward: get everything out of your mini fridge, and find somewhere safe to put it.
If you don’t have another fridge, that’s okay: you can buy a styrofoam cooler for the time being and store it there with sufficient ice.
Your mini fridge will need some time to defrost thoroughly, so do your best to get enough ice to stash the contents of your fridge in a cooler.
2. Turn Off Your Fridge
Most mini fridges come with a freezer bin in the upper right corner, which becomes flush with the door when you close it.
This isn’t a good enough seal, so frost starts to gather outside of the freezer bin. Turn the fridge off, and leave your door open.
This frost will eventually melt, so it’s good to put down some towels inside your fridge to soak up excess moisture.
3. Allow your mini fridge to Fully Defrost
If you have a lot of frost buildup, it will take a while to let it all fall away.
Many people don’t defrost their mini fridges until the door has trouble closing. A full defrost could take all night, leaving you to split this task up into two separate days.
However, if you do this before too much frost builds up, you will have much shorter defrost times. Let the ice melt and collect, and then get to it the next day.
4. Clean Up Excess Water
Take that damp towel and get it out of the fridge. Use another one to wipe down all remaining moisture in your entire refrigerator.
Wipe along the top of the fridge’s inside, the entire inside and outside of the freezer basket, and even the gaskets (you wouldn’t believe how much moisture gets trapped in there).
Dump the container that had water in it, and leave the bucket to be sanitized later before you put it away. Now that your fridge is dry, the towels are in the hamper, and the runoff is all gone, it’s time to clean.
Take a solution of two parts water, one part white distilled vinegar, and put it into a spray bottle. If you don’t have a spray bottle handy, that’s okay: soak a face cloth in the solution for the same effect.
Spray or wipe down the entire fridge. Use a dry towel to soak up any residual solution before finishing. Your fridge will have a slight vinegar scent, dissipating in 24-72 hours.
5. You’re Done
Plug it back in, let the freezer run, and wait for the freezer to reach 32°F before putting any frozen goods back inside it.
Depending on how long you had to leave it unplugged, it might take two to ten hours to reach ideal temperatures.
Bonus Tip: If your fridge takes too long to turn on, it could be due to dust buildup on the compressor and coils. Turn your mini fridge around and view the back, and while it’s off, dust everything you can see.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to get everything up, and your mini fridge should freeze much faster.
Why do You Need to Clean a Defrosted Mini Fridge?
The moisture in your refrigerator, particularly after defrosting the freezer bin, is like a petri dish for pathogens. Pathogens are known to relate to respiratory issues, urinary infections, and exploitation of compromised immune systems, such as those in autoimmune disease sufferers.
Your mini fridge is like a breeding ground for bacteria, and without cleaning it, it’s only a matter of time until it begins to affect your food and make you sick.
If you defrost your mini fridge, you should also be cleaning it out. I hate to say it, but when used as secondary refrigeration units, most mini fridges aren’t cleaned as often as they should be.
How Often Should I Defrost my Mini Fridge?
If you’re using your mini fridge as your primary refrigeration unit, you might have to defrost it once every three months.
If it’s being used as a secondary place to cool beverages, you should only need to defrost your mini fridge once every six months.
Keep the Frost to a Minimum
Now that you have a full rundown of defrosting your mini fridge, it’s time to keep it in optimal operation by checking for frost buildup at least once a week.
Depending on the settings you have for your mini fridge, this might only need to happen once every three to four months if you’re lucky.