Why Do Icicles Form in Freezers? (Because You’re Doing This)

You may be noticing that your freezer has more ice than the arctic circle. You might be worried that icicles forming are bad for your freezer. Are you wondering why icicles form in freezers in the first place or, more importantly, how to get rid of the icicles in your freezer?  

Why Does Water Expand When It Freez...
Why Does Water Expand When It Freezes?

Icicles form in freezers due to an excess of water build-up inside of the freezer. This can often come from your freezer’s automatic defrost settings. It can also come from the repeated thawing and refreezing of the food in your freezer. 

If you’re unsure why your freezer would have these issues, stick with us!  In this article, we’ll be going over the usual suspects for freezer issues, how to fix them, and how to prevent them from happening in the first place!  

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Tired of having to scrape ice out of your freezer constantly?  Consider using one of these, and stop the ice before it starts!  

1. Anti-Freeze Mats– Place one of these mats in the bottom of your freezer to prevent ice build-up.

2. Coil Cleaner – If you’ve got dirty build-up on your condenser coils, this non-toxic cleaner can get it all cleaned up and back in working order in no time! 

3. Gaskets – If you’re struggling to get a good seal on your freezer door, replacing the gasket is an easy way to get your ice problem back under control! 

Freezer Frost Woes

Whether you just got a new fridge or had the same one for twenty years, you may notice some frost build-up. 

While a little bit of frost isn’t necessarily something to sweat about, a significant build-up can mean big problems! 

Is Frost in a Freezer Bad?

A slight frost in a freezer never worries anyone, but it may be time to reconsider when you can’t tell what you’ve got in the freezer through the frost. Anytime you put an item with moisture in your freezer, you’ll get a little frost as it cools and then freezes.

If you notice an ice buildup or puddles of water when your freezer defrosts, you may have more significant issues.

First, ensure your freezer door is properly sealing when you close it.  You may also want to consider organizing your freezer, so you don’t have to keep the door open as long.

Is Ice Buildup in a Freezer Bad?

A small bit of ice is natural due to foods freezing and expelling moisture during that process. However, if you notice a lot of ice buildup, you may have an issue.  Unfortunately, your freezer may not be functioning correctly.  

A common cause of ice buildup is having an over or understocked freezer.  If there is no room for the air to circulate, the food may not freeze properly or stay completely frozen. 

This can cause ice buildup from humidity from warm foods.

What Are the Consequences of Icicles Forming in Your Freezer?

The most significant consequence of icicles forming in your freezer is that they can cause freezer burn on your food.  Freezer burn can affect the taste and texture of your frozen foods, especially meats and vegetables. 

In addition, you may notice they lack the vibrant colors they had before freezing. 

Other consequences can include an unpleasant odor in your freezer due to the thawing and freezing of your groceries. 

A pool of stagnant water can turn into a smelly mess in no time.  Poor freezing can also cause your food to spoil from unintentional thawing.

Freezer Working Overtime

If you’re noticing your freezer is constantly running or that ice is building up with no break, you’re probably concerned, as you should be!  We’ve got the answers to your freezing questions! 

Why Is My Freezer Creating Icicles?

If humidity and moisture are abundant in your freezer, as that moisture freezes, you may see icicles. A common reason this happens is that the freezer door is left open too long, causing warm air to infiltrate your cold freezer and change the internal temperatures. 

You may also have a bad gasket, or door seal, on your freezer door.  A damaged gasket can lead to all the cold air slowly leaking from your freezer and allowing warm air to enter. 

Getting a new gasket put on is pretty easy, though, so don’t worry! 

Why Is My Freezer Making Ice Crystals?

It’s normal to see your freezer make a few ice crystals.  Ice crystals are formed when the moisture from your food comes into contact with the cold air from your freezer. However, there are a few ways to minimize ice crystals.

Ensure that any food going into your freezer is at room temperature at most.  Do not put hot food straight into the freezer.

Placing hot food into a freezer will cause the freezer temperature to skyrocket and cause ice crystals. 

Why Are Things in My Freezer Frosty?

You may be noticing an increase of frost in your freezer due to high moisture content.  While a bit of ice is nothing to worry about, you may need to consider defrosting your freezer if your food is getting freezer burn. 

It’s also worth checking to see if you or someone in your home is opening up the freezer frequently or if the door is being left ajar. 

The fluctuations in temperature from these activities may be what’s causing ice to form and making your freezer extra frosty! 

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Why Does My Frost Free Freezer Have Ice in the Bottom?

Your freezer has evaporator coils that keep your freezer cold.  Sometimes, a build-up of frost and dirt can cause your freezer to have excess frost or ice build-up.  You should also check your freezer’s evaporation tray to ensure it’s not overflowing.

Your freezer should have a small compartment under the base where any ice that melted during your freezer’s normal defrost cycle drains to prevent puddles.

However, if there is a blockage in the tubing or the tray is full, you may notice a small puddle turning into ice in the freezer. 

Why Is There Frost on the Back of My Freezer?

The evaporator coils in your freezer are designed to notice any ice build-up and will temporarily heat up to melt that ice. However, if you’re seeing a frost issue on the back of your freezer, it could be that the coils are not functioning correctly.  

You can try manually defrosting your freezer by removing all frozen products, unplugging your freezer, and allowing it to come up to room temperature. 

If doing this, be sure to clean and dry it thoroughly before re-freezing. 

Fixing the Freezer Blues

If you’ve been having icy issues with your freezer, you’re probably ready for it to all be over.  Here are some top tips for getting rid of icy build-up so you can have the freezer of your dreams! 

How Do I Get Rid of Icicles in My Freezer?

If you’re looking to get rid of ice as soon as possible from your freezer, consider simply scraping it all out.  This is a quick fix, but you may need to consider other options if you notice the ice building back up quickly. 

You can thoroughly defrost your freezer by removing all frozen food, unplugging your freezer, and allowing it to come up to room temperature. 

Then wipe it out, plug it back in, and set the thermometer to 0* F (-18*C)

How Do I Get Rid of Ice in My Freezer Without Defrosting It?

If you don’t have time to get rid of the ice in your freezer by going through the defrosting process, consider using a metal or hard plastic spatula to scrape the ice from around your freezer.  

You can also carefully heat a metal spatula to melt some of the ice while you’re scrapping. If you decide to do this, be sure and use caution, so you don’t accidentally burn yourself.

Also, be sure to wipe the freezer out after completing this task so you don’t leave any standing water. 

How Do You Melt Ice Quickly in the Freezer?

If you’re defrosting your freezer and want to speed up the process, you can prop the freezer door open and use a fan to shoot warm air into the compartment.  Be sure you’ve got towels down to keep the water contained.

If you don’t have time to do a full defrost or simply don’t want to find space for all your frozen items, you can give this a try:

  • Take a clean rag and run it under hot water
  • Dip it in rubbing alcohol
  • Place the rag on the ice
  • Be sure to have a dry towel to absorb the melted water! 

Can I Use a Hairdryer to Defrost a Freezer?

Using a hairdryer to defrost a freezer lets you direct a current of warm air exactly where you want it to go.  Using a hairdryer to defrost your freezer can be effective; just be sure to keep the hairdryer far away from any pooling water. 

Make sure you’re moving the hairdryer often to prevent one area of the freezer from getting too hot too quickly.  Also, be sure not to use the hairdryer too long, as they are prone to overheating.  

Can I Pour Hot Water in My Freezer?

You do not want to pour hot or boiling water directly on ice buildup in your freezer.  Adding hot water to ice can cause the ice to pop and damage your freezer.  Also, the hot water may cool quicker than you think, causing more icy buildup to form. 

Instead, put hot water in a bowl and place the bowl in the freezer. 

This will cause the freezer’s internal temperature to rise enough for you to be able to scrape off any ice buildup easily but won’t risk harming the freezer.

How Do I Get Rid of Ice in My Freezer Without Turning It Off?

If you don’t have time or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of unplugging your freezer for a full defrost, you can get rid of the ice buildup in your freezer by scrapping it off with a metal or hard plastic spatula. 

Scraping the ice is a short-term fix.  You may still have to do a full defrost in the future. Another option is to force your freezer into a defrost cycle. 

You can do this by locating the temperature control on your freezer and turning it up as much as possible, allowing the ice to melt, then turning it back down.  

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How Do I Fix Snow in My Freezer?

If you don’t like your freezer looking like a winter wonderland, you can fix having snow in your freezer by ensuring your freezer door is sealing properly and is remaining closed as much as possible.

If you’re not sure if your freezer is sealing properly, you can take a piece of paper and close the door. Then, give the paper a soft tug. 

If the paper slides out without resistance, your door isn’t sealing properly.  Be sure to do this test on all sides of the door to make sure there aren’t any bad seals. 

Preventative Measures

We all know that a frosty freezer can mean freezer-burned food and uncomfortable ice build-up, but how do we prevent it from happening in the first place?  We’ve got the best tips and tricks for you and your freezer!  

How Do I Stop My Freezer From Getting Frost?

If you want to stop a frost issue from happening before it starts, first make sure your freezer door is sealing correctly.  An improper seal can lead to warm air circulating in your freezer, bringing up the temperature and causing frost buildup.

Be sure you’re checking that any food placed in your freezer has cooled to room temperature and is not overly moist. 

Excess moisture in your freezer will freeze and can lead to an overall frost buildup in the freezer. 

How Do You Prevent Ice Build Up in Your Freezer?

You can prevent ice buildup in your freezer by keeping a close eye on how often the freezer is being opened.  You should be sure the freezer has closed properly each time it’s opened to prevent excess warm air from entering the freezer.  

Another great option to prevent ice build-up is to invest in a Food Mat. These mats stop ice build-up from forming in your freezer so that you don’t have to worry about the defrosting process. Win-win!

What Are Three Ways to Prevent Freezer Crystals?

There are three major ways to prevent freezer crystals from forming. First, make sure your freezer is sealing properly. Second, keep moisture to a minimum. Third, make sure the cold air can circulate properly (don’t have your freezer crammed full!)

One last thing to check, make sure the back of your freezer is not backed up directly into the wall. 

There should be about an inch of space between the back of your freezer and any walls.  This allows air to circulate and can keep your freezer from overheating. 

Related Questions

What Causes a Freezer to Stop Freezing?

A common reason your freezer has stopped freezing is that your condenser coils are dirty or have frost build-up.  These issues will prevent your freezer from working properly, but they are fixable!  

Be sure to have a bottle of condenser coil cleaner on hand to get rid of pesky dirt and build-up.  This non-toxic, easy-to-use cleaner allows you to easily clean your freezers coils and get your fridge back to its usual chilly temperature.

How Do You Prevent Freezer Frost on Food?

If you’re struggling with freezer burn on your food, there are some easy steps to take.  First, make sure that any food you place in your freezer is room temperature and does not have any excess moisture. 

If you notice your food has condensation built up on the outside, be sure to wipe it down before putting it back in the freezer. 

This prevents the moisture from building up and prevents freezer burn down the road. 

Final Thoughts

Having ice build-up in your freezer is a headache no one wants to deal with. 

We hope the information we’ve given in this article can help you handle and prevent any more hassle in the future! 

Meta: Tired of finding icicles in your freezer?  Wondering how to get rid of the mess and prevent it from happening again?  We’ve got all the answers to your freezer woes! 

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