My gross freezer...
January 28, 2010 5:19 AM   Subscribe

Green FlavorIce exploded in my freezer. It's disgusting. It's been there for years. How do I clean it?

So, you know FlavorIce -- those sugary colored ice pops? Well, a few years back one of them exploded in my freezer, leaving behind a green, sticky mess. I'm finally ready to clean this up. How do I go about bringing my freezer back to its former glory? I was thinking about using a putty knife or, like, a chisel to scrape it up, but it's just so gooey. Any tips, ideas, recommended cleaning products? This is nasty. Thanks!
posted by kmtiszen to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
My favorite cleaner for sticky stuff is Goo Gone to do the major de-stickying, and some sort of general-purpose cleaner to get the Goo Gone off. (I like 409 Orange cleaner/degreaser, but I'm a sucker for citrus smells)

Because it's sugar-based, you might just try hot water and soap. It should dissolve.
posted by WowLookStars at 5:27 AM on January 28, 2010

Oh, it's mostly sugar, so it should be dissolvable in water. Just heat up a pan of water til it boils, then dip a sponge or paper towel in that (being careful not to burn yourself), and it should slowly melt into a slightly-less-dense goo, which you can mop up.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:27 AM on January 28, 2010

Don't use anything sharp on your freezer, one poke through to the delicate cold-making machinery and you've bricked your fridge, not advisable.

You can get sticky goo off better if it's thawed sticky goo, though it's sort of a pain. So first, transfer your frozen goods to some sort of a cooler [or leave them outside of you're someplace where it's wintertime] and turn your freezer off. This will let the goo thaw somewhat. I've found that for sticky sugary stuff, water will actually work, it's just slow. So, once your freezer is off and empty, put a big bowl of hot water in the middle of it and shut the door. If there's frost in your freezer this will help thaw it [and if the goo is in the frost then hey, no goo!]. If there's no frost, this will help soften the slime. Then scrub gently with one of those plastic scrubbits. If the goo is really tough to get off, try leaving a wet paper towel or hand towel on it which will dampen the top layer and then you can scrub at that and repeat. Good on you for tackling this.
posted by jessamyn at 5:29 AM on January 28, 2010

From the wonderful site How to Clean Stuff:

Before you begin the cleaning process, you should get your supplies together. You don’t want to leave your freezer half done while you rush out to the grocery store. Here is what you’ll need:

* Rag or sponge
* Towel or paper towels
* Vinegar or other sanitizing cleaner
* Water
* Baking soda
* Old toothbrush

1. Empty out the freezer
2. Defrost the freezer
3. Wipe out the freezer
4. Deodorize the freezer
5. Dry the freezer
6. Turn it back on and put the food back
posted by netbros at 5:35 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

I had the exact same kind of mess in my freezer. It's dead simple to clean.

The reason it's gooey is because of the cold. You could let your freezer defrost and follow netbros' suggestion, but that takes time.

What I did was I boiled some water, I emptied the freezer, and I poured some water on the mess to disolve some of it, wiped it with paper towels, and repeated till the mess was gone. Simple, fast, clean.
posted by splice at 5:48 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Don't use anything sharp on your freezer, one poke through to the delicate cold-making machinery and you've bricked your fridge

Emphasizing this. The psssssss of freon (or whatever) escaping into your kitchen is sort of fun, but definitely not worth it.
posted by shothotbot at 6:04 AM on January 28, 2010

Hot water will do, and you can put a bit of white vinegar on your cleaning rags to help cut through any grime that isn't sugar based, too. In case it's on the ceiling and walls, too, what you can do to help melt it off is essentially give your freezer a steam bath. After defrosting, take a big baking dish (or something wide and heatproof, whatever) and fill it up with extremely hot boiling water. Shut the freezer immediately. The steam will help lift everything up off the surfaces and drip down to the bottom where it can be easily mopped up.
posted by Mizu at 6:49 AM on January 28, 2010

De-thaw the whole thing first. Once you are not dealing with ice anymore clean up will be a lot easier. I'm all for the hot water idea. Sugary shit is easily dissolved with hot water. Also baking soda and vinegar work wonders as well. Plus they do not put any harsh chemicals in your freezer where you store food. I would also advise against using anything shape. If you poke a hole through your freezer wall you pretty much ace/deuce the whole fridge.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:12 AM on January 28, 2010

Nthing hot water and paper towels. I cleaned an elderly sorbet spill out of our freezer without even turning the fridge off.
posted by zamboni at 7:47 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't use anything sharp on your freezer, one poke through to the delicate cold-making machinery and you've bricked your fridge

Nthing. Had the first CFC free fridge back in the day. No patience with defrosting is a stupid reason to have to go get a new one.
posted by gijsvs at 9:01 AM on January 28, 2010

I'm just going to throw in another "I punctured a coil in my fridge with a not-very-sharp scraping tool and got to buy my landlord a new one!" anecdote because basically you cannot hear this fact enough times.
posted by nanojath at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2010

Yes, my dad just destroyed our mini-fridge that we use for pop cans and the like by getting impatient with the defrosting and hacking at the ice with a knife.

Greg Nog: "Just heat up a pan of water til it boils, then dip a sponge or paper towel in that (being careful not to burn yourself)"

You can use tongs to hold the sponge/paper towel, although you might not get much scrubbing power this way.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:17 PM on January 28, 2010

My favored lazy man's defrosting technique is to repeatedly heat water to boiling in a soup pan, then place that directly in the freezer (the fridge is, of course, turned off). Eventually you not only melt the layer of frost on the bottom surface, you start to heat up the fluid and that heat is transmitted to other surfaces, and finally it all starts coming off in enormous, thin flakes.

I do remember our family's fridge that came with a plastic defrosting scraper, but it seems it doesn't take much to ruin the coils -- even denting one can impede flow.
posted by dhartung at 2:43 PM on January 28, 2010

You don't need to turn off the freezer to do this. Run the water in your tap as hot as it will go and get a dishtowel sopping wet with this hot water (you may want to use rubber gloves if your water is really hot). Wring the towel slightly so it doesn't drip everywhere and place it over the spill. Wait a minute and wipe. Repeat as necessary and then use a dry towel to dry the spot before it freezes - done!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:46 PM on January 28, 2010

For the completely overpowered approach, a steam cleaner would probably do this pretty awesomely. Not too high-pressure, though.
posted by that girl at 5:31 PM on January 28, 2010

I've used a hair dryer plus paper towels. Melt it, wipe it up, clean with water and bleach.
posted by Houstonian at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

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