how to defrost rv refrigerator

Defrosting an RV refrigerator is a necessary maintenance task to ensure that it runs efficiently and keeps your food cold. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to defrost an RV refrigerator:

Materials Needed:

  • Cooler or insulated bags
  • Towels or rags
  • Plastic scraper or soft plastic spatula
  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Soft brush or sponge (optional)


  1. Turn Off the Refrigerator:
    • Start by turning off the RV refrigerator. Make sure it’s not connected to any power source or running on propane.
  2. Remove Food Items:
    • Take all the food and items out of the refrigerator. Place perishable items in a cooler with ice packs or insulated bags to keep them cold during the defrosting process.
  3. Open the Freezer Compartment:
    • If your RV refrigerator has a separate freezer compartment, open it and remove any items. This is where ice buildup is most common.
  4. Defrosting the Freezer:
    • Allow the freezer to thaw naturally. To speed up the process, you can place a bowl of warm water inside the freezer to create steam, which will help melt the ice faster. Be careful not to use hot water, as it can damage the freezer’s plastic components.
  5. Defrosting the Refrigerator:
    • Move on to the main refrigerator compartment. Gently chip away any visible ice buildup using a plastic scraper or a soft plastic spatula. Be very careful not to damage the refrigerator’s interior surfaces.
  6. Wipe Away Excess Moisture:
    • As the ice melts, it will create water. Use towels or rags to wipe away the excess moisture from both the freezer and refrigerator compartments. Empty the drip tray if your refrigerator has one.
  7. Cleaning (Optional):
    • If you notice any stubborn stains or odors, you can clean the interior of the refrigerator and freezer with a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
    • For odors, you can also place an open container of baking soda inside the refrigerator to absorb unwanted smells.
  8. Reassemble and Turn On:
    • Once all the ice has melted, and the interior is dry, return the food items to the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
  9. Turn On the Refrigerator:
    • Power on the RV refrigerator, either by reconnecting it to the RV’s power source or switching it back to propane, depending on your setup.
  10. Monitor Temperature:
    • Allow the refrigerator to cool back down to the desired temperature before storing perishable items.

Regularly defrosting your RV refrigerator, typically every few months or as needed, will help it operate efficiently and prolong its lifespan. It’s also a good opportunity to check for any signs of damage or wear and tear on the interior components.

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