Defrosting RV Refrigerator / Freezer

Are you like me and decided to start my new month off  by taking a good look at my RV Refrigerator/Freezer and making the decision it was time to defrost?  Well,  let’s get right to it…and spend a little time talking about how the defrosting process is done properly. Defrosting RV refrigerator can be done with ease.

It doesn’t matter if you have a Norcold (like mine) or the Dometic brand. These steps will be the same.
Steps for defrosting the RV freezer:

  • Push the ON/OFF button to the OFF position. (You may have a switch that turns, regardless, turn to the off position)
  • Remove all foods.


  • Note: If you have a buildup of frost on the fins inside the refrigerator….this will defrost also and you will need to have a large bowl ready outside at the back of your unit to catch the water as it drains out. (you will need to remove the access panel)Backside of RV Refrigerator
  • The Norcold drain tube (top right side photo) rest inside a small drain pan but the water will need to go in a large bowl because the drain pan is too small to hold a significant amount of water.

    Backside  - drain tube

    Dometic backside – drain tube

  •  Dometic has a drain tube (middle right photo) but not a drain pan. The water will go through the tube and out the grill on the back side of the refrigerator.  Make sure that the tube is resting through the grill at all times to
  • avoid water seeping down behind the appliance and causing damage. (bottomphoto)

    Dometic drain hose

    Dometic drain hose

  • Place dry towels inside (on the floor) of the empty freezer for soaking up melted frost.
  •  Placing bowls of warm tap water (not boiling) in the bottom of the freezer (photo on the right) will speed up the defrosting process. Caution: never use high temperature water – warping/melting can occur of the inside walls. Never use a hair blow dryer, any source of fire or sharp tools during defrosting.My RV Refrigerator
  • Once all frost has melted use dry towels to remove all water. Clean inside with warm moist towel with a mild soap. Avoid harsh cleansers of any kind.
  •  Replace all foods and restart your RV refrigerator.
  •  Don’t forget to place the drain tube back into the drain pan on the back side of the unit. (Norcold brand)

4 thoughts on “Defrosting RV Refrigerator / Freezer

  1. Pamela MiracleFreitag

    Well, hello Lady Cooper. This is Pam Freitag. David just took the tech class in AZ. I know how to defrost, just how often? Usually every month, but I think that is too often. What do you say? How much ice in freezer before it needs it? Thank You.

    1. LadyECooper Post author

      Hi Pam…. it’s great to hear from you. When defrosting the RV freezer it really just depends on how fast the ice forms as when you decide to defrost. If you are located in a high humidity surroundings your freezer will build frost faster. Once your freezer has a good build up of ice go ahead and defrost. Of course the more ice that’s built up the longer it takes to defrost. Use your own judgement about when to defrost. Obviously, RV freezer will work more efficiently with less ice or frost build-up. I hope this information was helpful and I hope you and your husband are doing well….. thanks for writing.

  2. Marti Kaemmerer

    Thank you for the defrost tips. New camper and you had the most useful information! I am 62 yrs old and haven’t defrosted a fridge in 45 yrs and never on a RV. Looking forward to more tips as semi-retired and full time RVer now.

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