Freezer Week: Freezer Clean Out

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Please fill out the Freezer Clean-Out, Inventory and RTSS Survey, Click Here!

Freezer Clean Out

For ‘Freezer clean out’, labs will be awarded points according to each cubic foot of space saved by reorganizing, discarding unneeded samples, and proper inventory & labeling.

To help clean out your freezer, please follow these steps:

Check with your PI to let him/her know that you are going to clean out Freezers/Refrigerators.

Remove excess frost from freezer door and shelves (or defrost if you haven’t performed your annual maintenance).

Vacuum coils and open the grill door to clean filter by vacuuming or rinsing in clean water (then let dry, replace filter)

Go through samples to determine what can be thrown out-see Priority Guidelines sheet for recommendations and always check with PI before throwing anything away. Check with other lab members as well.

Fill any open space left in freezer with frozen water jugs. This will reduce the amount of air the freezer must cool and extend the life of your compressor.

*Record how many times you fill up a paper box with discarded samples to measure volume

To gain well-organized samples please consider:

1.Keeping good records of samples through use of a logbook, spreadsheet or sample management software.

2.Organizing samples by Experimental objective (e.g. molecule, biochemical pathway, organism).

3.Maintaining the correct samples in the right freezer. Everything does not need to be stored in an Ultralow, many things are fine in –20.

4.Stack boxes with labels facing forward

5. Consolidate samples where possible

Manufacturer’s Recommended Freezer Maintenance Schedule:

1. Quarterly de-icing door gaskets: check gaskets for punctures, tears, or leaks. Wipe with soft cloth.

2. Semi-annual filter cleaning: open grill, remove filter, rinse, dry and replace.

3. Annual Freezer Defrost:

• remove products and place in another freezer, turn off freezer

• leave doors open for 24 hours (put down cloths to absorb water)

• wipe out freezer and if there is odor, wash with baking soda/warm water solution

• close doors, restart freezer, once freezer reaches desired temperature, refill with samples

• check alarm battery yearly

LabRATS will be happy to offer assistance if you need it. Just let us know during the surveying process or Email us at or