Have you ever accidentally left your freezer open?

Zach Waxer
by Zach Waxer

What should we do if we accidentally left our freezer open for a few hours?

Any tips or advice on how to handle the situation and salvage the contents?

Accidentally left freezer open

  11 answers
  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 19, 2023

    Hi Zach, if the items did not thaw thoroughly you can cook and refreeze the food food to eat at a later date. If the food does pass the smell test toss it.

  • If nothing thawed, just close it and let it come back up to temperature.

  • Annie Annie on Sep 20, 2023

    Unfortunately you'll probably have to go through and check things item by item for freshness. Anything that seems okay can be re-frozen, but you'll probably want to throw out anything that seems questionable. If it was just a few hours, hopefully most of it will still be good!

  • Janice Janice on Sep 20, 2023

    Access the packages, especially near the front of the freezer. If very soft, cook those items and enjoy or refreeze the cooked items as Deb suggests.

  • Yes it happens. If you have items in the door that’s weighting it, move them inside the freezer. After that, I just ensure it’s closed before walking away.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Sep 25, 2023

    I did that once, just didn't close all the way. I threw out anything that I thought might have spoiled (chicken had to go) and did a touch test to see how cool it was. If it was still cold, I just re froze it. Threw a few things out along the way after that but saved most of it.

  • Zach Waxer Zach Waxer on Sep 26, 2023

    Thanks everyone

  • Dee Dee on Sep 27, 2023

    Yes, but it was the ice maker on my fridge that did not close properly. I unplugged the fridge to reset it for 15 minutes. Pluged it back in and it now works perfectly.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Sep 28, 2023

    Remove everything that has started to defrost and put in to fridge. Cook as soon as you can. You can always return the items once cooked. Icecream would need to be consumed as soon as possible. Anything still frozen can stay in freezer.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 01, 2023

    Check to see what state of thaw is going on, then refrig or cook what you can and use up.

    My friend has a husband who has dementia and he leaves the refrig and freezer open, difficult to keep track of and that is what she does after the fact.

  • It's not entirely wasted if it was open to a few hours or while you were at work. The freezer will stay running even with the door open, and the frozen food inside will keep the interior chilly. Even though certain foods may have thawed, they are still safe to eat.