How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

Most handy homeowners these days like to take care of preventative maintenance issues in their home without calling in an expensive refrigerator repair professional. Cleaning the coils on your refrigerator is a prime example of the sort of job that is well within the capabilities of most homeowners, can save you money, and can keep your appliance running great. Not all refrigerators are the same, and neither are the many approaches and methods used to clean their coils. Read this helpful guide for tips on how to clean refrigerator coils.

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

Why Should You Clean Refrigerator Coils?

This biggest sign that you need to clean your refrigerator coils is that your appliance is not running cold enough. Many refrigerators have condenser coils in a location that can be readily accessed, but some do not. If you have pets that shed fur, or your refrigerator is located in a dusty or high-traffic area (such as a garage or walk-through galley kitchen), you may need to clean your refrigerator coils even more often.

Where Are the Refrigerator Coils?

On most appliances, the condenser coils are located either underneath the refrigerator behind a bottom grill, on the back of the refrigerator, or on the top of the refrigerator. Regardless of the location of your refrigerator coils, you should always unplug your refrigerator from its dedicated power outlet before doing any type of maintenance or cleaning. This will help you minimize the risk of injury while working.

If you can’t find the coils on your refrigerator in any of these common locations, it is likely that you own a newer-model fridge equipped with a type of condenser system that does not require maintenance or cleaning. If this is the case, you may need to seek professional assistance in understanding any troubles you’re having with your refrigerator.

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils on the Bottom of the Refrigerator:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator before working
  2. If your refrigerator has a bottom grill or grate covering the coils, you must remove it first. If it is particularly dirty, now is a good time to clean it as well. Most plastic grills can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a rag. Use a toothbrush if you find really stuck-on grime.
  3. Use a small, clean, medium-bristled brush or refrigerator coil brush to clean any dust, dander, dirt, grease, pet hair, or other soils from the condenser coils.
  4. Use a broom or vacuum to clean under and around the area where the coils are located. Check for accumulations of dust, dirt, and hair. Use a vacuum hose to get hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Replace the bottom grill that protects the coils.
  6. Plug the refrigerator back into its dedicated outlet.

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils on the Back of the Refrigerator:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator before working.
  2. Slide the refrigerator out from the wall to access the back. Be sure that you are not putting any tension or pressure on connected water lines.
  3. Use a small, medium-bristled brush or refrigerator coil brush to clean any dust, dander, dirt, grease, pet hair, or other soils from the condenser coils.
  4. Use a broom or vacuum to clean around the area where the coils are located. Check for accumulations of dust, dirt, and hair. You may even take this opportunity to clean the wall behind the refrigerator, if needed.
  5. Replace the bottom grill that protects the coils.
  6. Move the refrigerator back into place, again being cautious not to move or disconnect any water lines, cords, or tubing. Be sure that you don’t run over any of these components, either.
  7. Plug the refrigerator back into its dedicated wall receptacle.

 How to Clean Refrigerator Coils on the Top of the Refrigerator:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator before working.
  2. Use an appropriate step ladder or stepping stool to access the top of the refrigerator. Do not stand on counters or furniture.
  3. Raise the grill panel on the top of the refrigerator.
  4. The condenser fins you are cleaning have sharp edges. Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and gloves) to keep yourself safe while cleaning.  The condenser will be located somewhere at the back of the machine compartment behind the compressor.
  5. Reach through the machine compartment to with a medium bristle brush and any dust, dander, dirt, grease, pet hair, or other soils from the condenser coils. Use a vacuum with a hose accessory to remove extra soil.
  6. Plug the refrigerator back into its dedicated wall receptacle.