how to clean refrigerator coils

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils in 5 Easy Steps

Did you know that refrigerator condenser coils are exposed to dust and debris which inhibits your refrigerator from running properly. Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to clean refrigerator coils and learn why it is important.

How to Clean
Refrigerator Coils in 5 Easy Steps

Ensuring clean refrigerator coils should be part of your regular maintenance routine. For example, when you doing your fall and spring cleaning, include cleaning the coils as one of your tasks.

The condenser coils contain the refrigerator coolant that cools the air inside your fridge. When these coils are covered in buildup, the coolant can’t do its job. Dirty condenser coils will keep your refrigerator from operating efficiently, and will negatively affect its ability to maintain the correct temperature. So grab a dust mask and we’ll explain what you need to do.

As you get started, have the following tools handy:

Step 1 – Pull out the refrigerator

Make sure to wear a dust mask; the layer of dust about to be disturbed will get into the air and you don’t want to breathe it. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall so that you can see and access everything more easily. Locate the condenser coils that are exposed and make a snake-like pattern.

These coils are located on either the bottom or the back of your unit, depending on the year and model. If you see a toe guard on the bottom front of the refrigerator, they are probably underneath the refrigerator.

clean refrigerator condenser coils


Step 2 – Disconnect from the power supply

As with servicing any electric appliance, disconnect the power supply. When you unplug your refrigerator, don’t worry about spoiling the food inside; this cleaning process is relatively quick. Besides, your refrigerator will function better when you’re finished. Keep the refrigerator doors closed to keep the cold air trapped inside.

Step 3 – Vacuum

Using a slim vacuum attachment, vacuum the toe grill if you have one, and vacuum all dust and debris you can safely reach with the hose. As you clean refrigerator coils, also clean any other areas you see dust buildup. Use a flashlight to help you see what needs to be removed.

clean refrigerator condenser coils
Image: WeatherImagery


Step 4 – Brush coils and equipment

After the initial vacuum, use a long, flexible brush to clean refrigerator condenser coils. These can be found on Amazon or your local DIY store. Brush away the remaining dust and debris that the vacuum didn’t dislodge.

Step 5 – Vacuum again

The final step is to vacuum once more. This will ensure you’ve removed all dirt possible that was left unsettled from brushing. It is also a good idea to vacuum the floor and wall area behind the refrigerator as well before replacing the unit.

Now that you’ve accomplished clean refrigerator coils, include this process with your next seasonal cleaning schedule, or contact your local appliance technician for service and to perform any repairs needed.

David lange

David Lange

In 1982 David went to work for his mom as a service technician and has been servicing appliances ever since. He is the owner of Oak Valley Appliance, an appliance repair company in Tehachapi, CA, with local techs also serving Lancaster, Ridgecrest, and surrounding areas.