How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

Heather says:

Typically, you should be vacuuming your refrigerator coils twice a year with your spring and fall cleaning. Vacuuming the refrigerator coils not only extends the life of your refrigerator, but it helps save electricity, because a dusty fridge has to work harder.

If you have pets, you should vacuum more often- the more pets, the more vacuuming. Ivy has 2 cats and a dog, and she vacuums once every couple of months. She even noticed a small drop in her electricity bill!

how to clean refrigerator coils

cc Flickr photo by Mark Florence

Some have asked “Just how do I do that?” Here is a step by step guide to removing the dust and dirt to ensure your fridge is operating in peak condition.

  • To reduce the risk of shock, either unplug the fridge or flip the circuit breaker.
  • The location of your appliance’s coils will depend on the age of your fridge. On many older models the coils can be reached by removing the kickplate just beneath the doors. This may either snap out of place or may be secured with screws. Once this is removed, I take it outside and spray it down with the hose. If yours is particularly grimy, use degreaser to help break up the film.
  • Using the wand attachment to your vacuum and carefully suck out all the grime. Some companies sell specialized attachments that have bristles solely for this purpose, but I believe it to be unnecessary. Replace the kick plate when you have finished.
  • There are two other possible locations for the coils. If they are not located beneath the doors, carefully pull the fridge away from the wall. Always move the fridge straight in and straight out to minimize damage to the flooring. The coils will either be exposed on the back of the appliance or behind a kick plate. If the coils are exposed simply vacuum of any dust with the vacuum’s soft bristle attachment. Alternatively, if the coils are extremely grimy, use a rag dampened with degreaser or white vinegar.
  • If the coils are not exposed, use a wrench or screwdriver to remove the screws. Just so you don’t think I know everything, I had to look up what these screws are called – hex headed screws.
  • Once the plate has been removed, use the soft bristled vacuum tool to remove any built up dust. Replace the cover, sweep or vacuum up any debris, and carefully push the appliance back into place, being sure not to pinch any electrical cords or water lines.
  • Restore power to the unit by either resetting the breaker or plugging it in.
  • This project should take less than ten minutes start to finish if it is performed on a regular basis. However, if neglected it may take longer.

Have you ever vacuumed your refrigerator coils? Are they easy or hard to access?

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

how to clean appliances

Click the picture for more tips!



3 Comments

  1. MichaelB on July 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Nice tutorial. If you can’t reach far enough with a vacuum, there are a couple of options. You can use a condenser cleaning brush (around $6-7) or get a crevice wand attachment for your vacuum cleaner (like this one: http://www.appliancepartspros.com/Appliance-Parts/WHIRLPOOL-Crevice-wand-item-number-AP3119714.aspx)

  2. Marisa on May 3, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Thanks to advice.

    it nice tutorial!

  3. James on January 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I have a side/side Kenmore ColdSpot refrigerator model #(106) 51572200 (2002yr). I can vac the front and back but only so far in. Any pointers?

Leave a Comment