If you鈥檙e getting ready to start your spring cleaning, don鈥檛 forget to clean your refrigerator, including the condenser coils, fan, and gasket. Spring is also a great time to replace your water filter. These parts are tucked away out of site, so it鈥檚 easy to forget that they need to be cleaned regularly. These instructions will demonstrate the steps for how to spring clean your fridge.

Step 1: Clean the Refrigerator Condenser Coils & Fan

The first step to cleaning your condenser coils is to identify where they are located on the unit: back, bottom, or top. Older fridges have the condenser coil clearly visible on the back in a grid pattern, usually painted black. Most modern fridges have the coil underneath the unit, concealed by a base grille (or toe space panel) that you can remove to access to coils and fan. Some refrigerators (especially built-in models) are designed with the condenser coil on top; these will be easily identifiable by the top grille panel (which must be removed to access the coils).

The same steps are required to clean each of these designs.

Condenser Coil Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Pull the Unit Forward. This will be necessary for models with the coils located in the back. Be sure to use appliance glides when you move the refrigerator. This will protect your hardwood, linoleum, or tile from deep scratches and unsightly gouges. On built-in models, the condenser will
  2. Remove power to the refrigerator. You can do this by cutting power at the circuit breaker or unplugging the refrigerator. This is a necessary step to prevent injury from electric shock. Do not attempt to clean the coils while the refrigerator is still connected to power.
  3. Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator and disconnect the water line connected at the back of the unit (if applicable).
  4. Gain access to the coils. In models with bottom or top coils, remove the the grille cover to access the coils. For units with back mounted coils, use appliance guides to carefully pull the unit forward, ensuring to give yourself enough room to work. Reference your owner鈥檚 manual if you鈥檙e unsure where your coils are located.
  5. Clean the condenser coils: Use a coil brush (available at most hardware stores) and/or vacuum to carefully remove dust from the coils. Be VERY careful not to puncture the coils during this process. The coils play a vital role in removing heat from inside the appliance and transferring it to outside ambient air. Damage to the coils will result in a costly repair. Do not use liquid detergents when cleaning the coils.
  6. Clean the condenser fan: Vacuum and/or wipe down any dirt, hair, or excess debris from the fan blades and surrounding motor.
  7. Final wipe down: To finish the process, clean up your area (including the floor and wall behind the fridge), replace the grille, and restore the power and water supply.
  8. Repeat this process every 6 months.

Tip: Manufacturers recommend cleaning the condenser coils in your fridge every 6 months to 1 year, but conditions can vary dramatically from house to house. If you have a lot of pet hair and light dust in your home, you should clean them more often.

Step 2: Clean Your Fridge Gasket

The door seal (or gasket) accumulates a lot of grime which should be cleaned every 3 months or so to ensure that the door closes properly and the condition of the seal does not deteriorate. To clean the fridge gasket, you can either use a vinegar/water solution (1-part vinegar to 4-parts water) or a bleach/water solution (1-part bleach to 8-parts water). Use the solution with a wet sponge and toothbrush to clean the gasket, then lightly dry with paper towel. To keep the rubber supple, you can rub a small amount of lemon oil, mineral oil, or body lotion around the perimeter of the gasket.

Step 3: Replace Your Water Filter

If you have a fridge with an ice and water dispenser, it is easy to forget that there is a filter inside. Failing to change your water filter allows contaminants to build up and can actually make water quality worse. This isn’t just bad for you, but bad for your fridge. Manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every 6-12 months. If you have particularly high water consumption, you should change it even more often.

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