How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

Let’s face it — there’s more to cleaning your refrigerator than throwing out old food and wiping down the shelves. If you want the appliance to look and work as if it were brand new, you have to clean all the nooks and crannies, including the condenser coils. 

Condenser coils should be cleaned every six months to one year as part of your regular refrigerator maintenance. But if this is your first time doing a deep cleaning, you might not know where to start. We got your back!

Keep reading to learn how to clean refrigerator coils with ease. 

What You’ll Need

  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum cleaner (with brush and crevice attachments)
  • Coil condenser brush
  • Rag

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have all your supplies ready, let’s jump into it! Here’s how to clean your refrigerator coils in six easy steps. 

Step 1: Unplug Your Refrigerator

The first rule of appliance maintenance is to ensure your own safety. Before you can begin cleaning the refrigerator coils, you’ll first need to unplug the unit. This may require pulling your refrigerator out from the wall. If your fridge doesn’t have wheels, make sure you have a buddy available to help. Don’t attempt to move this appliance on your own, as you may end up injuring yourself! 

Don’t worry about spoilage — cleaning the coils should only take about 15 minutes or so. The refrigerator doors will remain closed throughout the process, so the food inside will stay cold.  

Step 2: Locate the Condenser Coils

Depending on the model you own, the condenser coils will be located in one of two places:

  • On the Back: You will see a metal grill attached to the back of the refrigerator. These are not only the easiest to locate but also the easiest to clean.
  • On the Bottom: This is where it gets tricky. If the coils are located underneath, you will see a metal grate (called a toe grille or kick plate) at the base of the refrigerator in the front. The coils are hidden beneath this grate, and you will need to remove it to access them. Some kick plates can be removed by releasing the spring clips, while others need to be unscrewed. Consult the owner’s manual if you’re having trouble figuring out how to take off the kick plate. 

Since you don’t want to upend the fridge to clean the coils, a vacuum cleaner with long attachments will come in handy. 

Step 3: Vacuum the Coils

You will see a lot of dirt and dust built up on the coils — especially if this is the first time you’re ever cleaning them. Put your mask on to avoid breathing in any debris. Then, you can start cleaning the refrigerator coils!

Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner hose to gently sweep the dirty coils. A crevice tool is great for tight spots. Take your time and make sure you remove as much debris as possible without damaging the coils. Vacuum any dust that ends up on the floor as well. 

Step 4: Use Coil Condenser Brush to Remove Stubborn Bits of Dirt

Learning how to clean refrigerator coils is the easy part; doing it correctly is where it becomes challenging. You might want to call it a day once the majority of the dirt has been removed, but to really keep your fridge running smoothly (and prolong the life of your fridge), you need to get all the little nooks and crannies too. To do this, use a coil condenser brush. 

This is the standard coil cleaning brush, which you can buy at your local hardware store. With its short bristles and cylindrical design, you can reach tight spaces with ease. Work it back and forth against the coils, and gently twist the brush when you get to any bends or corners. It’s best to brush and vacuum at the same time, if possible. 

Best of all, this tool can be used to clean other appliances in your home, such as the dryer vent and AC coils. However, if a new coil brush is not in the budget, a toothbrush can be used as a substitute. 

Step 5: Vacuum Dust on the Floor

All that cleaning has probably created a mess on the floor. Before putting the vacuum away, quickly clean the floor around and under the refrigerator. 

Step 6: Plug In the Refrigerator 

You’re almost done! Replace the grille (if the coils are located on the bottom of the fridge), plug it in, and push it back in place. 

The Importance of Cleaning Refrigerator Coils

The coils play an important part in keeping your refrigerator cold. However, just like any other part of your home, they can accumulate dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris. Dirty coils can force your refrigerator to work harder, which eventually leads to problems. 

It’s important to clean the coils as part of your regular refrigerator maintenance — and if you don’t have a routine, it’s better to start late than never. 

Don’t Put Off Cleaning Refrigerator Coils — Contact Appliance Doctors

If you don’t know how to clean the refrigerator coils, or you simply would prefer to trust this task to the pros, Appliance Doctors is here to help. We can handle any refrigerator problem and proudly offer a suite of affordable solutions. Contact us for refrigerator repairs, maintenance and more!