Cleaning your refrigerator coils is one of the most important refrigerator maintenance tasks. When the condenser coils get too dirty, your refrigerator’s compressor works overtime to maintain proper temperatures, and you may notice your refrigerator won’t cool. As your compressor works harder, your unit becomes at risk of a sealed system failure (which is an expensive fix). This is why it’s recommended you clean your coils at least once every six months (more often if you have pets). Luckily, learning how to clean refrigerator coils is not overly difficult:

Steps for How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

Items You’ll Need:

  • Appliance Cleaning Brush
  • Vacuum (w/ soft brush attachment)
  • Appliance Glides

Step #1 Unplug Refrigerator:

Before you get started, move your refrigerator forward just enough to unplug it. For built-in refrigerators, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. This eliminates any risk of electrocution. Then, you need to locate the condenser coils.

For most refrigerator models, it will be located in the back or on the bottom behind the grille. For some built-in models, they will be located on top of the unit. If you aren’t sure where they located on your unit, check your Owner’s Manual.

Step #2 Access Condenser Coils:

If the coils are located on the bottom, you’ll need to remove the grille protecting the condenser coils. They can typically be removed by pulling them forward and releasing a hook from a spring. Make a mental note of how you do it, as this will make it easier to put it back on later. If the coils are located on the rear, pull your refrigerator forward using the appliance glides.

Step #3 Revome Dust & Hair from Coils:

For this next step, you may want to wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from any scratches. Locate the condenser coils with a flashlight if necessary. Take the appliance brush and loosen any hair, dust, or lint attached to the coils.

Don’t be overly aggressive with the brushing, as you don’t want to crimp or puncture the coils. Also, see if you can find the fan and clean that as well. Once you’ve removed all that you can, use your vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean up the debris.

refrigerator coil cleaning guide

Photo Credit: Green Living Ideas

Step #4 Replace Refrigerator:

Reinstall the grille (if necessary) and reconnect the power at the circuit breaker or plug it back in. Slide your refrigerator back into place.

Whenever you clean out your condenser’s coils, it’s also a good idea to examine your refrigerator’s gaskets. Look for any cracks or gaps that might be letting any cool air out. Get them replaced if necessary. Staying on top of this maintenance will help your refrigerator stay running at peak performance and avoid refrigerator repairs.

Now that you know how to clean refrigerator coils, check out our blog on how to clean a refrigerator interior.