How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

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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. Heather has two dogs, and she vacuums once every couple of months. She even┬ánoticed a small drop in her electricity bill! Fun fact, we found a photo on Flickr, and the copy read: Wartime conservation tips: The motors of many refrigerators require periodic cleaning. Weekly sessions with a wire brush or a vacuum attachment keep coils free from hampering dust and grime. February 1942. WEEKLY?!?! We’re only asking you to do this twice a year, not once a week. Totally doable.

Woman vacuuming refrigerator coils during the 1940s

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.

How to clean the refrigerator coils

  • 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, take it outside and spray it down with the hose. If yours is particularly grimy, use a degreaser to help break up the film.
  • Using the wand attachment to your vacuum, 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 a 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 from 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?

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3 thoughts on “How To Clean Refrigerator Coils”

  1. 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?


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