How to Clean Refrigerator Coils? editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

A significant part of household appliance failures is the fault of the owners themselves. This also can be applied to refrigerators.

1. Why should you clean your refrigerator coils?

A refrigerator was created to be the most useful and helpful in the modern kitchen, and we feel its absence more dramatically than any other household appliance when something goes wrong. But the problem is that you can’t understand that something is going wrong with your fridge until it fails, and you have to call a specialist. 

What you can really do is to provide minimal maintenance for your refrigerator to work efficiently. In fact, this support consists of simple cleaning the refrigerator coils at intervals of 12 months (or less). This is very important and can be completed quickly and easily in 1 hour or faster.

Move the refrigerator once every two years and clean the condenser coils of the refrigerator from dust and dirt. If the condenser of the refrigerator is equipped with a fan for forced ventilation, clean the condenser coils annually. This will increase the resource of the compressor and the fan motor. This easy preventative step will save you lots of time and money in the future.

2. What happens if refrigerator coils are dirty?

The condenser contamination with free movement of air on a household refrigerator becomes critical after several years of operation, but condensers cooled by forced air movement provided by a fan become much more polluted. Condensers in commercial refrigeration equipment need to be cleaned almost every month.

Coils contamination is the reason for malfunctions during the work of refrigeration equipment. Condenser contamination leads to an increase in refrigerant condensation pressure and the temperature of freon and oil, which causes clogging of the capillary pipeline with oil decomposition products and an increase in the load on the compressor. Even before problems arise with clogging, the cooling capacity of the refrigeration unit drops, the temperature in the refrigerated volume rises and the motor-compressor stops turning off. If the owner does not pay attention in time to the fact that the equipment works continuously without turning off, then the next step is the failure of the motor-compressor.

3. Does cleaning refrigerator coils save energy?

Yes, it really does, as the motor stops turning off. It saves not only energy but also the resource of your fridge, your time and money in the future.

How to clean the coils in the refrigerator:

  • Unplug. Shut off the water supply line if your fridge is equipped with an ice maker or water dispenser.

Since the condenser coil is exposed to ambient air in the refrigerator, it requires regular cleaning. There are several locations for the condenser coil: in older refrigerators, the coil (has a grid structure, often painted black) is mounted on the back of the refrigerator; in new refrigerators, a condenser coil is located below. The coil will be accessible from one of two places: the lower part of the panel and the rear access panel.

  • Remove the panel at the bottom in front of the refrigerator, carefully pull out the condensate tray (The condensate tray may contain water). A visual inspection upward in this space may reveal a flat condenser coil located here. In the case, if it is not found behind the lower part, the refrigerator should be moved away from the wall for further work from behind with the rear access panel. Turn off the water lines if they are too short to provide enough room for work. Remove the fasteners that hold the access panel. The condenser coil installed here may be flat, but likely to have a cylindrical shape.
  • Turn off the power. Really. Make sure that the power to the refrigerator is turned off.
  • Vacuum the coil. Using a plastic tube or brush head, thoroughly vacuum dirt and dust wherever you can. Be careful not to damage the ribs or the coil and not to allow the refrigerant to escape, that will most likely lead to costly repairs.
  • Vacuum the fan. If the fan is visible and accessible, then cleaning it will help air move through the condenser coil, as intended. If dirt and dust accumulate on the fan blades, then the airflow will decrease, which affects the balance and can contribute to premature compressor failure.
  • Brush off any stubborn dirt and dust. Use a narrow brush to gently remove dirt and dust from the coil and fan, if you can get enough access.
  • Move the refrigerator to its original position. Plug the refrigerator back into the power outlet.


Disconnect the plug from the outlet before attempting to clean the coil and fan.

Make sure that the place where the refrigerator is located is well ventilated and dust will fly away.

What you need

  1. A vacuum cleaner
  2. Simple hand tools
  3. Flashlight
  4. Narrow brush.

So, condenser coils are designed to remove heat from the refrigerator. Over time, these coils can become coated with dust and other particles that interfere with heat dissipation. Heat can accumulate in other various parts of the cooling system, including the compressor, causing a rise in temperature. You can help avoid this problem by cleaning the coils periodically. The compressor may be dirty too. Dust and dirt interfere with air circulation and increase the heat generated by the compressor.

Turn off the refrigerator and remove dust with a vacuum, rag or compressed air blower once a year and your fridge will serve you for a long time without any problems.

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Aaron Black
Aaron Black
Hey there! My name's Aaron Black. I’m 34 and I've been repairing fridges for 15 years. As you know, some appliances may be too dangerous to fix on your own as you, and I’m here to save your time, money, and, maybe, even your life! Because I'm the man with Experience. If you have any questions, you may contact me via e-mail: [email protected]

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