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How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

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All it takes to keep this high-priced appliance functioning properly is a simple maintenance operation that takes less than 15 minutes to accomplish. That’s awesome!

The refrigerator is probably the most significant main equipment in the kitchen, and it is also frequently the most expensive. Because you naturally want the greatest performance from your refrigerator, why not extend its life and enhance its efficiency by cleaning its condenser coils on a regular basis?

These coils, which are located at the bottom or behind the fridge depending on the age and brand of the device, are filled with refrigerant, which cools the air within. Condenser coils are exposed, not enclosed in a sealed case, and hence susceptible to dirt accumulation. Dirty coils require a refrigerator to work harder to keep food cold, resulting in greater energy bills and a shorter lifespan for the costly equipment.

Cleaning your refrigerator’s condenser coils is an easy do-it-yourself project. Put it on your calendar to do at least once a year, or twice a year if you have shedding pets. Continue reading to learn how to clean refrigerator coils and how simple it is to keep your fridge running smoothly.

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How a refrigerator works

To understand how a refrigerator works—and why you should clean those coils right away—you need to first grasp the second rule of thermodynamics. Specifically, when two objects of different temperatures are in close proximity, the hotter surface cools, and the colder surface heats.

The transmission of heat is the concept underlying refrigeration, in which a motor and pump drive a gas refrigerant (freon in older fridges, tetrafluoromethane in modern versions) through coils, where it cools and becomes a liquid, soaking up the heat and chilling everything within the fridge and freezer.

When coils become clogged with dirt or pet hair, the refrigeration process is hampered, preventing the appliance from chilling effectively and efficiently.

So, unless you’re desperate for an excuse to buy a new fridge, here’s how to clean refrigerator coils to extend the life of your fridge while also lowering your power cost.

How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

Unplug The Fridge

Unplug the device (the first rule of any appliance maintenance, upkeep, or repair job). If the electrical outlet is behind your refrigerator, you may need to remove it from the wall. Don’t be concerned about spoilage: the coil-cleaning procedure is short (15 minutes or less), and the doors will remain closed, ensuring that your cold items stay cold.

Find Your Coils

The condenser coils are located at the base of the fridge in front, behind a snap-off toe-grill. If your refrigerator does not have a toe-grill, the condenser coils are situated on the rear of the refrigerator. Condenser coils are metal tubes wrapped in a grid pattern in the shape of a U. If the coils on the back of the refrigerator are dirty, you’ll need to remove the fridge completely away from the wall to clean them.


The majority of dirt/debris will be swept away, but some will undoubtedly go airborne. Vacuum loose dirt and debris around the inside of the toe grill or off the rear of the fridge, needing a flashlight to help you see the coils if they’re placed beneath the fridge.

Brush It Off

Brush away the dirt with a coil condenser brush, which can be purchased at a DIY store for around $10. Its cylindrical shape, which is roughly 27 inches long and has small bristles on the top one-third, allows you to effortlessly slip it between the gaps in the coil grid. Brush it back and forth to remove dirt, then carefully twist it to get into nooks and tight spaces. While brushing, keep the vacuum running. If cleaning coils on the back of the fridge, use one hand to keep the narrow end of the nozzle near to the brush and the other to brush. Cleaning the coils in the bottom of the fridge is simpler if you alternate brushing and vacuuming off the dirt.


Vacuum any stray dirt that has landed on the floor. Replace the toe-grill (it should snap on easily) and, if required, push the fridge back into position. Reconnect the power ware to your refrigerator, and you’re ready to go!

Plug It In

Now that everything is put together, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Naturally, the first step is to switch on your refrigerator and allow it to begin chilling. The ultimate test of a functioning condenser coil is that the fridge remains ice-cold for numerous hours throughout the day. So please return from time to time.

Bottom Line

Because these coils are important for pushing heat out, cleaning the dirt and debris will help them to keep the inside of the refrigerator colder more efficiently. Not only will this successfully keep items cool, but it will also use less power, saving you money and benefiting the environment.

More On Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

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Check out the planner!

You can also grab a copy of my cleaning planner, The Get It Clean Cleaning Planner here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks and checklists that can help you get your house clean, and keep it clean once and for all.

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