Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Time to Vacuum the Refrigerator Coils

Your refrigerator will run better, keep food colder and be more efficient if you do this one task once or twice a year. What is it?

Cleaning your refrigerator coils, of course!

We all need to clean our fridge coils at some point. Cleaning experts recommend they be vacuumed twice a year. But, honestly, do any of us really do it that often? It's been two years since I've done mine. Typically, I manage to do it at least once a year. I just didn't get to it last year.

So, we all know we're supposed to clean the refrigerator coils. But, do we know how to clean them effectively?

I've only ever used my vacuum's crevice tool to clean them in the past. This year, I wanted give our 15+ year old fridge a little more TLC than that.

First, I gathered a few basic supplies:
  • Refrigerator coil-cleaning brush
  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum
  • Flashlight
Then, I tackled the job this way:
  1. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall. If you're lucky, it will be on wheels. If not, you may need someone to help you.
  2. Unplug the fridge. You don't want the fan to spin while you're poking around with your hand.
  3. Remove the grill. My fridge has a cardboard cover over the lower 4 inches in the back that I removed. Every fridge is different. Some may have a front piece that can be easily removed.
  4. Refrigerator Coils
  5. Use the flashlight to get a good look around. 
  6. Put the crevice tool on your vacuum and start vacuuming visible dust.
  7. Use the refrigerator coil brush to pull dust out of the coils that you can't reach with the vacuum. Go ahead and jam it in there as far as you can. The dust is really going to fly! Don't forget to wear your dust mask.
  8. Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Brush (I bent this so it would fit in the picture.)
  9. Repeat. Clean around each coil at the front and back of the refrigerator until you've removed most of the dust. It's impossible to get everything. 
  10. Replace any pieces you removed. Plug the refrigerator in and move it back into place. 
  1. Keep the vacuum running while you use the coil brush. Hold the vacuum nozzle so that it sucks the flying dust particles up as you clean. 
  2. It really helps to be able to see what you're doing. Try to set the flashlight down so its beam shines on the area you're cleaning.  
  3. Vacuum the brush every now and again.
I suppose this is one of those jobs that will be quicker and easier if it's done more frequently. It probably took me a half hour to get the job done this time around. Still, it wasn't too complicated and is something that should be on every one's to-do list. Don't be intimidated by it because you haven't done it in a while!

How often do you clean your refrigerator coils?

Check out week four of my kitchen cleaning checklists for more cleaning inspiration!


  1. Thanks for the how to and the reminder! Refrigerator coils are easy to forget about!

  2. Great article, I too enjoy writing articles about cleaning and hygiene within the home and often advise people that the refrigerator along with the kitchen sinks can be the germiest places within the home.

    Thanks for the time and effort put into the article :)