While wiping the shelves and polishing the exterior can help a refrigerator look its best, cleaning its coils is key to optimum function. Wondering how to clean refrigerator coils? Using an appliance brush and a vacuum’s upholstery attachment can get the job done quickly and easily. Learn how to clean condenser coils with our simple step-by-step guide to maintain this hardworking appliance.

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils in 6 Simple Steps

As refrigerant flows through the condenser coils it dissipates heat to create cool air for the refrigerator. If the coils are coated in dust and dirt, the refrigerant may be unable to cool sufficiently, leading to a variety of problems. How do you know it’s time to clean refrigerator coils? The following signs can signal that a cleaning is due.

Signs Your Refrigerator Coils Need Cleaning

Most of us rarely remember to clean refrigerator coils regularly. So much so that refrigerators have specific cries for help to remind us that it’s time to clean the coils. 

The following signs can indicate the need for a coil cleaning:

  • Refrigerator not cooling sufficiently: Coils that are covered in dust and dirt can prohibit refrigerant from releasing its heat. When this happens, the refrigerator may not make enough cool air, increasing it’s internal temperature and warming food.
  • Refrigerator runs all the time: If the refrigerator remains warm, the compressor will continue to run constantly in an attempt to create cool air.
  • Increased energy bills: A refrigerator that runs constantly uses more electricity, increasing your monthly energy costs.

Cleaning the condenser coils every 6-12 months is one of the most important refrigerator maintenance tips to prevent these outcomes. Use the following steps to clean the coils in as little as 15 minutes.

Step 1: Disconnect the Refrigerator’s Power

Always ensure that the refrigerator is no longer receiving electrical power before beginning your work. Some refrigerators can be turned on and off via a Power button while others need to be unplugged or switched off at the circuit breaker. Since cleaning the coils takes under 30 minutes, stored food should remain cool.

Step 2: Locate the Coils

Consult your user manual to locate the coils on your model refrigerator. Some can be found behind a top or lower grille while others are on the rear of the refrigerator, behind an access panel. Remove the grille or access panel according to the manual instructions.

Step 3: Vacuum the Coils

Using your vacuum’s upholstery brush attachment, remove large particles and debris from the coils and surrounding area. Be sure to vacuum the floor around the coils as well.

Step 4: Use an Appliance Cleaning Brush

Brush smaller particles and dust from the coils with an appliance cleaning brush. Circulate the brush back and forth, in between the coils, and into cracks and crevices. Alternatively, run the vacuum and use the brush at the same time to reach every corner.

clean refrigerator coils

Image Credit: AmyWorks

Step 5: Clean up Loosened Debris

Once the coils are clean, remove any loosened debris on the floor with the vacuum’s narrow hose attachment. Use a brush and dustpan to eliminate any fallen dust.

Step 6: Restore Refrigerator’s Power

What’s the final step to clean refrigerator coils properly? Restoring the refrigerator’s power so that it operates again, only this time with improved function and efficiency.

Is your refrigerator still running constantly or not cooling properly? A professional service may need to diagnose the problem. Contact A-Tech Appliance Parts & Service for a fast and reliable repair.