How to Vacuum Refrigerator Coils and Keep Your Cool

how to vacuum refrigerator coils

Vacuum your refrigerator coils twice a year to keep your fridge running efficiently.

Let’s face it: In the summertime, your refrigerator is your best friend. There’s nothing like the first sip of a cold beverage to cool you off when temperatures are sweltering, and you don’t even want to think about where you’d be without the freezer. A summer without ice is not a summer you’ll enjoy.

Since so much is riding on this relationship, this month’s green tip focuses on keeping your favorite appliance running smoothly. Regular refrigerator maintenance involves vacuuming the condenser coils on the back or the bottom to clear out the dust and gunk about twice a year. Removing this debris will ensure the fridge doesn’t have to work too hard to keep the insides cold.

Even better, the less the refrigerator has to work, the less energy it consumes – which translates to lower energy bills for you. Now that’s cool.

So how do you go about vacuuming those coils? We’ve got the process laid out for you, step by step.

What you’ll need:

  • Refrigerator (duh)
  • Vacuum cleaner with brush and crevice attachments
  • Paintbrush
  • Rag

Step 1: Gently pull the refrigerator away from the wall. It probably has wheels on the bottom, so you should be able to do it with relative ease. Just be careful and go slowly so you don’t damage your kitchen floor. (Note: You don’t need to do this if your coils are on the bottom of the fridge.)

Step 2: Unplug the refrigerator. Yes, you have to. Always disconnect the power source before you perform any maintenance on any appliance.

Step 3: Locate the coils. They should be in one of two places:

  • On the back: They should be easy to locate. Look for a metal grid attached to the back of the appliance.
  • On the bottom: This is where it gets tricky. You don’t want to upend your fridge, so coils on the bottom usually have a grate in front that you can remove and then stick the vacuum cleaner attachment in there for cleaning. Look just under the refrigerator door for the grate and gently remove it. If you have trouble, consult your owner’s manual.

vacuum refrigerator coiils

As you can see, my refrigerator coils are on the bottom.

Try not to scream in horror when you see how much grime has collected there, which is what I did, because my coils were a hot mess.

vacuum refrigerator coils

Gross.

Step 4: Start vacuuming. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner hose. The crevice tool might come in handy as well. Be firm but gentle – you want to get as much grime off the coils as possible without damaging them, so take your time and don’t force it.

vacuum refrigerator coils

While you’re at it, you might as well vacuum up any dust or dirt that’s accumulated around or behind the fridge. Use the rag to wipe down the back of the appliance and any other place that’s gotten a little too grimy.

Step 5: Use the paintbrush to remove any stubborn bits of dirt the vacuum cleaner didn’t catch. It doesn’t have to be pristine, but poke around all the nooks and crannies to get it as clean as you can.

vacuum refrigerator coils

Step 6: If your coils came off the bottom, replace the front plate. If yours were on the back, plug the refrigerator back in and push it back into its home.

Step 7: Reward yourself with a cold beverage. May we recommend one of our favorite summer sips?

When was the last time you vacuumed your condenser coils?

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