How To Clean Your Refrigerator Water Filter in 20 Minutes

Researched & Written by Craig

‘How to Clean your Refrigerator Water Filter & Water Lines Today’

This is an article for the hydro – homies!  Anyone with a passion for clear, beautifully cold and clean water straight from the convenience of the fridge take note – here’s what you need to know about keeping your fridge water supply clean and constant.

The most important factor in your water quality is the state of your refrigerator water filter.  So, how do you know if your water filter is clogged and not working properly? 

Here are some tell-tale signs your filter might need changed:

  • You haven’t changed the filter in 6 months.  The recommended lifespan of your filters is 6 months, after that the manufacturer will advise to replace them.*
  • Your water dispenser is sluggish and it takes longer to fill a glass.
  • Poor Ice Quality/Quantity.  If you’re getting less ice dispensed or your ice is cloudy/dirty/smelly, that filter needs attention. 
  • Funny tasting water.
  • Build up on the Nozzle of your filter.
  • Sediment in your glass. 
  • Your Indicator Light is on.  Newer model fridges often have indicator lights that tell you when the filter needs to be changed.  Pro – tip:  Often these run on a timer, not on water quality.  If the indicator light is on but you’ve checked the filter and its fine, you can reset the water filter indicator by finding the button(s) on the display that control the filter indicator.  Then, hold these down until the light changes.

*  The manufacturer’s guideline of a 6 month lifespan for your filter is often too short because you live in an area with good quality, soft water to begin with.    If you want to save yourself the cost and hassle of replacing your fridge filter entirely, here’s how to clean and maintain your filter.

STEP 1

Find it!  Your fridge filter will be either in the grille of the fridge at the base, in the upper right hand corner of the interior, or inside the door.  There are different models of filters but they look like this:

Example Water Filter
A standard water filter. Source – Ecodepot

Grab the top or side of the filter and turn it counterclockwise to disengage it.  Then simply pull it out.

STEP 2

If you feel at this stage that the filter is beyond cleaning, you could decide to replace it entirely.  Also check at this stage for erosion or cracking to the pipes and connections.

STEP 3

Start off by tapping the canister over your trash can to dislodge large particles (calcification and other deposits) that have built up.

STEP 4

Submerge it in a warm water bath with a gentle cleansing solution added.  Dish soap or water and vinegar mixture work, or you can buy solvents specifically for cleaning water filters. 

STEP 5

Let the filter soak for 10 – 30 minutes, depending on how soiled it is. Then rinse under a gentle stream of water until the water coming out of it is clear. 

STEP 6 

Let the filter air dry sufficiently, and then pop it back into its housing in the fridge.

After cleaning, your filter should produce crisp, clear water.

The Benefits Of A Working Fridge Filter System

  • Your water will taste better, meaning you’ll drink more and thus stay well hydrated.
  • Your water will be healthier for you, because contaminants like protozoan parasites and heavy metals like lead and mercury will be removed.
  • Household efficiency – a quality water filter will filter over a thousand gallons before it needs replacing.
  • Cost Saving – bottled water can be very expensive and is unnecessary if you have a home filter.
  •  Eco – friendly – plastic water bottles and packaging make up a huge share of waste in landfills.  Cut down on your household waste by using a glass or reusable travel bottle instead.
  •   Most filters produce ice as well as dispensing water – no more warm drinks served at your parties!
  •  Quick & Easy!  Refrigerator water filters store the filtered water for you on tap, there’s no waiting involved.   

Now, we’ve given the fridge water filter a good clean.  What else can you do to raise your household water quality? 

Let’s consider the mechanics of the fridge itself and look at the fridge water line – the line/pipe that delivers the water to your fridge.  Please note that different models of fridges may vary slightly, so always refer to the manufacturer’s manual or helpline.

How to Full-Clean Your Fridge’s Water Line

Your fridge water line/ice supply line is typically at the back of the fridge, and is a length of ¼ inch piping/tubing, which can be copper, braided copper, colored or clear in appearance.  Refer here to your fridge’s manual to double check that you’ve found the right input pipe!

Pro tip:  The water line will connect to the closest cold water source, so if the pipe goes to your closest tap, you’ve got the right pipe.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Bucket or large container
  • Towels
  • White Vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps

Steps to a Clean Fridge System

  • Unplug the refrigerator and turn the water valve off.  Usually it’s on the wall behind the fridge.  If it’s not there, shut off your main water supply valve – this may be in your basement.
  • Use the screwdriver to unscrew the water line and leave the dispenser line attached to the door nozzle.
  • Take out the reservoir (often found behind the crisper) and empty the water out.  Clean it out with 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water.  Flush water through the reservoir several times and then reconnect the tubes by pushing them together until they lock.
  • Take 3 cups of vinegar and pour this into the ice maker and dispenser lines using the funnel.  Let the vinegar sit in the lines for 10 minutes.  Clamp the open ends of the lines so that it doesn’t leak out.
  • 2 part step – first, drain the ice maker line with clean water and then re – attach it.  Next, run the vinegar from the water line all the way through the water dispenser and into a bucket.
  • Flush both lines with clean water to remove contaminants and vinegar. 
  • Take the ice maker bin and wash it in warm vinegar water.  Rinse and dry, then return it to the refrigerator.
  • Hook the water line back up to the ice maker and be sure to dispose of the first batch of ice made.

For your optimal health and simply to preserve the working and looks of your refrigerator, it should be cleaned monthly.  Follow these steps for easy cleaning! 

Pro – tip:  Schedule your fridge clean for when the fridge is emptiest, you’ll have fewer items to remove and replace!

Cleaning A Fridge – A General Scrubdown

If you’ve still got your sleeves rolled up and want to give the rest of the fridge a clean, we’ve got you covered too.

Here’s some general fridge cleaning tips to make it good as new.

♦  First, unplug your refrigerator.  Place any items that will get in the way of your cleaning into a cooler with ice.

♦  Clean the interior with a soft sponge and detergent.  Use a soft clean cloth/sponge and mild detergent to clean.  Do not use abrasive or textured cleaning agents and avoid using cleaning tools like steel wool – it will damage the finish of your appliance.

♦  Take off the base grille to find the drip pan under the fridge.  If it’s full of water, mop it up with paper towels, then pull it out and wash with warm soapy water.  If your drip pan’s fixed in place, wrap an absorbent cloth around the head of a long handled brush soaked in soapy water and clean it that way.

♦  Remove detachable parts like shelves and bins.  Allow these to warm up to room temperature BEFORE you clean them – if they are directly exposed to warm water they may get thermal shock, and crack or break.

♦  Fridge exterior – wipe the doors down with a cloth moistened with mild soap and water.  Pay special attention to the areas around the door handles, they’re often full of finger smudges! 

For stainless steel fridges, use commercial stainless steel spray and wipe in the direction of the grain, then dry off to prevent streaking.

♦  Clean the door gaskets.  If they’re not kept clean, the door of the fridge won’t seal tightly.  Below is a picture of  a door gasket, they’re usually made out of molded P.V.C.

Conclusion

I hope this quick guide has helped you solve your issues with a fridge water filter.

If it has, please consider supporting us by checking out the related articles below.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!