In doing the routine cleaning of your fridge, you shouldn’t forget to care for the water dispenser and ice maker! Most refrigerators require deep cleaning every six to 12 months, but these parts need a cleaning more often. It keeps them in tip-top shape and eliminates potential health concerns. Here’s how you can maintain your in-fridge ice maker and water dispenser!
Start By Disconnecting The Ice Maker & Water Dispenser
Before cleaning these components, you must read your refrigerator manual and shut off the water valve that feeds that water dispenser and ice-maker lines. It might look like a lever you can lift to shut off the ice maker on some models; if your fridge doesn’t have this, you can also outright unplug your fridge. You don’t have to worry about the food inside – the cleaning process won’t take long!
Remove the screw holding the plastic tubing water lines in place in the refrigerator using the screwdriver appropriate for the screw type in your refrigerator. You can remove the ice-maker line but leave the dispenser line attached to the dispenser door nozzle.
Wash The Ice Maker Bin
Take the ice bin out and dump any ice into the sink. Depending on your fridge model, the bin might pull out like a kitchen drawer, or you might have to lift it before it comes out.
Let any ice buildup on the inside thaw away, then handwash it in warm, soapy water. Use a small brush to get at any parts you can’t reach with a washcloth. Rinse the bin with clear water and dry it thoroughly before putting it back in. Once it’s ready, hook the water line back up to the ice maker.
Check The Filters
Your ice maker might have a water filter; if it’s old, this filter will affect how your ice tastes. It can become clogged from the minerals in hard water, preventing it from letting water through and impacting the performance. Remember to change this filter every six months; consult your manual for the proper model.
Clean The Water Dispenser
When it comes to cleaning your fridge’s internal water dispenser, plain white vinegar is an effective cleanser that doesn’t contaminate the drinking water with chemicals.
After disconnecting the water supply, pour four cups of white distilled vinegar into the ice-maker and dispenser lines with a small funnel. Let the vinegar soak for five to 10 minutes, and if necessary, clip the open end of the lines with a clothespin so that the vinegar doesn’t empty before you’re ready to drain the line.
Run the vinegar from the water line through the dispenser and into a small container to break up any limescale and mineral buildup in the tube and dispenser nozzle. Thoroughly clean the outside of the nozzle with a clean cloth that you’ve moistened with vinegar.
Reconnect the water supply by screwing the tubing back and turning on the water valve. Let the water flow through the system again, but be sure to place an empty container under the dispenser and push the button to run fresh water through. Running it will remove any leftover vinegar before you take your first sip.
Clean The Exterior Surfaces
The outside of your in-door water dispenser needs some TLC, too! Engage the lock function on your water dispenser and ice maker; it will keep them from running water or ice cubes while you clean them. Wash the buttons, and wipe all visible surfaces with a clean cloth or sponge soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water. Wipe the dispensers with a clean cloth to remove any residual vinegar.
If you perform this maintenance every six months, you’ll not only keep the ice maker and water dispenser in excellent condition, you’ll also enjoy great-tasting water and ice!