How to clean a fridge water dispenser

Refrigerator Ice and Water Dispenser with empty glass

If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in water filter and dispenser in your refrigerator, you know that it can be a convenient way to stay hydrated and healthy.  However, like all water-using appliances around the house, after a while, the water quality and pressure can also start to be affected by bacteria and grime or limescale build-up.

Accordingly, occasionally cleaning the water dispenser can ensure that you continue to enjoy clean, cool, and great tasting water from your fridge.  But how should you go about cleaning the dispenser in the door of my fridge?  What kind of cleaning solution should you use and what supplies will you need?

Not to worry.  In this article, we aim to answer exactly these questions.  Turns out, using a plain vinegar solution is an effective, safe, and easy way to clean your water dispenser, without the need for chemicals or other expensive store-bought items.

Why Clean The Water Dispenser In Your Fridge?

You might be wondering why you’d ever need to clean the water dispenser in your fridge. After all, doesn’t it just have relatively clean water flowing through it? Why would you need to clean that?

Actually, there are a number of reasons why your water filter needs an occasional clean and maintenance. Perhaps the most important reason is hard water. If you live in a region with hard water, which is a high level of dissolved minerals in drinking water, limescale can build up on any water-using appliance.

For your water dispenser in your fridge, this might look like a white film around the dispenser nozzle, or lime build up in the water lines. This can both increase the mineral content of the water passing through as well as decrease the water pressure of the dispenser, as part of the line may be blocked.

Another reason is simply bacterial build-up. Over time and with heavy use, bacteria can build up on almost any appliance. Your refrigerator’s water dispenser is no exception.

Read: What happens if you don’t clean your refrigerator filter?

woman opening up the refrigerator door in her kitchen

We always want to make sure we’re minimizing bacterial build-up on any appliance that prepares our food or drinks. Just like you wouldn’t leave your coffee maker or kettle to sit without at least an occasional wipe down with some soap, so too must you clean your fridge’s dispenser.

How often you need to clean your dispenser depends on the hardness of your water and how often you use it. Typically, most refrigerator dispensers need a deep clean once every 6 to 12 months. Nozzles, buttons, and fridge door components usually need a quick clean every week or two (but you can use a soapy wet cloth). If you live in an area with very hard water, you may find that it’s beneficial to do a deep clean of your dispenser more frequently than every 6 months.

Cleaning Supplies

Now that we’ve established that it’s a good idea to clean the water dispenser in your fridge, let’s go through the supplies you’ll need.

Here’s a quick list:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • An empty bowl

  • Clean cloths or rags
  • A funnel
  • Toothbrush
  • Flashlight (probably)
  • Screwdriver

Steps To Clean A Fridge Water Filter

Cleaning A Refrigerator Water Dispenser

There you have it. When you’re done, simply put everything back as it was. Not too difficult a job, but certainly important for the cleanliness of your water, and the longevity of your dispenser.

Follow the instructions laid out here and you’ll be enjoying a clean, well-working water dispenser in your fridge for years to come.