How to Clean a Refrigerator Water Dispenser

Appliance Express
June 13, 2023
Refrigerator Repair

The water dispenser on your refrigerator is a convenient feature that supplies you with chilled, filtered water whenever you want it. To keep it working correctly, it’s a good idea to give it a regular clean. This will prevent mold and bacteria from building up in the water dispenser system, which will make the water taste bad and pose a risk to your health.

In this article, we are going to give you simple step-by-step instructions for how to properly clean your water dispenser. By following these instructions, you’ll have the dispenser sparkling clean in no time

Step 1—Make sure you have the right equipment

Before cleaning your refrigerator water dispenser, make sure you have the necessary equipment. You will need a bottle of white vinegar (or a commercial water dispenser cleaning solution), a clean cloth, a sponge, clean towels, and a small cleaning brush.

Step 2—Turn the water supply off

Once you have made sure you have the correct equipment, the next step is to switch the water supply off. This will prevent any leaks from occurring during the cleaning process. 

The water supply valve can usually be located behind or under your appliance. Once you switch the water off, empty the dispenser system by dispensing the remaining water into a bucket.

Step 3—Take the drip tray and grill out

The drip tray and grill can be found under the water dispenser. Gently remove both components and clean them in your sink with hot soapy water. Once clean, leave them to drip dry.

Step 4—Clean the dispenser nozzle

The water dispenser nozzle needs to be given a good clean to prevent bacteria from developing around it. 

The best way to clean the nozzle is to use a damp cloth with a few drops of white vinegar on it and wipe the nozzle and the area around it. This will disinfect the surfaces. If you don’t want to use white vinegar, you can use a commercial cleaning spray. 

If any areas are hard to reach, use a small cleaning brush. Once cleaned, rinse the nozzle with warm water to remove any vinegar residue.

Step 5—Flush the dispenser system

Once the nozzle has been cleaned, the next step is to flush the dispenser system out with vinegar. Here’s what to do:

  • Disconnect the water hose.
  • Use a funnel to pour white vinegar into the dispenser water hose.
  • Once the tube is full, leave the vinegar to soak for ten few minutes. You can then flush it out through the nozzle.
  • You can then reattach the water hose.

Step 6—Rinse the dispenser system

The next step is to flush the dispenser system out. This will ensure the vinegar is completely removed from the hose as well as any mineral deposits and bacteria. 

To flush the water dispenser system, turn the water supply back on and then let the water run through the dispenser for a few minutes into a bucket. This will clear out any impurities that are in the system. You can then throw the water down the drain.

Step 6—Put the dispenser unit back together

The final step is to put the tray and grill back in place and you can then start using your dispenser again. If you can still taste the vinegar, flush the dispenser out again.

Frequently asked questions

How often should I clean my refrigerator water dispenser?

Most manufacturers recommend that you clean your refrigerator water dispenser every three to six months. However, if the water quality becomes bad or there is a foul odor coming from the dispenser, clean it out immediately.

Do I have to use vinegar to clean my water dispenser?

No, you can use a commercial cleaner that is specifically formulated for cleaning water dispensers instead. White vinegar is a good cleaning solution because it is a natural product that removes mineral deposits and bacteria. 

However, if you prefer not to use vinegar, purchase a commercial cleaning solution.

How do I prevent mold from growing in my water dispenser?

The best way to prevent mold from developing in your water dispenser is to give it a regular clean. It’s also important to empty the tray so the old water doesn’t start to develop bacteria in it. 

There are also specialty mold-inhibiting tablets that you can place in the tray that will help prevent mold growth.

What should I do if my water dispenser has a foul odor?

A foul odor emitting from your refrigerator water dispenser indicates bacteria growth. If you can smell a foul odor coming from your refrigerator water dispenser give it a thorough clean immediately. 

Make sure you flush the system out with white vinegar or a commercial cleaning solution to ensure the bacteria is properly washed out.

How long does the cleaning process usually take?

Cleaning a refrigerator dispenser system will take you about 30 to 60 minutes depending on how dirty it is. Most of the hard work is done by the dispenser. 

All you need to do is pour the vinegar or cleaning solution into the water hose, leave it to soak into the hose, and then flush it out. The best way to reduce the time it takes to clean the dispenser is to give it a regular clean so it never becomes too dirty.


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