How to Clean the Back of a Refrigerator

The refrigerator is an essential kitchen asset in every household.

It comes in handy, especially during summer, for nothing is refreshing like a cold drink or ice cream when the temperatures are hot.

In addition, it acts as a food preserving gadget. Refrigerating perishable food makes it last longer than it normally would in ordinary temperatures.


Maintaining and cleaning the refrigerator is key in the functioning of the refrigerator. Cleaning the front and inside of the fridge is a common process for all those who own one.

However, most times, we forget the back part, which requires cleaning as well.

The back of the refrigerator comprises of the condenser coils, also referred to as refrigerator coils.

Coils are important in expelling the heat out. Eliminating dust and dirt will help in maintaining the coolness in the refrigerator.

This also reduces your electrical bills, saving you cash, and maintaining the fridge’s durability.

Why You Need To Clean the Back Part of the Fridge


Accumulation of dust in the condenser may cause health issues to those with allergies.


This is a major problem at the back of refrigerators due to dampness. This is a conducive environment for the growth of molds.


Food crumbs that may have fallen beneath the fridge may attract pests in the house.


Food crumbs beneath the appliances may emanate a foul odor, and pests can transport these foods to different areas in the house.

This is unhygienic and harmful if there are young children in the house who could potentially consume them.

Bad Odor:

Types of Odor


This odor emanates from the accumulation of gunk and debris combined with the warmth from the coils.

At this point, clean the condenser coils at the back of the refrigerator. If the odor persists, seek the services of an electrician. 

Rotting Odor:

If the smell is from the back of the fridge, check the drip pan. The smell comes from the clogging of the drip inside the condenser coils.

This article explains the procedure involved in cleaning the condenser coils. The cleaning process takes around 15 min.


  • Rag
  • A vacuum cleaner with brush and crevice attachments.
  • Coil brush or other small brush

How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

Unplug the Refrigerator

Turning off electrical appliances before you commence on cleaning electrical appliances is a key safety measure against electrocution.

Switch off the power and remove the power cord to unplug the refrigerator from the wall. Your food will not get warm as the cleaning process is fast.

Moreover, the refrigerator sustains its cool temperature during the entire process.

Pull the Refrigerator Gently Away From the Wall

Most ancient refrigerators have their coils at the back of their fridge. To access the coils at the back, you ought to move the fridge away from the wall.

Move the fridge approximately one meter from the wall to grant you ample space for cleaning. 

If your refrigerator has wheels at the bottom, it will make this moving process easier. Be careful, however, not to ruin the wheels or kitchen floor.

If your refrigerator has no wheels, seek help to push it back and forth as you clean.

You do not require going through this process if your coils are not located at your fridge’s bottom.

Trace the Coils

Condenser coils can be in either of the places stated:

At the Back

It is easy to access the coils at this location. All you need is to search for the metal grid connected to the back of the appliance. 

On the Bottom

The majority of the modern fridges have the coils hidden beneath the bottom panel. At this point, accessing the coils is a bit complicated.

Unclamp the bottom panel, remove it and place it aside safely as you clean the coils. If it is difficult to remove the panel, lift it a bit as you push it in your direction.

Cleaning Process:

Dusting With a Brush or Rag

Using a brush with soft bristles, you need to brush off the dirt and dust. With months of not cleaning the refrigerator’s coils, the coils absorb grime.

Ensure to remove as much dust and dirt as you possibly can using the brush. Brush the top, bottom, and inside the coils to eliminate most of the dirt.

You can use a torch to help you with your vision of the coils. As an alternative, use a rag or a wire brush.

Use a Vacuum

For the remaining dust and dirt, use a vacuum to suck it up. There are specific vacuums made for this job available in the market.

At the end of the vacuum cleaner pipe, put a slim nozzle to ease your work by sucking up the coils’ dust.

Move the nozzle over the coils gently to suck up all the gunk. You can use this opportunity where the fridge is away from them all, vacuum to clean up other inaccessible areas of your fridge such as the floor beneath, and wipe the back and sides of the refrigerator.

Be careful to avoid causing damage to the coils as you get as much dirt out as possible.

Repeat the Cleaning Process

Redo the brushing and sucking process to confirm that there is no grime left. Vacuuming exposes more of the hidden dirt as compared to scraping with a brush.

Use a coil brush for any remnant dust and suck it up with a vacuum to finalize the cleaning.

Restarting the Fridge

Assemble the Parts:

Clamp the bottom panel back to its initial place. To confirm that it is in its right place, it will snap and make a clamping sound. 

Switch The Fridge On:

Return your fridge to its original position. Plug the refrigerator back to the power cord on the wall. Switch on the power of the refrigerator to resume its usual functioning.

The fridges with the coils on the back allow for a 3-centimeter gap for the refrigerator’s effective functioning.


Clean your condenser coils after every 6 months to maintain the efficient functioning of the refrigerator.

Those with pets in the house often clean the coils as the fur from the pets can get stuck in the coils, hence minimizing its effectiveness.