How To Clean Refrigerator Water Line? { In 8 Steps }

When you first get a refrigerator, the convenience of having a built-in water and ice dispenser is difficult to ignore. Having an unlimited supply of cold, clean water at our fingertips is a great perk many of us enjoy having with our appliances. However, not enough people consider the maintenance required for these convenience features over time to keep them functioning properly.

For instance, hard water can cause limescale build-up in the refrigerator’s water lines over time, reducing their performance and efficiency. Furthermore, bacterial growth can also occur when the lines are not cleaned regularly.

Thus, setting aside some time to clean the water lines once every few months is critical to ensure they are working properly. Fortunately, doing this isn’t too complicated if you follow the right steps. With a little effort and TLC, your fridge’s water lines can run smoothly and reliably for years.

Here is How to Clean the Refrigerator Water Line

Step-1: Turn off Your Water Line

When it comes to troubleshooting certain issues with your refrigerator, one of the first steps you must take is disconnecting the water line. Doing this properly is important to avoid any unnecessary problems or potential hazards.

To start this process, unplug your refrigerator and shut off the water supply—the shut-off valve is typically located on the wall behind the fridge. However, other common locations are near the kitchen sink or a cabinet. You may need some tools—such as a screwdriver or pliers—to help you unscrew and remove the connection from its place behind your fridge.

To catch any dripping water, make sure you place a bucket underneath the outlet before shutting off the water supply and removing it. Once disconnected, you should be all set and ready to proceed with any needed repairs.

Step-2: Make a Nozzle

To create a cleaning solution for your water dispenser, mix a small amount of dish soap with water or equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Only a few drops of dish soap are needed due to the dispenser’s small size. Alternatively, a natural cleaner can be made with white vinegar and warm water.

Step-3: Clean Water Dispenser

Removing bacteria from your refrigerator’s water dispenser and reservoir is essential for providing clean drinking water when thirsty. Be sure to give them both a good scrubbing with a soapy rag, let them dry, then re-wipe them both again with soapy warm water afterward. This helps ensure that all of the vinegar has been completely removed before continuing with the next step in cleaning your refrigerator’s components.

If done regularly and carefully, keeping your appliance’s components clean will help eliminate bacteria while giving you peace of mind in knowing that your family is consuming safe drinking water.

Step-4: Flush Your Refrigerator Lines

Flushing your refrigerator lines is important in keeping your fridge clean and running smoothly. It helps to remove any blockages or debris that can clog the water filter, which can otherwise cause poor performance, leaky valves, or contaminated ice cubes.

To begin with, reconnect the reservoir tube to the refrigerator and attach a plastic funnel to the end. Pour enough white vinegar down the tube so that it completely saturates it.

If there’s an ice machine attached to your refrigerator, you should also pour some of the vinegar into its dispenser tubes; this will help break up any dirt or grime in these areas. Clamp each end of the tube and let it sit for 10-20 minutes before releasing the clamps and allowing any remaining vinegar to trickle into a bucket.

This process can be repeated a few times for maximum cleaning effectiveness. Regularly flushing your refrigerator lines also helps prevent flooding and rusting from occurring inside your home appliance.

Step-5: Rinse, repeat, and replace

Getting your refrigerator’s ice system running again is a simple process that doesn’t take long, with many minor steps that must be done in order. After flushing the entire system out with vinegar, you must reconnect the water supply and turn it back on to ensure no more traces of vinegar are left behind.

It’s also important to run a few extra glasses of water through the line before putting it back. Making a few batches of ice and tossing them out should also clear out any remaining taste of vinegar, just to be sure.

To clean the ice tray in your refrigerator, remove it and wash it with warm, soapy water. Be sure to rinse it well and dry it completely before returning it to the freezer to avoid any potential moisture damage to your refrigerator. Once all components are back in place, turn on the water source again and plug in your refrigerator to start working properly. Rinse, repeat, and replace – and you’ll soon have cool drinks again.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Do You Need To Clean The Water Lines In The Fridge?

Yes, cleaning the water lines in your refrigerator regularly is important. The water line can become clogged with sediment and other debris over time, leading to bad-tasting water, slower flow from the refrigerator’s water dispenser, and, eventually, blockages that prevent any water from flowing. Regular cleaning of the fridge’s water line can help ensure that you always have fresh-tasting water available.

2. How Often Should You Clean Refrigerator Water Lines?

It is recommended to clean your refrigerator’s water lines at least once a year, or more if you notice decreased flow or poor-tasting water coming from the dispenser. This will help ensure that the water line remains free of debris and sediment buildup, which can lead to blockages.

3. How Do I Know If My Refrigerator Water Is Clean?

Water that is free of impurities typically lacks any noticeable taste or color, though there may be a hint of sweetness or mild metallic flavor. Treated water may have a slight saltiness. If you notice a change in the taste of your refrigerator water, replacing the filter may be necessary.

4. Is It Safe To Drink Water From The Fridge?

The short answer is, no, it is not safe to drink water from your refrigerator water line. Refrigerator water lines can become contaminated with bacteria over time, including E. coli and other microorganisms, which can make you and your family sick. Additionally, refrigerator water lines often contain chlorine or other chemicals used to disinfect the water, which may have an unpleasant taste or smell that could make the water unsuitable for drinking.

5. What Happens If You Drink Water From The Fridge Without A Filter?

Drinking water from a refrigerator without a filter could potentially be dangerous, depending on the age and condition of the refrigerator and its water line. Older refrigerators may have lead in their water lines, which can leach into your drinking water. Additionally, bacteria, sediment, and other impurities can accumulate in the lines over time, making them a potential source of contamination.


Cleaning your refrigerator’s water line regularly is important to ensure that the water coming out of the dispenser is fresh, safe, and impurities-free. This can be done by flushing the entire system with vinegar, replacing the filter, and running a few extra glasses of water through the line before putting it back.


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