10 Steps to Clean Your Fridge Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

Ellie Brooks

Written By Ellie Brooks

Published 09/29/22
Steps to Clean Your Fridge Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

It’s hot and humid, and you’ve been working outside. You take a break and pour yourself a tall glass of ice water. You take a long gulp, but something’s off. The water tastes stale and smells of the freezer. Shouldn’t you be able to enjoy fresher tasting ice and water from your refrigerator?

You don’t need to resign yourself to buying bottled water forever. Take the time to clean your ice maker and water dispenser, and you’ll always have cool and clean water on demand. Fortunately, cleaning ice maker machines and water dispensers isn’t too difficult. Here’s how to do it.

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How to Clean Fridge Ice Dispenser Machines: 10 Steps

1. Turn off your ice maker.

Start by turning off the ice machine. You don’t need to shut down the entire refrigerator. The ice machine control inside the freezer may be a metal arm that moves up and down or an on/off toggle switch. Another possibility is a digital button on the outside of the freezer door. When in doubt, consult your appliance’s manual.

2. Remove the ice bin and dispose of the ice and any frost.

Remove the ice bin and dump its contents in the sink. You may need to chip off frost and ice buildup from inside the freezer too. A freezer with an accumulation of frost tends to keep stale, off smells that can taint the flavor of ice and frozen foods. You might be able to chip off moderate frost buildup or remove it with some hot water, but heavy accumulation will require you to defrost your freezer.

3. Clean the inside of the freezer and ice bin.

After you’ve removed all ice and frost, thoroughly clean the ice bin and inside surfaces of the freezer. Your ice bin may be dishwasher safe. Check for a stamp on the bottom or refer to your owner’s manual. If you’d prefer to wash the bin by hand, use warm and soapy water.

Use a clean rag or sponge to clean inside the freezer. You can use a mixture of white vinegar and water or mix about a half of a cup of bleach in a gallon of clean water.

4. Disconnect the refrigerator’s water supply.

A clean fridge ice maker necessitates clean water. If dirty internal components are tainting your fridge water, ice dispenser output will continue to taste off.

Start by turning off the water valve to prevent water from flowing into the appliance. Then locate the copper tube that channels water into the internal reservoir. This could be behind the fridge or within the door. Set a bucket down and detach the tube over the bucket to catch the water that drains out.

5. Flush the water dispenser with a cleaning solution.

Clean the entire water dispenser mechanism by flushing it with white vinegar. Use a small funnel to pour vinegar into the copper tube and hold the tube in an elevated position to ensure that the vinegar courses through the system and reaches the internal water reservoir. Let the vinegar stay in the system for five to ten minutes. You may need to prop up the tube or use a little masking tape to keep it from falling and spilling vinegar on your floor.

Place a cup beneath the dispenser nozzle in front of the refrigerator and engage the dispenser to flush the vinegar from the system. You may have to dump and refill the cup several times.

6. Clean the water dispenser nozzle.

Minerals and mildew can accumulate within the water dispenser nozzle. Use a toothbrush, toothpick, pipe cleaner, or other fine tool to scrub away any gunk inside and out. You can continue to use white vinegar for this purpose.

7. Turn on the water supply.

After you’ve cleaned the water system and dispenser nozzle with vinegar, reattach the copper tubing to the water line. Turn the valve to reintroduce fresh water to the system. Wait 10 minutes for water to fill the reservoir.

8. Flush the water system with clean water.

Flush the system of any traces of vinegar and broken-down deposits. Place a cup beneath the dispenser nozzle and engage the dispenser to fill the cup with water. Dump the contents down the sink when the cup is full, then repeat the process several times. Your system is likely sufficiently cleaned when you can no longer detect the smell of vinegar.

9. Replace ice maker filter inserts.

Most refrigerators and ice makers use filters to remove minerals and fine particulates from the main water source. These filters need to be cleaned periodically. If you have a fridge or ice maker with filter inserts, find an appropriate replacement and change out the old filter.

Filter placement varies from model to model. If you’re unsure of where your filter is, check your owner’s manual.

10. Replace the ice bin and turn on the ice machine.

Wrap up by replacing the ice bin and turning the ice machine back on. Your appliance will need a day or so to produce enough ice to refill the bin, but there should be a few ice cubes within a couple of hours. Drop a few in a glass and top off with water. You’ll notice a remarkable difference.

How to Protect Your Refrigerator From Unexpected Breakdowns

Routine cleanings and maintenance will keep your fridge humming for many years, but an unexpected problem can befall any appliance—even those that are impeccably maintained. If the appliance is out of warranty, then it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to find a reliable technician and pay for repairs.

There’s another option, however. Liberty Home Guard’s warranty services cover all mechanical components and parts of kitchen refrigerators. If something fails, we’ll tap our national network of technicians and have a licensed professional resolve the problem within 48 hours.

To learn more about our plans and policies, call our team at (866)-432-1283. You can also use our website for a free quote.


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