Kitchen Maintenance 101: Cleaning Your Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerator Coils

It’s been awhile since I’ve humiliated myself in the name of household science….so here I go again. Just keep in mind…I would only do this for YOU! I share (my dirt), because I care. :-)

So the last several weeks our refrigerator has been making some odd noises and we keep turning the temperature down (ie. turning the dial “UP” to “Coldest”) to keep the stuff inside cold enough.

Refrigerator Coils

I actually didn’t give it much thought beyond, “Well, that is odd.”  That is until I happened to see a picture on Pinterest of someone doing something to their refrigerator I had never seen before. They were VACUUMING it! Which got me thinking about whether MY refrigerator might benefit from something similar.

Well, curiosity got the best of me and pretty soon I was down on my hands and knees, and then laying on the floor, inspecting the mysterious grill at the bottom of the fridge that I’ve never given two seconds notice before. Yep, sure enough….I had one. And by upon initial inspection…it looked like it could definitely use a little cleaning. HA! Did I say a LITTLE cleaning?

Refrigerator Coils

I popped the grill off, (which was surprisingly easy to do!) to take a closer look.


Refrigerator Coils

Dust bunnies doesn’t even come CLOSE to describing the horror that faced me! Dust MONSTERS is more like it! Trust me on this one…make sure your little ones aren’t around when you do this…they’ll have nightmares for WEEKS!

Refrigerator Coils

I made a beeline for my new (to me) Dyson vacuum cleaner to take care of the situation. Well, of course it couldn’t be THAT simple! Oh no. Somehow the crevice cleaning accessory that came with my refurbished vacuum had mysteriously disappeared. This job REALLY required a crevice tool!

It’s a good thing my husband was taking a pre-Father’s Day nap at the time because what I did next would have horrified him. lol. Sometimes it’s best he just doesn’t know the stuff I do until he reads about it on my blog. ;-) (Hi hon!)

Refrigerator Coils

I couldn’t find the accessory for my NEW vacuum…but I did manage to find the crevice tool for my OLD one.  And it was almost a perfect fit! Almost. I figured some packing tape would fix that right up…and I’m pleased as punch to report (unlike most of my “hair-brained” ideas) it worked swimmingly! 

I quickly removed the tape with no ill effects to the vacuum at all, and the hubster was none the wiser! (Until now.)  ;-)

Refrigerator Coils

To give you and idea of how much dust was actually lurking underneath my fridge….I decided to completely empty and clean the canister of the vacuum before I started attacking it. (I will horrify you with that picture in a bit.)

Before I started vacuuming I thought it was odd that MY refrigerator didn’t have any coils like the one I’d seen in the picture on Pinterest. I figured mine must be in the back or something. lol. I am so blonde sometimes. After a couple of minutes of sucking up gunk…these shiny black rounded things began to appear.  Ahhh….there they were. :-)  They were just hiding under so much dust they were literally not visible. At all.

Refrigerator Coils

Thankfully the Dyson made quick work of all of the dust MONSTERS and here is proof positive. That was ALL clinging to the coils underneath my fridge!  I know….disgusting.

Refrigerator Coils

But thankfully my vacuum made quick work of all of it….and now all is once again right with the world underneath my fridge.

I solemnly swear….I will never allow it to get to that state again. (Yes, I was watching Harry Potter 3 when I wrote that.)

Refrigerator Coils


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  1. says

    What a very visual reminder that I should clean my fridge underneath and behind pretty soon too (maybe I should let the hubster do the job to avoid the nightmares?)! Mine makes noises that sound like a chicken lives in the freezer part, haven’t gotten to the bottom of that one yet. Thanks for sharing !

  2. says

    Your reaction was the same as mine the day I learned about cleaning the coils and you can bet that this will become regular maintenance from now on lol

  3. Caia says

    Now you need to get a coil brush and clean BETWEEN the coils. You will be surprised at how much more comes out!

      • kelly says

        that’s what i was going to suggest too! i use the tool i have for cleaning my dryer vent (it’s SUPER long and skinny and very flexible…. perfect for getting between the coils and all the way to the back of the fridge. I just set the vacuum hose on the floor in the front (turn it on) and let it suck up all the dust that flies out as i brush the coils… it’s easy!)

      • bilejones says

        Dear God, This one not only cleans the dryer vent, She’s bought a special tool, I’m doomed.

      • Alison S. says

        I’m with you! Where do we get these magical tools? I have two cats and just noticed my fridge. It’s terrifying!

      • CTY says

        Vacuum stores, internet & places like Ace Hardware sell the brushes–if you have trouble finding, keep in mind that these types of brushes are used to clean house steam/hot water radiators.

      • says

        Yeah, that Hoover stick vacuum is good for small hard scufares. It makes kitchen cleanup a snap and would probably be handy on stairs. For more comprehensive cleaning, I like this: Hoover Platinum Lightweight Upright Vacuum with Canister. I haven’t used the vacuum but the canister is super! It sucks like a heavy-duty wet-vac. My only gripe is that the canister holding is very small. That’s the trade-off for lightweight and portability though.

  4. Susie says

    I remember when I first realized that this job needed to be done….. My dad came over to look at my fridge because like yours it wasn’t staying cold enough. By the way I had 3 cats and a dog at the time, just imagine the fur and hair flying around. Anyways, he promptly showed me how to clean the back and underside of the fridge and now asks me on a regular basis if I am keeping it clean. Haha, gotta love parents =o)

  5. Christy says

    But what I am still curious about Jillee…is it staying colder in the fridge now? Does the dust and gunk keep the coils from running efficiently? Have you noticed a difference yet? And did the noise go away?

  6. Barb says

    I bought my coil brush at a store that sells appliances. Back then, it was $7. It really does get a lot more dust after vacuuming. While using the brush, I have the vacuum hose up close so it picks up the dust as it flies off.
    It does make your refrigerator more efficient.

  7. Ayshela says

    fyi, when your crevice tool disappears would be a good time for one of those paper towel tubes you don’t have any more. ;) a bit of cling wrap usually holds it against leaks and it flattens down to the shape you need toward the end so you can get into heat vents, dryer vents, under the fridge, etc.

    Also, if you drop something small on carpeting, put a nylon knee high over your vacuum tube and run it over the floor where the item fell. It’ll suck up against the stocking so you can find/retrieve it easily.

  8. nicole says

    my dryer is a year old and i bough a lint lizard thinking, there shouldn’t be much in there in a year right, it sounded like i was sucking up horses or something, i bet my lint lizard would work under my frig too, i probably should go try