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3 Useful Tips on How Тo Clean Refrigerator Water Lines

Nowadays, most refrigerators come with water dispensers which are used frequently. It provides easy access to water, but the water lines are hard to clean. 

It’s natural for places that have water running on a daily basis to develop some buildup. The water lines are no exception. This isn’t only distressing but also very unhealthy.

How to clean refrigerator water lines?

Do you have some vinegar lying around? That’s all you need! Diluted or distilled vinegar can be used to get rid of bacteria and calcium buildup. It can be used to clean molds too! You just have to use it in a different way. It can be a bit difficult to reach some parts, but it’s not unattainable.

We have a thorough breakdown of the process and a few added know-hows for you. If you’re willing to spare a minute, give this article a read-

Why Do Water Lines Clog Up?

All kinds of water possess various minerals which can accumulate over some time. One of such minerals is calcium. 

It’s not unlikely to see some rigid layers on the inner surface of your water lines. This happens because the inner surface is more or less in constant contact with water. Which makes it easy for calcium and other particles to accumulate on the surface.

Minerals are not the only things present in water. Bacteria is present in almost everything, and water is no exception. When bacteria cling on to the lines, they might develop into molds. Which eventually clogs the formerly clean refrigerator water lines.

How to Clean Refrigerator Water Line?

The amount you need to spend over cleaning your refrigerator water line is meager. It’s far less than even the hourly rent of a commercial kitchen. You just need some vinegar, brushes, and scrubs.

The method to clean the lines differ based on what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, a regular clean-up will definitely be different from exterminating mold. We’ve mentioned three methods here, regular cleaning, cleaning buildups, and eliminating mold. 

Regular Cleaning

Dirty or not, you should clean your refrigerator once in a while. Cleaning the water lines is even more important! They are more prone to become dirtier than any other part of the refrigerator. To clean the water lines, follow the steps below-

Step 1: Cut Supply

The first and foremost step to take is to cut off the power supply. This will stop the cooling and make sure the small amount of vinegar won’t freeze. 

Once you’ve cut off the power, also turn off the water supply. Get rid of the water in the tank if you want to clean it too along with the pipes. It’s highly recommended that you do!

Step 2: Clean Using Vinegar

You have to clean the pipe with vinegar. You can use distilled or diluted vinegar, your choice. Like, sanded vs unsanded grout, vinegar diluted in water and raw vinegar is different too. 

You can pour the vinegar down the pipe, or you can rub the inside with a brush. It’s recommended you use a cup of vinegar and pour it through the pipe. This way you won’t miss any spots.

Step 3: Scrub & Eliminate Residue

Take a bottle brush and thoroughly scrub the inside of the line. Make sure to give the head of the brush a nice dip in vinegar. Repeat the process a few times and turn your water supply on.

Don’t just start drinking water yet. Let the water run for a while and then catch a cup of water. If the water has no residue of vinegar in it, you’re good to go! Turn the power on and enjoy nice and clean water. 

If you’re cleaning the ice dispenser, you’d better discard the first few batches after cleaning. That will get rid of all the remaining vinegar.

Buildups Cleaning

You will most possibly face buildups at the ends of the line. Because due to surface tension, water tends to cling to the edges. So check for buildups there. Spray some diluted vinegar on the buildup and let it stay like that for a while. 5 minutes should be enough time to let the vinegar react with the limestone buildup.

Use a toothbrush, or any brush, to scrub at the buildup. A better alternative would be a dull knife if it’s available. Scrap all the buildup away, it should be easy since the vinegar softened it. 

After you’re done, you should definitely do a regular cleanup. Follow the method mentioned above!

Mold Cleaning

Molds like to form in damp areas. You might see mold on the bathroom popcorn ceiling sometimes. Water lines are equally damp. While pouring out water from the dispenser, if you see dark objects floating, that’s your cue. There is mold in the water lines. 

Cleaning molds is not just cleaning one part of the system. They are the product of contamination, so the whole system is contaminated. To get rid of them fully, you need to clean the entire set, including the ice maker.

Step 1: Wash The Lines

Similar to the regular cleaning method, pour 3 cups of vinegar down the lines slowly. However, don’t start from the lines. Start from the copper water supply pipe that connects to the tank. Because that pipe is most likely contaminated too.

Once you’ve got the vinegar in there, use a cup to pour it out from the dispenser. If you have stubborn mold, you’ve to use bleach. Here are some bleach products we recommend for cleaning:

Dilute the bleach according to the bottle’s instructions and pour it down the line. Let it sit there for about 15-30 minutes. This will exterminate all of the germs and fungi. While the bleach is doing its job, clean the other parts of the system.

Step 2: Clean The Dispenser

Take off any removable parts of the dispenser and clean them with vinegar. You should rinse them with warm water too. Use a cloth wet with vinegar to wipe down the handle, dispenser mouth, and the body. To get rid of the vinegar, use a clean cloth, preferably drenched in warm water. 

By the time you finish, the bleach should’ve done its job. Pour out all the bleach and let the water run for a while. Just like we did with the regular cleanup, discard 2-3 batches of ice and water before consumption.


Question: How often should I clean my refrigerator lines?

Answer: According to research, it is deemed best to clean your water line bi-annually or annually. You should do some thorough maintenance with a 6-12 months gap in between. This will ensure much-needed clean and healthy water for you.

Question: How often should I clean my dispenser to prevent molds?

Answer: The mold inside your water line is a result of cross-contamination. A subtle touch of foreign objects at the dispenser’s mouth is the cause. You should clean the handle, tray, removable parts, and dispenser mouth every 1-2 weeks.

Question: Is bleaching the water lines not toxic?

Answer: Household bleach is manufactured in a way to not be toxic or corrosive. However, exposure might result in irritation to the area. So, make sure not to get them into your eyes, or any other mucous membranes.


Did these methods clean refrigerator water lines for you? Pretty sure it did! It’s easy, affordable, and non-toxic. So why not try it before going for professional servicing? It’s totally worth it.

Hope you won’t face a mold or buildup problem ever again!

With that, we’ll see you soon!