How to Clean the Ice & Water Dispenser on a Kenmore Refrigerator

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It is important to clean your ice and water dispenser.
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It's important to regularly clean the ice and water dispenser on your Kenmore refrigerator to keep the water and ice smelling and tasting fresh. When you initially set up and use a brand-new refrigerator, cleaning the dispenser and ice maker mold will get rid of any surface residue leftover from the manufacturing process.

Then, you can get in the habit of flushing and cleaning the system on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of mold or bacteria in the refrigerator water dispenser. All you need to get started is a mild detergent — like dish soap — plus a soft cloth and a fresh toothbrush.

Kenmore Refrigerator: Cleaning Ice Dispenser

To adequately clean the ice maker and dispenser, you'll need to turn off the ice machine and remove the ice storage bin. Kenmore refrigerators have two different styles of ice makers. One style has a metal arm that raises up to turn the machine off. Access this arm by lifting the front panel of the ice maker, then lift the arm and listen for a click to confirm that the arm is raised high enough. If your ice maker does not have a metal arm, it likely has an off/on switch located underneath the ice maker's front panel.

On both ice maker styles, remove the ice storage bin by lifting it up and then pulling it all the way out. Wash the storage bin by hand with warm, soapy water, and then towel or air dry. When placing the storage bin back into the ice dispenser, be sure to push it in all the way or the ice maker will not start. Lower the arm or press the on/off switch to initiate the ice making cycle again.

If you need to wipe down the inside of the ice dispenser, the freezing temperature will make it difficult to apply a damp cloth. To prevent your cloth from sticking to the ice maker, soak the cloth in warm or hot water and wring out the excess before wiping down all accessible parts. Extremely soiled ice makers can be unscrewed from the wall of the fridge, unplugged and removed completely for detailed cleaning with a cloth and toothbrush. Unplug the fridge and turn off the water supply before removing the ice maker completely.

Flushing the Water and Ice Dispenser

You can also clean the chute that delivers ice through the refrigerator door. Unplug the refrigerator or lock the controls to sufficiently clean the ice dispenser from the outside without activating it. Use a soapy washcloth to wipe down all surfaces and use a toothbrush to clean any cracks or crevices. Then wipe everything again with a wet cloth to remove the soap, followed by a dry cloth.

Repeat the cleaning process from the other side of the chute — the side that faces into the freezer when the door is closed. Finally, flush the water dispenser to clear out any "stale" water after a period of disuse.

Ice Maker Cleaning Frequency

According to the Kenmore refrigerator owner's manual, you should discard the first three rounds of ice produced after first plugging in the refrigerator. It's also a good idea to discard ice that has been sitting too long, since it can take on odors from food stored in the freezer and the fridge. Remember to also replace the water filter inside the fridge at least every six months to maintain a healthy and fresh-tasting supply of water and to flush the water line at the same interval.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.

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