How to Clean Slime Out of the Water Line in a Whirlpool Refrigerator

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It is not that difficult to clean your refrigerator's lines.
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It's stocked full of all your favorite food and easily accessible to all who traipse through the home. The refrigerator is one of the most used household appliances, and they need regular maintenance to keep those favored fruits crisp and bacteria from gathering in hidden places.

The water lines that run behind the Whirlpool refrigerator can get clogged with slime, particularly if the appliance is in a warm room or outside. Bacteria can grow undetected and create problems. Cleaning the refrigerator's lines isn't as daunting as it may sound when properly flushed.

Bacteria in Refrigerator Water Dispenser

If there is slime in the refrigerator water dispenser, then the water lines will definitely need to be flushed. Bacteria in the refrigerator water dispenser usually means that the water lines behind the appliance need to have a good cleaning.

Black particles in the refrigerator water lines are typically caused by hard water or minerals. The pesky particles can also be caused by old pipes slowly wearing down and releasing little bits of metal or rubber to pass into the water that leads to your taps and water lines. Putting a water filter on the back of the refrigerator can solve this.

Prep the Fridge for Cleaning

Before removing the lines from the refrigerator, the water needs to be shut off. Turn off the valve that supplies water to the appliance, which is typically connected to the cold water line. Mr. Rooter suggests that you look under the sink or in the cabinet next to the refrigerator.

The process of turning off the water and cleaning the lines should take about 30 minutes. However, if you think it will take longer, then you may want to store perishables and frozen items in coolers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that food left at room temperature for two hours can cause bacteria to form and make the food dangerous to consume.

Remove the Water Lines

Remove the line from the fridge by gently turning and twisting. Follow the instruction manual directions to ensure the lines don't get damaged or tear.

There will be some water left in the lines. Place a bucket under the line and let it drain. Throw out the water once the line stops dripping. Fully disconnect the water supply line from the connection and fridge.

Cleaning the Water Lines

The water lines are narrow so use a small brush, such as those used to clean straws or a wet pipe cleaner. Dip the narrow brush into warm, sudsy water and scrub the lines as far as you can.

Discount Filters recommends running straight vinegar down the water lines to remove bacteria that clings to the inside of the line. Flush the lines a few times with vinegar before running water through the lines to get rid of the odor.

Reattach the water lines and turn the water valve back to the on position. It's a good idea to change the water filter and allow about 24 hours for the appliance to be back to its normal operation. Whirlpool suggests that you change the water filter often and flush the water system at the same time. Depress the lever for five seconds at a time until the water runs clear.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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