How to Clean a Water Dispenser on a Refrigerator Door

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Your refrigerator water dispenser is a convenient way to stay hydrated, but it can also collect dirt and grime that affects the water flow and quality.
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Your refrigerator water dispenser is a convenient way to stay hydrated, but it can also collect dirt and grime that affects the water flow and quality. Cleaning the dirt and bacteria in refrigerator water dispenser parts lets you enjoy crisp, fresh water conveniently. Plain distilled vinegar is an effective way to clean the water dispenser without contaminating your drinking water with cleaning chemicals.

Disconnect the Water Supply

Start by shutting down the water supply to your water dispenser so you can flush the system with vinegar. Turn the valve to the off position. You can then remove the screw that holds the copper tubing to remove it. This allows you to access the end of the tubing so you can pour vinegar into it.

Flush With White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is an effective cleaner that's also safe to consume. That means if a little gets left behind in your water dispenser, it may not taste great, but it won't hurt you.

Fit a small funnel into the end of the copper tubing that leads to the water dispenser. Pour a few cups of vinegar into the tube to get it into the water dispenser reservoir. It'll take time for the vinegar to travel through the tube, so propping or taping it in an upright position ensures the vinegar doesn't drain back out of the tube.

Let the vinegar sit in the reservoir for about five minutes. Then, place a container under the water dispenser nozzle and press the button to dispense water. This helps wash out the system. Hold the button down until you get all of the vinegar out of the reservoir.

Scrub the Water Dispenser Nozzle

Using a clean toothbrush or other small brush with soft bristles, scrub any visible parts of the tubing and spout area. Dip the brush in more vinegar if needed to get the areas clean. A narrow brush designed to clean straws can reach partway into the tubing and up into the nozzle for better cleaning.

Rinse the Vinegar

After you run all of the vinegar out of the reservoir, reconnect the water supply by screwing the copper tubing back in place. Turn the water valve to allow water to flow through the system again. Place an empty container under the nozzle and push the button to run fresh water through the system. This helps remove any leftover vinegar so your water tastes fresh.

Clean Outside Surfaces

The outside of your in-door water dispenser needs a little love to keep everything fully clean. Many water dispensers have a lock button that keeps the dispenser from running any water or ice cubes. Engage the lock if yours has one so you can wash the buttons without pouring water or ice all over the floor.

Wipe all of the visible surfaces with a soft sponge or cloth soaked in vinegar and water. You can also spray a mixture of water and vinegar onto the water dispenser tap and other exterior parts and wipe it with a damp cloth. Wipe the dispenser's surfaces with a clean cloth to remove the vinegar.

Water dispensers typically have removable trays below the dispensing area to catch water drips. Pull this tray off of the dispenser to scrub it well in the sink. If it has built-up grime, soak it in a solution of warm water and vinegar for several minutes to loosen the gunk. Scrub the tray with a soft-bristled brush and rinse it well to remove any remnants before sliding it back in place under the water dispenser nozzle.

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Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.

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