The hardworking coils sit unnoticed all year long, making the refrigerator hum along happily. But if left unattended, those coils can ultimately damage the appliance.
A buildup of dust and grease on the refrigerator's coils can cause the appliance to work less efficiently. Eventually, the dirty coils can cause the refrigerator to shut down. When cleaning the electrical parts of a major appliance, there are a few things to keep in mind for safety measures, as well as ways to clean the metal parts efficiently and thoroughly with products like a refrigerator coil cleaner spray.
Clean the refrigerator coils once a year to keep the appliance in good working order.
Safety Precautions to Clean Coils
The heavy appliance is used so often, it can be seen as a gentle giant in the kitchen. However, the heated coils can be a danger if they aren't cleaned regularly and properly. Wear gloves and protective eyewear when using detergents and brushes around the metal coils so that, as you work around the nooks and crannies, you don't get splashed in the eyes or trap your fingers.
GE Appliances advises that the refrigerator should be unplugged before you begin cleaning the underside and back of the hulking appliance. This will reduce the chances of an electric shock and allow you to move the appliance freely without it being attached to the wall.
Aside from electrical care, you should use safety precautions when working around the large appliance, which can tip easily. Make sure that the refrigerator is steady and won't tip forward or to the side while you vigorously work to clean the coils or other metal and plastic façades in the appliance's hard-to-reach places.
Before You Begin to Clean
Unplug the refrigerator and remove it from its nook. It needs to be free and clear of cabinetry and surrounding countertops so that you can remove grilles or metal plates safely and easily in order to reach the coils.
Remove the base grill and clean it thoroughly with a refrigerator coil brush or vacuum. If the screws or other small parts are covered in grease and dust, allow them to sit in a bath of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Clean all parts that cover or protect the refrigerator coils.
Consult the GE profile refrigerator cleaning instructions if you aren't sure of a specific detergent, tool or method that you intend to use.
Clean GE Refrigerator Coils
Home Warranty recommends using a homemade refrigerator coil cleaner spray made of a mix of 1-part vinegar and 1-part warm water with a few drops of mild dish washing liquid. This can take down thick layers of dirt that stubbornly cling to the metal. Spray the mix directly onto the coils once the refrigerator is unplugged and the coils are completely cool.
Use a refrigerator coil brush to get in between the tight metal and pull out globs of grimy dust, hair and grease. Wipe down the coils and make sure that all moisture is wicked away. The coils need to be completely dry before the refrigerator is plugged back in.
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 www.vegaswriter.com.