How To Clean The Water And Ice Dispenser On Your Refrigerator

The exterior water and ice dispenser on your refrigerator is a great convenience to have. You can get cubes of ice in your glass, or icy cold water at the press of a button - on demand any time you want. The downside to this convenience is the buildup of calcium from hard water that can accumulate around the water tube, or the mold/mildew that can build up in the ice dispenser. These areas should be cleaned, not just to make your refrigerator look cleaner, but to keep these contaminants and bacteria from getting into your drinking water.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Steam cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • Cotton swabs
  • Vinegar


  1. To begin with, unplug your refrigerator for just a few minutes while you're working on it. This will prevent any electric shock while working on it, and prevent any ice or water from getting dispensed while you're working in this area.
  2. Next, take your steam cleaner and a small attachment to get into the small nooks and crannies of your ice maker/water dispenser. The steam will help break up hard water, and remove mold/mildew that has accumulated, as well as any other dirt and grime. If you don't have a steam cleaner, use a clean rag soaked with vinegar. 
  3. To get into areas that the steam cleaner couldn't get into, use cotton swabs to wipe out these small areas. You may go through several cotton swabs, especially if you have a lot of grime.
  4. Be sure to get into the ice dispenser cover, which may have a lot of built up grime from splash back. 
  5. Wipe down the entire area with a vinegar soaked rag.
  6. Take it a step further by removing the entire cover plate on your dispenser, and taking apart the assembly in order to give it a deeper clean. Be sure before attempting this that you follow the manufacturer's directions to remove it and put it back together. If you aren't sure about this, call a professional for help.
  7. Use vinegar and a rag to clean the dispenser tray at the bottom of the dispenser, which may accumulate with dust, dirt and hard water. Remove the tray and soak it if need be in vinegar for harder to remove water spots or calcium buildup.

To keep your water and ice fresh, be sure to change the filter inside your refrigerator every six months. Read your manufacturer's instructions to see which type of filter your refrigerator uses and purchase a replacement at your local hardware store, or order a new one on-line. 

Keep your dispenser clean to prevent a breakdown, and to prevent mold/mildew growth. Contact an appliance repair company, like Jensen Appliance & Refrigeration Service, for help if you aren't sure how to clean this area, or if you are having any issues with your dispenser.