How to Clean Refrigerator Water Dispenser: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written By David Varnes

David Varnes is an Appliance Repair Professional with over 15 years of experience.

If you’ve ever noticed water dripping from your refrigerator’s water dispenser, it’s likely that the nozzle needs to be cleaned.

In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to clean your refrigerator’s water dispenser in a few easy steps. This will help keep your fridge running smoothly and prevent any potential water damage.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Disconnect Your Refrigerator

Unplug your refrigerator from the power source before you begin the cleaning process. Then, turn off the water valve to prevent water from flowing into your fridge. The water valve is usually hidden behind your refrigerator.

Step 2: Disconnect the Water Supply

Turn off the valve to your water dispenser and allow it to soak in vinegar for a few hours. Remove the screw that holds the copper tube in place. This makes it easier to get at the end of the tubing so you may fill it with vinegar.

Step 3: Flush With White Vinegar

A small funnel can be used to fill the water dispenser reservoir with distilled white vinegar. Pour a few cups of vinegar into the tube to fill it with vinegar. The vinegar will take some time to travel through the tube, so keep an eye on it by propping or taping it in an upright position.

Leave the vinegar in the reservoir for about 5 minutes. To dispense water, place a container beneath the water dispenser nozzle and press the button.

This cleans out the system by washing it out. Keep pressing the button until all of the vinegar has been removed from the reservoir.

Step 4: Scrub the Water Dispenser Nozzle

Scrub any visible components of the tubing and spout region with a clean toothbrush or other small brush with soft bristles. If necessary, use a wider brush to clean deeper sections.

For more effective cleaning, insert a narrow brush designed to clean straws into the tube halfway and up into the nozzle.

Step 5: Rinse With Vinegar

To finish, remove the water supply from the reservoir and reconnect it. Replace the copper tube and turn on the water valve to allow water to flow through the system once more.

To run fresh water through the system using an empty container below the nozzle and a button push, do this a few times until the water runs clear.

Step 6: Clean the Outside Surfaces

Your water dispenser will require some TLC on the outside to keep it completely clean. Many water dispensers have a lock button that prevents the unit from dispensing any more water or ice cubes.

If yours does, engage it so you can wash the buttons without wasting water or ice all over the floor.

Wipe any exposed surfaces with a soft sponge or cloth dampened in vinegar and water. You may also spritz the water dispenser tap and other external components with a mixture of water and vinegar, then clean them with a wet towel.

To remove the vinegar from the dispenser’s surfaces, use a clean towel.

Water dispensers usually have detachable trays below the dispensing area to catch water drips. To clean it properly in the sink, remove this tray from the dispenser.

Soak it in a solution of warm water and vinegar for several minutes to loosen the gunk if it’s built-up dirt. Clean the tray with a soft-bristled brush and allow it to air dry.

Replace the tray when you’re done cleaning it and give your water dispenser a final wipe-down before plugging everything back in. You’re all done!

Step 7: Wash the Tray

Some refrigerator water dispensers include detachable trays. If yours can be removed, clean it with soap and water. The first thing you need to do is remove the tray and wash it in the sink like you would a plate or a glass. Clean the edges of the tray using a sponge.

If your tray has stains in the corners, mix 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water and pour it over the tray. Allow it to sit for a few minutes just to loosen the dirt that got trapped.

If the sponge can reach it, drain the vinegar solution and scrub the grime off with water. To ensure you get to all of them, use a toothbrush.

Do Water Dispensers Get Dirty?

Water dispensers can get dirty if they’re not cleaned on a regular basis. The water reservoir can become filled with bacteria and mold over time, which can cause health problems.

The tubing that runs from the reservoir to the spout can also become clogged with dirt and particles, preventing water from flowing properly. And finally, the nozzle where the water comes out can become caked with calcium and other minerals.

Cleaning your water dispenser regularly is important to keep it working properly and to prevent health problems. Follow the steps in this article to clean your water dispenser quickly and easily.

Can Water Dispensers Get Mold?

Yes, water dispensers can get mold. If you notice any black or green spots on the exterior of your water dispenser, this is a sign that it’s growing. To clean it off, use a mixture of vinegar and water (equal parts). Spray it on and let it sit for about 15 minutes before scrubbing it off with a brush.

If the mold is really tough, you may need to soak it in vinegar for a few hours before scrubbing. Repeat this process until the mold is gone.

You can also use bleach to clean mold off of your water dispenser, but be sure to rinse it well afterward so that no bleach residue is left behind.


Cleaning a refrigerator water dispenser is simple. You don’t need to buy any extra cleaning supplies. Everything you need is generally always accessible in your house, so there’s no excuse not to clean the dispenser on a regular basis.

Once a month should enough cleaning for the dispenser.