Refrigerator Filter Maintenance: Clean Fridge Water Lines

We often talk about how refrigerator filters help to remove containment’s and provide you with better tasting water, but forget to touch on the maintenance of your actual refrigerator. To be more specific, your water and ice supply line in the refrigerator. The water that comes through these lines is the same tap water that contains minerals and deposits that can build up over time.  This build up can lead to clogged lines, white stains, bad odor, and mold in your water and ice. These are all signs of needing to change your refrigerator filter and at DiscountFilters.com we recommend changing your water filter first. If that doesn’t work then it’s probably time you flushed your refrigerator water lines.

Refrigerator appliance troubleshooting and maintenance works background

Before you get started make sure you have the proper tools and supplies.

  • Bucket
  • Towel(s)
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Screw driver
  • Clamps

Steps: Here is an easy to follow, step by step process of how to flush and clean your refrigerators water line.

  1. First, unplug the refrigerator and turn the water valve off. Usually it’s located in the wall behind the fridge. If not, go to the main shut off valve in your basement. Then use the screwdriver to unscrew the ice maker line and leave the dispenser line attached to the door nozzle.
  2. Remove the reservoir which is usually located behind the crisper and empty the water out. Clean with 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water. Flush water through the reservoir multiple times and then reconnect the tubes by pushing then together until they lock,
  3. Take the distilled white vinegar and pour 3 cups into the ice-maker and dispenser lines. Use the funnel to help aid the process and let the vinegar sit in the lines for 10 minutes. Be sure to clamp the open end of the lines so it doesn’t leak out.
  4. This is a two-part step. First, Drain the ice-maker line with clean water and then reattached it. Next, run the vinegar from the water line all the way through the water dispenser and into a bucket.
  5. Flush both lines with clean water to get rid of any loose containment’s and vinegar left in the lines. (8-10 standard glasses of water)
  6. Take the ice maker bin and wash in warm, vinegar water. Rinse and dry before putting it back into the refrigerator.
  7. Hook the water line back to the ice machine and be sure to dispose of the first batch of ice made.


Here is a visual aid of changing the water and ice lines. Note this is for a specific model, and not every refrigerator is set up like this. Be sure to check the manufacturers suggestions and directions to ensure correct installation.

If you can’t seem to figure out why your refrigerators water is having bad taste, odor, or color be sure to check your refrigerators water filter, it could be time to change it. If that’s not the case then maybe it’s time you clean your water lines.  Cleaning your water lines helps to give longevity to your refrigerator filter and create cleaner, clearer drinking water!




1 thought on “Refrigerator Filter Maintenance: Clean Fridge Water Lines”

  1. This might solve our problem with nearly zero ice being made and nearly zero water flow to water dispenser. We have cleared all the troubleshooting steps up to the internal water line, so the water line tubing is more likely clogged/damaged. Thank you for a great step-by-step guide.

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