Water dispensers have become an indispensable feature in modern refrigerators such that we use them daily because of their convenience and efficiency. Despite their touted sanitary utility, fridge water dispensers have their share of health risks for the unsuspecting user.
Fridge water dispensers may have a filtration system to filter out particles and contaminants. However, they can be hazardous carriers of disease-causing pathogens, such as E. coli and fecal coliform. They may also harbor toxic chemicals and mold-producing fungi.
To keep enjoying your fridge water dispenser’s ease of use, you should know how to clean fridge water dispenser with some do-it-yourself skills using a few household items.
Tell-Tale Signs of a Dirty Water Dispenser
Most people think their fridge water dispenser hardly ever needs to be cleaned because of its supposedly flawless industrial design. That’s until they notice the water flows out of it considerably slower than usual or tastes funny.
Worse yet, upon inspection, they discover gunky grime inside it, only to realize that it hosts colonies of harmful bacteria and fungi. You must rid your fridge water dispenser of unwanted parasites, dirt, and substances.
Cleaning the Fridge Water Dispenser
First, your water dispenser would only need distilled white vinegar, a highly effective cleaning material found around the household. Moreover, it’s safe to consume as it’s not poisonous or severely harsh to the senses.
Should a trace of the vinegar find its way into your mouth as you clean the water dispenser, you would merely taste or ingest its harmless sour flavor and nothing more.
Disconnect the Dispenser’s Water Supply
Disconnect the water supply to your fridge water dispenser so you can start cleaning it without being bothered by continuously flowing water. Don’t turn off the entire fridge. Activate the dispenser’s lock button to keep the unit from spraying water and dispensing ice.
Find and turn off the valve on the copper tubing hooked to your fridge’s water tank. Remove or loosen its screw to yank off its connection to the dispenser, which you can pour the vinegar into.
Flush the Dirt Out with Vinegar
White vinegar, especially when distilled, has been proven to be an effective and safe disinfectant and cleaning solution. Fix a funnel to the end of the tubing connecting to the water dispenser.
Prop or hold the funnel up while pouring two or three cups of vinegar, which should fill up or flow through the dispenser’s reservoir. Wait for the vinegar to settle inside the reservoir, then insert a receptacle under the nozzle.
Press the nozzle button to dispense the water and for the system to wash out. Keep pressing the button with water running through the system to flush out the vinegar inside the reservoir.
At this point, the residual vinegary smell and taste of the water coming out of the contraption should have dissipated. If so, the fridge water dispenser’s interior is already clean and safe for regular use.
If your fridge has an ice maker, clean it with the same vinegar-oriented method.
Tidy Up the Nozzle or Spout
Your fridge water dispenser is free of potentially harmful dirt, organisms, and substances. Get set to clean the device’s nozzle or water spout. Dip a clean toothbrush in vinegar and scrub away at the tubing with it.
Apply the same cleaning process to the nozzle’s sides from top to bottom. Additionally, clean the dispenser’s every nook and cranny.
Put the Water System Back on
Now your fridge water dispenser’s internal system is spic and span again. The device’s nozzle or spouts should also be clean. As such, you can get its water system up and running. Do so by reconnecting the tubing and turning the valve back on.
You should thoroughly clean out any impurities and residual vinegar remaining in the system. Fill a cup with running water from the dispenser to check on any debris in the water. Run additional water from the dispenser into the rinsed cup until the water is clear.
Clean the Fridge Water Dispenser’s Outside Area
Don’t neglect to clean the exterior spaces and parts next to the fridge water dispenser after cleaning it. Make sure that this area is clean and free of dirt and substances that might contaminate the dispenser’s inside part.
Use a damp cloth or a clean rag partly soaked with vinegar or a paper towel to wipe the surface. With a spray bottle, make the dispenser all wet with the vinegar. Then with a clean cloth, wipe off the vinegar with gentle strokes.
Repeat the process with a clean, water-soaked cloth. Use your spray bottle containing half-parts vinegar and water on spots that have mold and calcium.
Clean the tray
If a detachable tray comes with your dispenser, remove and clean it with soap and water in the sink. Clean its edges with a sponge.
Soak the tray with a vinegar and water mixture to loosen the grime remaining in the tray’s corners. Scrape the grime away with either a light-bristled brush or a water-soaked sponge.
Make a Habit of Cleaning Your Fridge Water Dispenser
You want your fridge water dispenser to stay clean and dirt-free. Though you may have thoroughly cleaned it with the preceding procedure, it doesn’t mean its dirt problem won’t reoccur.
To maintain your dispenser’s optimal function and safety, clean it again with the same process at least once every six months.
Clean the water nozzle or spout with a vinegar-dipped toothbrush once a month. Remember not to slack off on taking good care of your prized dispenser.
Knowing how to clean your fridge water dispenser restores its function to help you stay hydrated at home.
Pay attention to its water filter to make the most of your dispenser’s functionality. This part could degrade over time and accumulate impurities, thus slowing the water flow. Consider replacing the filter with a new one to ensure that your filtered water tastes and smells good.