Why You Should Pull Your Fridge Away From the Wall


Tonight we want you to do something new. Go home, tug on your fridge, and scootch it away from the wall. That’s right. This little exercise in fridge-tugging and a 5-minute task are going to help your fridge run better and maybe even save you money. Here’s why.

The Fridge Needs Love, Too!

The fridge may be the hardest working appliance in the kitchen, which is crazy when you think how little attention we pay it. Yes, we clean it out every once in a while, but I’m talking about the mechanics of the thing. I rarely think about that part — how about you?

But the inner workings of a fridge need a little TLC to keep the thing in tip-top shape, and thankfully, the most important thing you can do takes only 5 minutes: clean the condenser coils.

Why You Should Clean the Condenser Coils

Every refrigerator has a condenser, the unit that releases heat through those squiggly-looking condenser coils located at the back of the fridge or across the bottom front (behind a grille). Over time these coils can accumulate dust, dirt, and grime, which causes the compressor to have to double its energy usage to keep up the work. Not only is this inefficient, but it’s unsustainable: eventually that fridge is going to break down!

Think of it this way: imagine trying to run a marathon, and someone keeps piling layer upon layer of clothes on you. Eventually you’d be so weighed down you’d have to stop, and that’s how your fridge feels, too.

How to Clean the Condenser Coils

The solution is to clean those coils a few times a year, and it’s very easy to do. Just pull out your refrigerator (most are on wheels so you should be able to gently nudge it towards you). Then vacuum the coils with a long, thin vacuum tool. You can also buy a special coil cleaning brush to really get into the crevices.

If your condenser is along the bottom of the fridge, just pop or unscrew the grille you see there and clean as directed above. Easy!

Have you ever cleaned your refrigerator coils? Did you notice a difference in its performance afterwards?

More from The Kitchn:

Why You Shouldn’t Take Your Pan off the Stove Until it’s Clean

10 Ways to Clean your Kitchen Less and Enjoy it More

Cleaning Tip: Vacuum your Stovetop and Fridge

What NOT to Put in the Dishwasher