How to Clean a Refrigerator Water Filter

People are starting to opt for refrigerators that come with a built-in water filter in an effort to reduce both expenses and plastic waste from disposable water bottles.

Water filters offer water as safe as – if not safer than – mineral water bottles. With the added benefit of reduced long-term costs, it definitely seems like an appealing option. That is until you have to clean your water filter of course.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of cleaning their refrigerator water filters, but the fact is, it’s much simpler than you think it is.

And even if it’s not, this article will take you step-by-step through the cleaning process to make sure that it is as easy as buying the next water bottle.

The process is simple enough to do it yourself; no need to hire a plumber or ask for help from your water-filter suppliers.

Why Do You Have To Clean Your Filter?

A water filter’s job is to remove any pollutants from your drinking water.

To make water safe for drinking, water supplies are chlorinated to get rid of any bacteria or parasites that can make you sick, so tap water ends up containing a percentage of chlorine.

Water filters filtrate the residual chlorine along with any poisonous metals.

As you use your water filter, the efficiency at which it can filtrate all these pollutants out of your drinking water decreases. This is caused by sediments, calcification, and other build-ups that remain in the filter while the water passes through. In other words, your filter can become clogged or in worse cases, it can permeate some of the pollutants it’s meant to filter.

When you clean your filter, you restore it to a close-to-new condition so that it can perform efficiently and keep your water safe and crisp.

How Often Should You Clean Your Fridge’s Water Filter?

Oftentimes, it is advised to change your water filters every 6 months or so, depending on their usage. So as a general rule, you should check your water filters every 3 months for cleaning, maintenance, or changing.

You can usually clean your filter every 6 months to prolong its life. That is if no significant damage has occurred to the filter or any of its parts. After all, you want your water to be healthy, and compromising health for a few more months of usage for your filter would not be the smartest thing. If the filter is in good condition however, you can clean it and place it back in the fridge for another 3 months before your next check.

Now that we’ve got this out of the way, in order to clean your filter, you have to familiarize yourself with its parts. Refrigerator water filters usually have 3 main parts of concern that will need cleaning every so often. Those are the reservoir or canister, the water lines, and the dispenser; which is usually the most important to clean, but also the easiest, so no need to worry.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator’s Water Filter

  1. Unplug your fridge – shocking yourself is not in your or your filter’s favor.
  2. Turn the water valve off completely. This can usually be found right behind your fridge. If you can’t find it, turn the main water supply valve off till you’re done.
  3. Unscrew the filter’s water lines and detach them from both the fridge and the valve. If you have an ice-maker in your fridge, you’ll probably find two water lines. No need to worry about which is which, simply unscrew them both and use this opportunity to clean both lines instead of just the one connected to your water dispenser.
  4. Soak your water lines to remove any sediment stuck inside. To do that, simply mix warm water with a little bit of vinegar or gentle cleanser, place a funnel over one end of the line, close off the other end, and pour your solvent through till the funnel overflows. Secure both ends of the water line and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. While your lines sit for a soak, you can move on to cleaning your reservoir. Reservoirs are usually situated at the base of the fridge, in the grill, or less likely, inside the fridge door. To help you find it faster, you can refer to your manufacturer’s manual.
  6. Once you find the reservoir, remove it from the fridge. This is simple enough once you understand the mechanism in which it’s placed, again using the manual as a reference. Mostly it’s pretty simple; grasp the top securely, twist the reservoir counterclockwise, and shimmy it out of its place.
  7. Firstly, you will need to remove the large sediments inside, simply by tapping the reservoir over a trash can.
  8. Next, soak the reservoir in the same manner that you soaked the water lines. That is, submerge the reservoir in warm water and a little vinegar or gentle cleanser. You can even buy cleansing solvents made especially for cleaning fridges. Soak the reservoir for 10 to 30 minutes.
  9. Back to the water lines. Flush the cleanser out of the lines and run clean water through them the same way you did with the cleansing solvent, however, this time, keep the other end open to flush the water straight out and remove any residual cleanser.
  10. Do the same with the reservoir, run it under clean water to rinse off any residual cleanser. A good indication of when the cleanser is washed off is if the water used to rinse off the parts runs clear; no color and no smell.
  11. Place your reservoir back in its place and reattach the water lines to your fridge and valves
  12. Flushing one last time, turn the water valve on and place a bucket under the filter’s dispenser. Let the water run through the whole system and flush out on the other side into the bucket until the bucket is full.
  13. Lastly, simply wipe the dispenser’s nozzle with a damp cloth to remove any calcification off of the spout.

We hope this step-by-step guide was helpful. Now that your refrigerator water filter is clean, you can relax knowing you won’t have to go through the process for another 6 months or so.

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