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How to Clean a Refrigerator Water Filter in 10 Simple Steps

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

how to clean a refrigerator water filter

Homeowners opt for modern refrigerators with built-in water filters for their incredible convenience every day. These filters reduce microscopic pollutants from your water, which results in clean and fresh drinking water.

However, just like other home appliances, water filters deteriorate over time no matter how cautious you are with their maintenance. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to clean a refrigerator water filter to extend its lifespan and ensure that the filtration system is dirt-free.

The general rule of most refrigerator manufacturers is to check and clean the fridge water filter every three months. Scroll down this article and find out the quickest and most straightforward way to do what seems to be a daunting task for many.

Table of Contents

What Will You Need to Follow this Tutorial


Cleaning a water filter is almost the same as cleaning a refrigerator air filter. Generally, refrigerator water filters consist of 3 main parts: reservoir/canister, dispenser, and water lines.

Whenever I clean a Samsung fridge water filter, I usually prepare these tools and supplies to assist me with cleaning the right parts with care:

1. Cleaning Solution

Rubbing Alcohol – is an all-purpose gentle cleaner that is used primarily on cleaning water filters. It is considered a powerful cleaning agent at home as it can remove many types of stains, marks, and dirt. You could use this with warm water.

I prefer rubbing alcohol for rinsing the filter because of its excellent disinfectant properties, which are essential to wash microbes out of the filter thoroughly. Besides, it dries quickly, and it is the cheapest available option for homeowners like us.

Vinegar – The acetic acid in white vinegar acts as a cleaning solvent that eats away mineral deposits. Therefore, vinegar is an effective solution for cleaning refrigerator water lines with sediment buildup.

2. Bucket

This is one of the cleaning supplies we use every day to contain water and other cleaning solutions for household chores. You will place the bucket under the water dispenser to collect the excess dirt and debris mixed in the water solution when you flush the refrigerator water line.

3. Clean Towel or Cloth

A towel must always be prepared to clean up any water leaks and buildup. You could place a towel on your refrigerator’s shelf to catch any water that may come out while removing the water filter.

4. Adjustable Wrench

Some of you might use pliers, and it’s okay as long as they serve their purpose. Still, I prefer using an adjustable wrench because it is generally used to loosen hexagonal nuts often found in refrigerator water lines.

Moreover, they fit different types of nuts and fittings. They have a broader jaw that makes it easier to control the rotating movements. On the other hand, pliers have blade and side cutters that are more desirable and helpful for cutting and gripping.

5. Screwdriver

This is an essential tool. Without it, you can’t remove all of the screws attached to your refrigerator that provide access to your water lines and water filter reservoir.

6. Funnel and Clamp

You would need a funnel to pour the cleaning solvent inside the water lines leak-free. The clamp will close off the other end to prevent leaks.

Step-by-Step Instructions


The typical life expectancy of a water filter is six months. That’s the maximum time where you’ll notice that the filter is grimy. Therefore, a good gauge is to check the filter every three months and see whether it needs cleaning or replacement.

Follow the ten detailed steps to clean your fridge water filter easily :

Step 1- Unplug the power cord of your fridge. That’s the general rule most of us know — shut down any power source of any electrical appliances to avoid fire accidents. Then switch off the water valve, and make sure that it is completely closed.

You can usually find the water valve behind your refrigerator. If you can’t find it, go to the main shut-off valve basement and turn it off.

Step 2- Grab your screwdriver and disconnect the water lines. Clean the refrigerator water dispenser line and the ice maker line, if you have one. Unscrew them both, and it’s up to you how much cleaning you want to spend on the two lines.

Pro Tip: Place a rag or paper towel to absorb water draining from the water supply tubes. If you have any leaking problems with your current ice maker line, always remember that the standard size for copper tubing and compression fittings is ¼ O.D.

Step 3- Insert the funnel in the entry port of the water lines. Use the clamp to seal off the other end of the line to avoid leakage.

Prepare the cleaner (vinegar and water mixture). Fill the funnel to the brim with this solution. Then clean the refrigerator water line by letting your water lines soak for about 10 minutes.

Pro Tip: Use at least three cups of vinegar with warm water.

Step 4- While waiting for the water lines, remove the reservoir. You can see this behind the crisper drawer or in the hole grill at the bottom of the fridge.

Some older models of reservoirs are located outside on the water supply line behind the refrigerator. The filter is most often a round tube approximately 3-4 inches wide.

If you still don’t see it, you can refer to the user manual as a guide. Once you find the reservoir, grasp the top and twist it counterclockwise to disengage.

Pro Tip: If you misplace the manual, you can look up the model number of your refrigerator online. It will be better than moving the unit out of its place in search of the exact location.

Step 5- Proceed with cleaning the reservoir. Kindly empty the water inside and unclog the fridge water filter. Get rid of the larger debris built up by tapping the reservoir over a trash can or bag.

After that, soak the filter in the same way you did with the water lines. Submerge the filter in vinegar mixed with warm water to eliminate the sediments. But pairing it up with rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant will thoroughly sanitize the filter.

Pro Tip: You can make a cleaning solution of 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water and add a generous amount of rubbing alcohol.

Most refrigerator water filters have activated carbon as a filtration medium. To thoroughly clean this type of filter, I highly recommend letting it sit with the solution for five days to remove all the contaminants altogether.

Step 6- Back to the water lines, and drain the water lines with clean water. Do this similar to how you ran the cleaner through earlier, but keep the other end open to expel the water out and eject residual cleanser.

Step 7- Do the same with the reservoir. Run clean water through it to remove any leftover solutions. If the water used to rinse off the parts comes out colorless and odorless, it’s a good sign that the remaining cleansing solution is wiped out.

Pro Tip: Use at least 8-10 glasses of water.

Step 8- Reattach the reservoir and the water lines to their respective places.

Step 9- Turn on the water valve. Lastly, let the water run from the water dispenser to the bucket until it’s full. Make sure that the water runs through the whole filtration system. Use a damp towel and wipe off the dispenser’s nozzle to remove any calcification.

Step 10- Get the ice maker box and wash it with the same cleanser (warm water and vinegar). Let it dry before putting it back in the fridge. Make sure to dispose of the first batch of the ice made.


Do you like today’s article on How To Clean A Refrigerator Water Filter? We have learned that refrigerator water filters are vital to reduce worrisome compounds in our drinking water every day.

Now that you are equipped with the basic knowledge about a fridge filter, you can inspect it independently. No need to call a plumber either! You just unlocked a new skill. If you have any comments and DIY project suggestions, please share them with me in the comment section.

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