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Here you will find step by step instructions on how to clean fridge water dispenser on a side by side door unit. And how I plan to remember to clean on a schedule with the Sears PartsDirect water filter subscription program. Follow along as I share detailed steps and a few tricks to getting it squeaky clean.

Clean fridge water dispenser

I love sharing home decor ideas and DIY projects like organizing my kitchen but occasionally I love to share how to keep this house clean. Today I am sharing how to clean fridge water dispenser and ice maker that is on a side by side refrigerator.

How to Clean Fridge Water Dispenser

We are the happy owners of a Sears old refrigerator. I bought this Sears Kenmore side by side over 10 years ago and it has worked like a charm. I have thought about purchasing a new one but why fix something that isn't broke. So if we are keeping this baby then let's keep it clean and in good working order.

Clean fridge water dispenser step by step directions.

Here is a photo of the state my water and ice dispenser is right now. There is mold which actually is behind the clean cup and calcium here and there. Boy, do I need a clean fridge water dispenser! So let's jump right in and start cleaning this water and ice dispenser

Spray the Dispenser with Vinegar and Water

Before you begin, click the lock button on your dispenser. If you do not click this button it will spray water on you and try to dispense ice.

Now using a spray bottle with half and half vinegar and water solution inside and spray all around the unit. Make sure to spray those areas that have mold and calcium real good.

Clean fridge water dispenser with vinegar and water

If your unit has really bad calcium you can use a cleaner that dissolves lime deposits but keeps in mind you will need to rinse it many times with a wet clean rag or paper towels to make sure you get all the chemicals off.

Use a paper towel or rag to wipe up any excess that is dripping down the side of the unit.

Remove Tray

Next, remove the tray. You have to pull hard to remove my tray but some units the tray sits into a hole without clicking in.

Clean fridge water dispenser by removing the tray and washing the tray.

Take the tray to the sink and spray it down with the vinegar and water solution or lime away cleaner.

Clean the Dispenser

Now use a toothbrush and start cleaning the dispenser. Use it in all the tight areas.

Clean fridge water dispenser by cleaning with a toothbrush.

If the calcium is not budging you can use the dull side of a dinner knife to scrape off the calcium. I have more details on how to use the dinner knife in my video.

Remove Other Parts

At first, I thought I cannot get behind this clear cup to clean on the ice dispenser side. This piece can be removed to clean behind it. It clicks in and out but you have to use some strength.

Clean fridge water dispenser by removing parts that are removable and washing them in the sink.

So look at your owner's manual to see if there are any removable parts that you can clean in the sink also. Did you know many owners' manuals are available online? Check to see if yours is available here

Take any parts that can be removed to the sink and spray them down also. Now let's get back to cleaning the unit.

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Rinse the Unit

Next, use a clean damp rag or paper towels and start rinsing the unit. Rinse the rag over and over under clear running water and ring it out and wipe down the unit again.

Keep repeating this process until you feel it is all clean of calcium, mold, and vinegar or lime away.

Wash the Part and Install

Now wash all the remaining parts that are in the sink. If they do not come clean of calcium spray again or use a dinner knife's dull edge to scrape off any build-up.

Clean fridge water dispenser by removing parts that are removable and washing them in the sink.

Dry them off with a paper towel or towel and click them back into place.

Run Water through Water Dispenser

Next, fill a cup of water with the water dispenser. This will remove any vinegar or cleaner that may have gotten up inside of it.

I also show this step in the video. Look at the water once you have filled a cup. If you find any debris or anything in the water pour it out, rinse the cup and run more water through the dispenser into the cup until it is clear.

Replace Water Filter

Once you have a clean fridge water dispenser consider replacing your water filter. I just signed up with the Sears PartsDirect water filter subscription program. I scheduled to get a new filter every 6 months.

I love this subscription program but I know it is not for everyone. You can also purchase a water filter without a subscription. My filter is a genuine Kenmore refrigerator water filter 9085 but they have almost every water filter available.

One nice thing about this subscription program is it is a good reminder to vacuum out the bottom where the grill is located and clean your dispenser.

The subscription program has been around for a while. I shared about it a while back in my How to Clean My Kitchen post but after forgetting to clean my dispenser and replace the filter I finally decided it was time to subscribe.

So I am very excited because now I have a reminder to stay on top of keeping my water dispenser clean and replacing my filter.

Clean fridge water dispenser and replace the water filter.  Keep track of replacing water filter and cleaning with a Sears PartsDirect water filter subscription.

In my refrigerator, my water filter is located on the bottom where the grill is located. All I have to do is twist the button and pull it out. It is that simple! If I needed replacement parts for my appliances, I can check Sears PartsDirect to see if they have the part I need.


Well, there you have my tried and true easy clean fridge water dispenser process. I hope these tips and tricks make it easy for you to keep your dispenser clean. And check out the Sears PartsDirect subscription program for all major refrigerator brands.

When your water filter subscription arrives, let it be a reminder to those things that are not on your weekly list. If you have any tips or tricks on keeping your fridge clean add them to the comments below so we all can learn from each other.

Happy Decorating!


Saturday 1st of January 2022

Hi I just read this a bit late... You can actually un screw the water hose in the back (make sure the water is turned off) and use a dropper to put peroxide or a tiny bit of bleach in the hose. Turn the water back on. And let the hose fill. Then after 30 _45 seconds run 3 Gallons of water through before drinking. This is a good time to change the odor and main fridge filter.

Linda McDonald

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

Good advice! Thank you for sharing!


Wednesday 6th of January 2021

[…] and here are tips on how to clean fridge water dispenser. You will not believe how dirty my system got in the […]


Sunday 25th of October 2020

I have a whirlpool and it does not look dirty but I saw on a show today (Sunday 10-25-2020) fungus/mold/E.coli/bacteria can accumulate in there... I wipe it off every day but do not know about going inside the water unit AREA where the water comes from. I do not have a drain where the water and ice are but I do keep a towel to catch the water that drips every now and then AND WASH IT WEEKLY, because I wipe it constantly...I will probably have to get a chair and flashlight to look up in there because my whirlpool paperwork DOES NOT MENTION A THING ABOUT HOW TO GO IN THERE AND CLEAN IT!!!THEY WERE CLOSED TODAY AS USUAL....lear the hard way as usual..... :-) BE SAFE......

Linda McDonald

Monday 26th of October 2020

I have heard about this too. Because I use my system constantly I haven't worried about it because I figured if the water is running through it constantly then it is keeping it clean. I may do some research to see if there is a way to run vinegar through it and if the vinegar would kill those bacterias. Once I get that information I will add it to this post.


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

It seems we have almost identical refrigerators! I noticed some black that dropped into a glass today, so I started searching for help and found this article. I immediately put some diluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and went to work! It is amazing how much stuff came loose and dripped down. I’d like to get it as clean as I can, and would like to remove the clear cup behind the ice dispenser, but I haven’t figured out how. Any tips for that?. I am not a vinegar user for cleaning, but I think I will be, now. Thanks!

Linda McDonald

Friday 24th of January 2020

This is great! The cup you are talking about was a challenge. I kept having to fidget with it until it finally came out. Did you see my youtube video? It may help more.


Friday 28th of June 2019

My sister has a Sears side by side w/out a water or ice on front. She purchased it in 2015. Last week we discovered a collection of water/ice had formed underneath the bottom drawer in the fridge area. She called Sears for help & they were not at all helpful. Now a man is coming next week & it will be $85. for him to come. That’s before he fixes the problem. Where do you think that water is coming from? I think she hadn’t replaced the filter. But not sure.

Linda McDonald

Friday 28th of June 2019

Sorry to hear about your sisters refrigerator. Whenever I have a problem like this I start searching on YouTube or google to problem. 9 times out of 10 someone has shared about it and shared a solution. I wish I could help you more. Good luck!