How To Clean Pan Under Refrigerator

Date Published: June 11, 2021
Author: Kylee Smith

Cleaning the drip pan under your refrigerator is simple and only requires a few steps. Instructions vary slightly, depending on whether the drip pan is in the front or back of your refrigerator, and whether it can be removed. This short how-to guide is designed to help you clean your drip pan easily.

This maintenance task should be done every three months to prevent mold and mildew as well as any unwanted odors.

Gather Cleaning Supplies

Locate the drip pan for your refrigerator. If it is in front, you are set to gather your cleaning supplies and get started. If the drip pan is behind your refrigerator, you need to disconnect both the water and power supply in order to remove the back panel for access.

Screwdriver Or Hex Wrench?

Back panels on refrigerators are held in place by either screws or hex bolts. Check to ensure you have the proper tool and attachment so that you are easily able to remove these screws or hex bolts.

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Spray Bottle

An empty spray bottle is used to hold the bleach and water cleaning solution used to clean the drip pan. It is always good to have at least one or two empty spray bottles around the house to use for cleaning projects like this one.

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Bleach is your best friend when you are cleaning. You are going to be making a bleach and water cleaning solution for the drip pan. The bleach is going to kill any mold and mildew and is the cleaning agent for this type of project.

Pro Tip: White vinegar can be substituted for bleach. While bleach is the first choice, it can alter the color of the drip pan.

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Cleaning Cloths

Grab a couple of cleaning cloths that you have lying around. Remember that you are working with bleach. It is always good to have some cleaning cloths or rags that you have earmarked specifically for this purpose. One cloth is going to be used with the cleaning solution, and the other one is going to be used for drying purposes.

Pro Tip: Instead of using a second cleaning cloth for drying, you can also allow the drip pan to air dry for about 30 minutes.

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A grabber is only necessary if you are not able to remove the pan under your refrigerator. It will be used to push a wet wipe around to clean the inside of the drip pan.

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Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are also only necessary if you are not able to remove the pan under your refrigerator. A wet wipe is thinner and easier to push around using a grabber. Using wet wipes in that scenario helps ensure that you do not mess up the inner components of your refrigerator.

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Cleaning The Drip Pan Under Your Refrigerator

It is certainly possible that you encounter mold and mildew deposits when you remove the drip pan, especially if it has been quite some time since it has been cleaned. Knowing how to remove the pan under your refrigerator and clean it properly is key to keeping your kitchen in tip-top shape. Thankfully, cleaning the drip pan under your refrigerator is easy if you follow these six simple steps.

Step One: Remove Drip Pan

If the drip pan is in the back, you must disconnect water and power sources first. After handling the disconnects, use a hex wrench or screwdriver to free the back panel.

If the drip pan is in the front, your first step is to pop that kick panel off. To remove the kick panel, be sure you open the refrigerator door or doors first to gain better access.

Pro Tip: Some drip pans are not able to be removed. You will know right away if the drip pan for your refrigerator is removable. If you are not able to remove the pan it should still be cleaned using the following instructions.

Step Two: Empty Drip Pan

Drip pans hold defrosted ice, which of course by now is stagnant water. After removing the pan, you want to pour that dirty water down the drain. Alternatively, you can use a shop vac to remove the water from the drip pan.

If the drip pan is not removable, you need the grabber and wet wipes. If you do not have a grabber, a wire hanger can be used. A grabber helps prevent damage to the internal components of your refrigerator.

Step Three: Spray Drip Pan Using Bleach & Water Solution

The recipe for the bleach and water solution is quite simple: One part bleach and two parts water. After mixing the bleach and water solution in an empty spray bottle, spray the drip pan thoroughly and allow the solution to set for a few minutes.

Pro Tip: Spray extra cleaner on spots with mold or mildew buildup.

For a non-removable drip pan, pour some of the cleaning solution into the pan. You are going to leave this bleach cleaning solution in the non-removable pan, preventing mold until the next cleaning.

Pro Tip: Pick an essential oil with a nice scent and add a couple of drops to the drip pan. You would then skip to reattaching or reinstalling the back panel of your fridge.

Step Four: Clean Drip Pan Using Cleaning Cloth

Wipe the drip pan, working your way from one side to the other, being careful not to spread any mold. Apply enough pressure to eliminate any residue buildup.

Pro Tip: Paper towels are a substitute for cleaning cloths in this situation if you prefer not to get any mold or mildew on your rags.

Step Five: Rinse & Dry Drip Pan

Rinse your drip pan in the sink using warm water. Using the other cleaning cloth, dry the drip pan thoroughly.

Pro Tip: You can also air-dry the drip pan for 30 minutes. Make sure the pan is thoroughly dry to help reduce the risk of mold and mildew forming.

Step Six: Reinstall the Drip Pan

The drip pan must be dry to the touch before it is reinstalled. After reinstalling the drip pan, put the kick panel or back panel back in place, and you are done.

Final Thoughts

Removing and cleaning the drip pan for your refrigerator is simple. Once you have completed this chore, you can mark it off your to-do list for another three months. Ideally, you might also consider pairing this task with deep cleaning your freezer and fridge.  

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