How to Clean a Fridge Drain

Updated February 21, 2017

Drain pans under refrigerators are there to collect water from most self-defrosting freezers. The water drains down a tube or hose from the freezer into the drain pan under the refrigerator. Usually the water evaporates, but the pan also collects dust, food particles and other contaminants that produce odours and breed bacteria. Cleaning the drain pan once or twice a year should keep odours and bacteria from occurring.

Unplug the refrigerator to avoid any accidental spillage from the drain pan that could result in an electrical shock.

Remove the grill on the bottom of the refrigerator. The grill snaps out of place. Look at your refrigerator's manual if you cannot locate the grill or drain pan.

Pull the drain pan slowly up and out from under the refrigerator, using caution not to spill any water that has accumulated in the pan.

Dump any water from the pan into the sink. Wear rubber gloves to avoid dirt or bacteria from getting on your hands.

Clean the pan with warm water and dish detergent. You may also use pour baking soda on the pan and scrub with a sponge or clean rag.

Dry the drain pan with a clean cloth. Replace the drain pan the same way you took it out. Be sure the right end goes in first.

Snap the grill back in place and plug in the refrigerator.


Read the refrigerator manual before removing the drain pan. The manufacturer may have certain instructions you need to follow to access and clean the drain pan. If you hear a rattling noise after replacing the drain pan, take the pan back out and reposition it until the noise stops.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Warm water
  • Dish detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Clean rag
  • Clean cloth
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.