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Refrigerators

These 4 areas of your fridge are probably filthy

Are you overlooking these spots when you clean?

Chris Monroe/CNET

You probably already wipe down the shelves in your fridge, but are you giving it the deep-down clean it needs? 

There are four hidden areas you probably never think about when you're cleaning your refrigerator. Neglecting them could be shortening the life of your appliance, and costing you money.

Condenser coils

Condenser coils release heat from your fridge. They can become enmeshed with dirt, dust and pet hair, making your fridge work harder to keep your food cold.

The condenser coils are typically located on the back of the fridge, on top, or behind the grill at the bottom of the fridge. If you're uncertain, check your owner's manual to locate the coils. 

Dusting coils on back of refrigerator with dust cloth, handshot, close-up

Dusting coils on back of refrigerator with dust cloth.

Russell Sadur/Getty Images

Once you know where they are, unplug the fridge, remove the coil cover (check your manual to see if there is one). Wipe down the coils with a coil brush if the coils are located on the bottom. This brush is specially designed to get the coils clean and get into hard-to-reach places. If the coils are located in the back, you can wipe them down with a cloth.

When you're done, be sure to wipe down the coil cover and vacuum underneath the fridge if you have coils located beneath it. 

Make a note on your calendar to clean the coils again in six months.

Ice maker

Your fridge's ice maker needs to be cleaned around once a month to keep it working properly. It's also handy if you don't want dirty ice. Brian Bennett has a great guide to cleaning and descaling ice makers, here.

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Water filter

The fridge's water filter is there to keep your water clean, but it can't do that if it isn't clean. Check your fridge's manual to see if the in-door water dispenser has a filter. If so, you need probably need to change it once every six months, but consult your manual to be sure. 

Freezer vents

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Remember to keep your freezer vents clear.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Take a look in your freezer. Yep, there are vents in there. These vents are vital to keeping the freezer at the proper temperatures. If they're caked with ice, take action. 

Grab a blow dryer and heat the ice until it melts (be sure not to get the dryer wet). Then, wipe up the water with a sponge. 

From now on, keep an eye on the vents. Don't let them get layered in ice and be sure to prevent food from covering them up.