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How to Clean the Refrigerator Defrost Drain Tube

Plastic tubing on a white background

Ever wonder where the water goes. Some fridges are frost-free and make sure there is no ice build-up inside the different compartments. Have you ever wondered where that water goes? It is not an obvious path that can easily be seen.

The defrost drain tube is the path that whisks away the water as it melts making sure you do not have a watery mess to clean. Unfortunately, those tubes get clogged, and you do end up with a watery mess to clean up when it does.

To learn how to unclog those drain tubes, just continue to read our article. it has the information you want to know about in order to avoid those extra messes you have to clean.

Tools Needed for This Task

Plumbers snake on a white background

One piece of good news is that you do not need to drag the toolbox from the workshop to your kitchen. Just a few tools are needed to get the drain unclogged. You will need the following items:

  • Clean Rag or Cloth
  • Warm Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Basting Syringe
  • Small Plumber’s Snake

Steps to Clean the Refrigerator Defrost Drain Tube

Closeup of a man if overalls moving a fridge

Step 1 – Like many fridge repairs, you will have to move the appliance out from its spot in the kitchen so you will have room to work.

Step 2 – Also, it is a wise idea to unplug the fridge to make sure you do not get an electrical shock.

Step 3 – Use your owner’s manual to locate the drain hole. You do not have to disconnect the drain tube to clear it of the clog. Usually, you will find the drain hole at the bottom of the fridge.

Step 4 – Once you have found the drain hole, insert the plumber’s snake into the opening. These snakes come in all sizes and you will need a small one for the drain hole. Or you can use a metal hanger if you are careful, and it is long enough to reach the clog.

Make sure to push the snake or hanger up and down several times to make sure you got all the debris

Step 5 – After you have taken the snake out, follow it up by pouring some baking soda down the tube. Then use the basting syringe to put about 2 cups of warm water into the hole.

Step 6 – Once that is done, remove the pan from your fridge by taking the front grill off. Then empty the pan down a sink, bathtub, or toilet before putting it back in place. Don’t forget to clean the pan with warm water and wipe it down with a cloth.

If there is any mold or mildew in the pan, then you should use some vinegar or bleach to kill those germs.

Turn the fridge back on and move the appliance back into position and you are done.

Cleaning Tips

  1. To avoid having to do this chore again, clean the drain tube every 2 or 3 months to make sure nothing builds up inside.
  2. If the debris clogging the tube is ice, you can use your hairdryer, set on low heat, to melt the ice and free up the tube. The trick is to not overheat the tube.
  3. Different fridge makers place the drain tube in different locations. That is why you will need your owner’s manual to find where it is in your appliance.

Signs the Drain Tube is Clogged

Floor-up view of a puddle on the kitchen floor leading to fridge.

There is actually only one sign that will tell you that you have a problem with the drain tube. When you see puddles of water forming inside your fridge, usually underneath the fruit and vegetable crispers, then you know the drain tube is clogged.

Sometimes, you will see water gathering in the pan just beneath the freezer section or you may see ice forming on the inside bottom of the freezer. Any of these signs means you need to act quickly.

Why Did the Drain Tube Become Clogged

There are many answers to that question. Sometimes bits and pieces of ice get small enough to travel partway down the tube and then get stuck. Soon, more ice pieces follow, and you have a tough clog to deal with.

Or food particles found their way into the drain tube and like the ice, found a spot they cannot get past. Over time those particles add up eventually clogging the tube. Water can’t get past those blockages, so it looks for another way out. That escape route is usually inside your fridge.

Some Final Words

Open refrigerator full of food, against a red wall

Most fridge issues do not take a lot of time to solve. The key in most of these types of repairs is to make sure your fridge is turned off so you do not get a shock if water touches something it shouldn’t.

Do some regular cleaning so you do not have to worry about this problem.

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