How to Unclog a Refrigerator Drain Pipe

freezer filled with food
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-75
What You'll Need
Drain snake
Baking soda
Warm water
Basting syringe
Clean rag
What You'll Need
Drain snake
Baking soda
Warm water
Basting syringe
Clean rag

Refrigerators remove defrosted water to a drain pan under the evaporator coil through a plastic tube. But, when the drain tube or hole becomes clogged, it leaks water into your refrigerator or freezer. Luckily, cleaning the drain pipe takes little time and tools.

Step 1 – Unplugging the Refrigerator

First, turn off the power supply or unplug the refrigerator to avoid electrical shock when completing the following steps.

Step 2 – Locating the Drain Hole

Next, locate the drain hole. Generally, the drain hole is located at the bottom of your fridge. For better access, you can always remove the crisper drawers. If you cannot locate your fridge’s drain hole, check your manual for its location.

Step 3 – Unclogging the Hole

To unclog the hole, insert a plumbing snake into it, or create your own, and push it up and down. Once you’ve done this a few times, you can take the snake out of the hole.

Step 4 – Washing the Drain Hole

To clean the drain hole, pour about 1 teaspoon of baking soda down it, followed by 2 cups of warm water from a basting syringe.

Step 5 – Emptying the Solution From the Pan

Next, take off your fridge’s front grill plate to locate the drain pan, where the drain pipe empties its contents.

Empty the drain pan of the baking soda solution, and clean the pan with warm water and a clean rag. If you see any mold or mildew, you should remove it with a cleaning agent like vinegar. Once it’s clean, you can replace it and the front grill plate. You can now turn the fridge’s electricity back on.

Step 6 – Repeating the Process

To prevent your drain from being clogged again, clean it once every 2-3 months.

Unclog a Refrigerator Drain FAQ

Why does fridge drainage hole get blocked?

Debris, such as hair or little pieces of food, can find its way into drainage pipes and create blockage. Instead of running through the pipe, the water backs up and can overflow back into the fridge.

What does it mean when a defrost drain is clogged?

A clogged defrost drain can cause water to appear under or near the bottom of the refrigerator. You may also notice an excess of ice in or around the freezer compartment.

Can refrigerator water line get clogged?

Many different things can cause refrigerator water lines to get clogged. Hard water mineral deposits, mold, and ice can all cause clogs.

Can frozen pipes cause drain clog?

Ice can completely block a water line or drain line, preventing anything from getting through the pipe. You have to wait for the pipe to unthaw.

How do you tell if a drain is frozen or clogged?

The easiest way to tell if you have a clogged or frozen pipe is to run a snake down the pipe. Plumbers use snakes as their main tool for handling clogs.

Send the snake down the pipe until you feel it hit the blockage. Gently work the snake back and forth to try to loosen that clog and either pull it up or send it down the drain.

Pull the snake back up and examine it. If there is debris on the snake, you have a clog.

If you don't see any debris, you probably have a frozen pipe and not a clog.