dirty fridge

Fridge Is Leaking Brown Liquid – Causes & Solutions

Spotted some brown liquid leaking from your fridge but not sure what caused it? Whether it’s a small drip or a larger pool, we’ve got you covered. 

Read on as we explore three of the most common causes and some simple solutions to help you remedy the problem. 

Cause 1: Food Spillage

soda spill in fridge

The first potential cause is the easiest to identify and fix. If there is brown liquid inside your fridge or dripping down the front of it from the door, you should start by looking for any accidental food spillages. 

Condiments, soups, sauces and brown-tinted drinks like apple juice that have fallen over or not been fully sealed, could be to blame for a discoloured leak.

Similarly, you should check the back of your crisper drawers for any rotting vegetables or salad products that may have been forgotten about. 

These can start to ooze a smelly, brown wet sludge into the bottom of your fridge as they decompose. 

Once you’ve found the culprit, simply remove it and clean the compartment and any other affected areas with warm soapy water. 

Alternatively, you can use an all-purpose antibacterial solution like Method Peach Blossom Cleaner or Flash Ultra Power Spray and a damp cloth. 


Cause 2: Dirty Condensed Water

How to clean the fridge drip tray

If you’ve ruled out a spillage or the liquid seems to be pooling underneath your fridge rather than dripping down from inside it, it may well be coming from your defrost pan. In fact, a blocked drain is one of the most common causes of dirty water leaking from your fridge. 

The drain pan is located at the back of the fridge and is designed to catch water that drains during your fridge or freezer’s defrost cycle. 

However, over time, debris from inside your fridge can build up in the pan. This leaves less space for the water to collect and increases the risk of leaks. It can also leave a greasy residue which impacts the evaporation process. 

The solution to this problem is to locate the drain pan, remove it and clean it out. Regular washing up liquid will help to break down any greasy residue that could be causing it to overflow. 

Before putting it back into the compartment, check the pan for cracks or holes that could be contributing to the leak and replace it if necessary.

If that doesn’t fix the issue, it’s also worth checking the drain tube which leads from the fridge’s interior into the pan. 

This can easily get blocked with food debris over time, leaving the water with nowhere to go. As a result, it will eventually back up and leak into the bottom of your fridge. 

There are several ways to clear the tube, including using a pipe cleaner to dislodge any blockages or a homemade cleaning solution to flush it out. 

Want to know more? Learn all about how to clean a fridge drain in our guide.


Cause 3: Refrigeration Oil Leak

fridge repair

The final reason why you might find brown liquid leaking from your fridge is an oil leak. 

By far the most serious of the three potential causes we’ve listed, a refrigeration oil leak indicates a mechanical issue. This is likely to be a damaged seal in the system that needs replacing. 

You’ll be able to tell whether the liquid is oil by the consistency and colour of the leak. It will be thicker than water and dark brown or almost black due to contact with oxygen in the air. 

If this is the issue, then it needs immediate attention in order to prevent the compressor from burning out. 

The best thing to do in this situation is to unplug your fridge and contact a refrigeration engineer to assess and repair the damage. 

It may also be a good idea to leave the pooling brown liquid in situ so they can confirm it is definitely oil before deciding how to proceed. 

However, be sure to keep children and pets away from the area until the leak has been mopped up as it could be dangerous if ingested. 

After more handy cleaning hacks? From how to rid your fridge of food smells to how to make bicarbonate of soda paste for cleaning, discover more top tips and advice on our blog.