An open refrigerator

Why is my refrigerator light not working?

Having a functioning fridge light is key to easily finding and grabbing items from your refrigerator, especially in the dark. If your fridge light isn’t working, it could be a problem with the bulb, or may indicate another issue.

The convenience of a refrigerator light is something most people take for granted until it stops working. If you’ve found yourself staring into a dark refrigerator, use this helpful guide to help you figure out why your fridge light went out.

Various food items on the shelves and in the bins of a refrigerator Various food items on the shelves and in the bins of a refrigerator

Is my fridge broken or just the light?

Troubleshooting a refrigerator light can help you determine whether the problem is related just to the bulb or a different issue with the refrigerator.

Many times a fridge light will go off automatically if the door is open for a long time, so this may be the cause of your non-working light. However, if the fridge isn’t cooling properly, this could indicate that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Juices in a fridge Juices in a fridge

Ideas on how to fix a refrigerator light 

If your fridge light is not turning on, you can take a few steps to try and address the issue. These include checking the door switch to see if it’s activating when the door is opened, tightening the light bulb and replacing it with a new one. For more complicated issues related to things like wiring or the light bulb socket, you may have to call in an expert for repair work.

  • New light bulb (if necessary)

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Step 1: Make sure the fridge is plugged in properly

Start by checking that your fridge is plugged in correctly and the power cord is tightly connected.

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Step 2: Tighten the light bulb

Ensure that the fridge light bulb is properly installed in the socket by making sure it is screwed in tight. If the bulb is broken or burnt out, make sure to find a compatible replacement: look for a bulb of the same size, shape and wattage as indicated in your owner’s manual.


Different models may require different appliance bulbs, so always refer to your manual for specific part numbers to ensure a good fit.

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Step 3: Check the fridge door switch

If the light bulb in your fridge is working, the issue may be with the door switch. The door switch is usually located at the top or bottom of the door opening, depending on your specific model. If your refrigerator isn’t level or the doors aren’t aligned, this could prevent the door switch from flipping on and off when you open or close the door.

Additionally, if your fridge door has been left open for a long time, the light may have automatically turned off.

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Step 4: Check the fridge wiring

Check the wiring plug connection. Unplug the refrigerator and check the top hinge cover for any exposed wires or other issues with the wiring. Consult your installation instructions or owner’s manual for directions on removing the hinge cover and wiring plug. It’s also advisable to contact a certified electrician or appliance repair person when dealing with electrical issues.

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Step 5: Check the fridge light socket

Another cause of an inactive fridge light could be damage to the light socket itself. Signs of this would include wires that are no longer secure, discoloration or a cracked socket. Contact a repair expert if you suspect that your light socket has been damaged.

Do I need a special light bulb for my fridge?

The light bulbs used in refrigerators are designed to handle cold temperatures, so even though an ordinary bulb may fit into the socket, it’s important to use an appliance bulb that can withstand the conditions and temperatures typically found inside refrigerators.

Explore Whirlpool® refrigerators

Whirlpool® fridges can help you store more of your family’s favorites with purposeful storage spaces on side-by-side models and flexible storage with top- and bottom-freezer models. Browse the full collection of refrigerators by Whirlpool brand to discover the one that’s right for your home.

Find more refrigerator troubleshooting guides from Whirlpool brand

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