If you own an ice maker, you enjoy having as much cold, crystal-clear ice as you want, when you want it. And like any other appliance, you want your ice machine to operate as efficiently as possible. This means giving it a thorough cleaning when necessary. But how often should an ice machine be cleaned? And how can you tell when an ice machine needs cleaning?
There are several signs that it’s time to clean your ice maker.
- Dirt is visible in the ice
- The ice has an unpleasant taste or odor
- The ice cubes come out smaller and less cold
- Cubes come out cloudy
- You can see dirt inside the machine
Keep in mind that every ice machine is different. Some machines have an alert function to let you know it needs cleaning—like the Scotsman SCN60PA1SS 15-inch outdoor ice maker with 80 lbs. of daily ice production and 26 lbs. of ice storage. It’s got water sensors to detect hard water conditions, purges mineral laden water with every harvest cycle, which helps extend the time between cleaning, and a self-closing door.
Some have an auto defrost feature to make cleaning easier, like the Summit BIM44GADA Commercial Series 15-inch freestanding and built-in ice maker with 50 lbs. of daily ice production and 25 lbs. of. ice storage. It features an internal pump allowing for flexible installation, an insulated storage bin, and is Energy Star rated and ADA compliant.
Some even have a convenient self-cleaning feature, such as the Whirlpool WUI75X15HZ 15-inch ice maker with 25 lbs. of ice storage featuring a Fast Ice mode for larger ice needs, a door alarm, LED interior lighting, and smudge and fingerprint resistant stainless steel casing.
Before you begin, the first thing you want is to do consult your owner’s manual for your particular ice machine and follow any specific cleaning instructions. But here are some general guidelines to help you clean your machine as easily as possible…
- Gather everything that you will need to clean your ice maker. In most cases, all you will need is some nickel-free ice machine cleaner and a soft rag for wiping. Even if your machine has an automatic cleaning system, the owner’s manual can suggest some ice machine cleaner for it. A nickel-free cleaner tends to work well for most ice makers. Two recommended cleaners are made by Scotsman and PurTru, both available on Amazon.
- Dispose of any ice in the machine prior to cleaning.
- Clean the machine’s water system, following the instructions laid out in your instruction manual.
- Remove and inspect the air filters.
- Check the water filtration system, observing if the water pressure drops due to any restrictions.
- Visually inspect the machine’s components, including the evaporator, cube sizing controls, water sensors, thermistors, water distributor parts, water hoses and water sump or reservoir.
- It is important that you sanitize the machine after cleaning, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to clean and sanitize the storage bin or dispenser as well.
- Upon completion, it’s recommended that you observe two ice-making cycles, and check the freeze and harvest cycle times. Make sure you throw out the first batch of ice made after cleaning.
And those are the basics of ice machine cleaning from Appliances Connection. But perhaps you, the consumer, have something to add? Do you have experience cleaning an ice machine? What techniques or products would you personally recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.