Ice machines and ice makers are machines that make ice faster. Some people use ice trays to make ice, but this method only produces small amounts of ice. Some industrial ice machines are used in restaurants, but there are compact models for home use or for summer barbecues.
Ice blocks used for beverages must be clean to avoid ingestion of contaminants. Do you own an ice machine? Want to know how to clean your ice machine? That’s what you’ll find out in this short guide. It explains the causes of ice machine fouling and the ice machine cleaning procedures you can follow to prevent wear and tear and ensure maintenance.
So it is important to keep your ice machine clean to prevent it from producing dirty ice. To learn more, please read on.
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How to Clean Ice Maker with Vinegar | Ultimate Guide 2023
Types of machine.
Commercial ice machines
Stop the ice machine and empty all the ice into the bin. Spray the inside of the ice machine with a vinegar mixture; after 5 minutes, spray the inside of the ice machine completely. Let stand for another 5 minutes. If the ice maker has a wash cycle, set it to 5 minutes. If the machine does not have a wash cycle, fill another spray bottle with water and spray the inside. Turn on the ice machine and throw away the first two or three trays of ice cubes, and the machine is ready to use.
Portable Ice Machines
Turn off the ice machine and remove the ice tray. Remove the drain plug located in the lower left corner of the exterior of the ice machine and drain all water. Spray all parts of the ice maker, including the ice making sticks, with a vinegar mixture. Wipe all internal parts with a clean, dry cloth and spray with water several times.
Replace the ice maker, screw in the drain plug and fill it with the required amount of water. Turn on the ice machine and discard the ice from the first two trays. Turn the ice machine off again and drain the water. Replace the drain plug, refill the ice maker with water and turn the ice maker on. Portable ice machines with automatic cleaning features also benefit from occasional manual cleaning.
Refrigerator Ice Machines
Pull the ice maker’s stem toward the inside of the refrigerator until it no longer lifts. This will turn the ice maker off. Discard the ice from the bin and replace the bin. Gently pour a cup of hot water into the ice maker to melt the ice in the bin. Repeat, if necessary, until the ice in the tray is completely melted. Remove all water from the ice tray with a clean, dry cloth. Spray the ice maker with a vinegar mixture and leave for 5 minutes, then rinse the ice tray with warm water. Pull the stem arm and turn the ice machine back on. Discard the first two ice trays.
Causes of Dirt in Ice Machines
There are several factors that can cause the inside of an ice machine to become dirty. One of the most common causes of ice machine fouling is the mold and sludge that forms when moisture and food mix. Although the machine itself is wet, sometimes oil or sugar particles from cooking get into the machine and cause mold to form.
Fortunately, mold is easy to identify because it appears as dark black or green spots. If you notice dark particles in your ice, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to clean it.
Other causes of clogged ice machines include pest infestation. Cockroaches and ants are always looking for sources of water and may enter the ice machine to find liquid to drink.
Airborne dust and dirt particles can get inside ice machines, especially when used outdoors. Therefore, the ice machine should be cleaned after each use.
Precautions before use
Before we explain how to clean the ice machine, there are some safety precautions that should be followed first. Whether you are using a residential or commercial ice machine, please follow these steps
- Make sure the ice machine is turned off before you begin cleaning.
- Always wear gloves when removing ice from the ice machine.
- Do not place the ice bin on the floor.
- Always use a clean cloth and sponge to maintain the ice machine.
- Finally, safety glasses should be worn when removing the ice from the machine, as ice chips can break off and hit sensitive parts of the face. Always wear safety glasses because ice is sharp and can cut the eyes.
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How to clean a dirty commercial ice machine. Step by step
It is possible, but not always necessary, to buy chemicals to clean ice machines. Instead, you can clean it by mixing vinegar and water. There is no secret recipe for this, but you may hear some dispersions of 1 part vinegar, 10 parts water.
Step 1: Remove the ice from the ice machine
The first step in the ice machine cleaning procedure should be to remove the ice. The removed ice can be stored in a freezer or cooler. It is important to perform this step as you do not want contaminated ice to reach your customers or in your drinks. Remove the ice from the ice machine.
Consider using a container with a plastic lid to store the ice. Hygienic plastic bags can also be used to store the ice. If you plan the cleanup, you may be able to avoid wasting ice if you do it at the end of your shift or at night, when the ice is already low.
Step 2: Set up the ice machine cleaning
Some ice machines can be set to a cleaning mode. If yours has this mode, be sure to do so. Next, add the vinegar and water mixture to the ice machine and let it run normally. The vinegar and water will drain out through a line that will clean the water path.
Step 3: Remove the ice produced
Any ice produced during this process will also need to be removed. You don’t want to give someone ice that tastes or smells like vinegar. This spoils drinks and can be a costly mistake.
Step 4: Clean the inside of the ice machine
You should take this opportunity to clean the inside of the ice machine or tank. The constant moisture here can lead to all sorts of health problems like mold. Be sure to scrub the inside and around all rims to eliminate any potential problems.
Step 5: Rinse the machine
Run the machine for a while and make sure it flushes out all the ice it produces. You don’t want stray ice cubes that taste like vinegar to end up in drinks. Also, this gives anything that is malfunctioning a chance to come out that didn’t during the main cleaning phase.
Once this cleaning is complete, be sure to dry the inside of the tank. Do this with a towel. If there are any loose mineral deposits, you will also remove them with a shovel. Removing the excess water will help prevent the ice from hardening.
Step 6: The finishing touches
So you’ve cleaned the interior and rinsed it with vinegar and water. This means that the primary cleaning is now complete. The area around the ice machine also needs to be cleaned. It may be wet or slimy after cleaning.
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Clean your refrigerator ice maker
In most cases, cleaning your freezer’s ice maker consists primarily of cleaning the trays. There are a few other problem areas that you’ll want to check at the same time, but the trays are by far the place where most dirt accumulates.
First, turn off the ice machine. Either unplug the refrigerator or flip the switch or lever that prevents the ice maker from making ice. Simply flip it to turn off the ice maker and it should not spit out ice while you are handling it.
Next, remove the tray. Depending on your freezer, you may need to slide or pull it out a certain way, as well as its position (bottom, top, or side of the refrigerator). The trays are usually filled with ice, which should be discarded.
If the ice is stuck to the sides, hot water will quickly loosen it from the sides. Throw the tray away again.
From here, begin to gently scrub the inside of the tray with soap and water. Most ice cube trays are plastic, so don’t use anything too rough (no steel wool here). Scratches on the inside of the tray encourage bacteria buildup and make it harder to clean in the future.
If you have stubborn stains or residue, you can use a mixture of water, vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda. At this point, don’t use astringent chemicals like bleach if you can. If you do use them, rinse them off very thoroughly so that there is no residue.
After cleaning, let it dry naturally. Let the liquid remaining inside evaporate.
Return to the freezer and locate the metal coil that cools the ice tray. Take a damp washcloth with a little vinegar and a solution of baking soda or soapy water and scrub vigorously until all hard water sediment and similar residue is removed from the coil.
To prevent this water from freezing directly on the coil, rinse and then dry thoroughly.
Finally, check the filter. Check the type of filter in your freezer and replace it, as it usually needs to be changed every six months.
This completes the process.
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How to Clean Ice Maker with Vinegar | Infographics
How to Clean Ice Maker with Vinegar | Video Explanation
Can bacteria grow on ice machines?
All ice machines can become incredibly dirty over time. This is because they are an ideal place for bacteria and mold to grow. Bacteria and viruses can live in sub-zero temperatures and can be transferred to the ice.
The best way to avoid bacteria and mold in portable ice machines is to keep them clean.
Cleaning the ice machine at least once a month (more if possible) will ensure that the ice is always fresh and tasty and that the portable ice machine is working properly.
How often should I clean my portable ice maker?
Portable ice makers should be cleaned every three to six months. You should also clean your portable ice maker if you notice any of the following warnings
- The ice has a funny smell.
- The ice has an unusual smell.
- Dirt is visible on the inside of the ice maker.
- Ice is smaller than normal or melts faster.
- Ice is cloudy (if you have an ice machine that produces clear ice).
- The ice machine is not working properly (troubleshooting the ice machine).
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Can vinegar be used to clean portable ice machines?
Vinegar is a great natural cleaning solution for portable ice machines. Not only is it natural, but it also dissolves lime scale and hard water, which can cause ice machine malfunctions. Simply add 2 cups of white vinegar to 1 cup of water in the ice machine or spray bottle. Vinegar can kill 82% of mold species, including black mold on porous and non-porous surfaces.
The problem with using vinegar for cleaning is that it takes longer than other cleaning solutions. If you are determined to use natural solutions, vinegar will do the trick. If your ice machine is very dirty and needs more maintenance, the above solution will do the trick.
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Ice machines are ideal for restaurants that want to make iced lattes and milkshakes. If you need to make large quantities of cold drinks, you’ll need a large ice machine to produce a lot of ice.
However, if you get a countertop ice maker, you’ll also be able to enjoy the taste of iced drinks. Similarly, if you’re going to a friend’s barbecue or an outdoor event, get a portable ice maker. No matter what ice machine you use, it’s important to keep it clean to prevent dangerous bacteria and mold from growing inside the machine. Dirty ice machines can cause serious illnesses like salmonella.
We hope that today’s guide on how to clean an ice machine has helped you, providing you with a quick solution for maintaining your machine. This way, your ice machine will give you optimal results, even during the hot summer months.
Hi, I’m Jennifer Lawrence, Went to Calhoun High School (Georgia) my goal is to make the kitchen fun by providing a mathematical and logical component to our approach to cooking good food. I look not only at delicious recipes but also at kitchen tools and gadgets to give you the tips and tricks we hope you will find useful. Read More Here