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How To Clean Your Ice Maker

July 26th, 2019 | 4 min. read

By Guest Author



Editor's Note: Ice makers have one of the highest rates of repair for appliances. It's over 50% in the first year. Many of these issues can be mitigated with simple cleaning. Here's how:

The ice maker is one of the many home appliances taken for granted, especially for cleaning and maintenance.

Once you regularly schedule the cleaning process, you won't have to worry about issues.

Similar to other appliances, your ice maker requires frequent cleaning and maintenance for longer life.

In this article, you will learn how and why you should clean your ice maker with a step-by-step cleaning process.

Can Bacteria Thrive In Ice Cubes?

Contrary to the popular notion, many bacteria may live in ice. Just because ice is too cold doesn't mean germs won't survive. This presence of harmful bacteria is the reason why regular cleaning of an ice maker is crucial.

When Is It Time To Clean Your Ice Maker?

Besides adhering to a routine, be conversant with the signs to clean your ice maker. Some of these signs include:

  • When your ice has a funny taste.
  • When your ice has an unusual or strange odor.
  • When you can visually see dirt around the inside and on the walls of the machine.
  • When the ice produced is smaller than usual or tends to melt faster than it usually does.
  • When your ice appears cloudy (if your ice maker produces clear ice).

Once you see any of these signs, you focus on getting the mess cleared, and we will show you the seven steps you should follow in cleaning your ice maker.

The Importance Of Cleaning An Ice Maker Machine

1. Quality Of Ice Cubes

The growth of bacteria in an ice maker could drastically reduce the quality of your drinks. Besides poor taste, the odor from stale ice cubes could be a turn off to many. This is often the case for home ice makers.

2. Hard Water Complications

If you reside in an area that often experiences hard water, buildups of calcium or limescale could be a huge problem. With time, these buildups will form a solid crust preventing your ice maker parts from moving.

3. Protection From Corrosion

Without proper cleaning, ice maker components fabricated from thin metal could become corroded.

With an appropriate routine of cleaning, however, you will quickly help extend the life of your ice maker's parts and components.

How To Clean Your Ice Maker

SubZero Ice Maker at Yale Appliance

1. Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Gathering everything you might need to clean an ice maker is the first step in the entire cleaning process.

Although you will often only need a nickel-free ice maker cleaner and a piece of soft rag, you might also need some warm water and lemon juice or white vinegar.

If your ice maker has some stubborn spots, you can boost your cleaning power with some baking soda, a soft toothbrush, and a sponge or dry rag.

2. Get Your Machine Ready For Cleaning

Once you have all your cleaning supplies, you should get your appliance ready for a wash. In this case, you need to unplug your appliance from the power outlet.

Besides, unplugging your unit means that you can relocate it closer to the sink to drain the water.

Draining out the remaining water is also a vital preparation task to undertake. Most icemakers typically have a small plug at the bottom so be sure to position your machine in a manner for the water to drain.

Once that it did, you should proceed to remove all interior parts from the storage bin.

3. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

An excellent cleaning solution for your ice maker is one that cuts through the scale buildup while mildly disinfecting the ice bin simultaneously, so food-safe ingredients are essential.

Luckily for you, making a cleaning solution is as easy mixing white vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:10, i.e., 1 part of white vinegar to ten parts of warm water.

If you don't like white vinegar, you could swap it with lemon which works just as great.

4. Clean Your Accessories And Interior

Dip the sponge or soft cloth into your cleaning solution and run it over all the parts from the ice maker. Alternatively, you could use a spray can to mist them. Wipe all components thoroughly, ensuring that you buff away any scale buildup or rough spots.

5. Prep The Machine For Ice Making

After thoroughly rinsing your appliance, replace the water filter, and put the drain plug back on your machine. Now, plug in your appliance and check its on/off switch to ensure it's ready for the test run.

6. Prepare A Round Of Wash Ice And Rinse Ice

To ensure all parts of your machine are sanitized, it's best to prepare a round of ice with the remaining cleaning solution. Pour the remaining cleaning solution into your reservoir and turn on your appliance.

Let the icemaker process the liquid until there's an empty reservoir and the ice bin is filled with sour ice which you'll throw away. Now, you can run some fresh water through the machine to rinse.

7. Return Accessories And Dry

Now that your machine is thoroughly rinsed, you're ready to return all accessories and fire it up. Use paper towels or a dry rag to wipe away unsightly water spot on the accessories and inside the ice maker.

Drying lessens the chance of mildew, caused by standing water.

How To Maintain Your Ice Maker And Keep It Clean

While it's essential to learn how to clean your ice maker properly, there are a three tricks to keep it maintenance-free longer.

  1. Turn off the ice maker machine at night, especially if you won't need ice early in the morning. Most of the dirt in your ice maker comes from the unnecessary ice maker work.
  2. Although an ice maker cycles the water back and forth, don't let it cycle the same water more than once.
  3. Clean the ice tray frequently since most of the dirt comes from the ice storage rather than the ice itself.

Cleaning your icemaker is a crucial yet relatively easy task. Once you keep your ice maker clean, you will enjoy crystal-clear ice cubes, a fresh aroma, and great-tasting ice cubes.

Additional Resources

Get the Yale Undercounter Refrigerator Guide with features, specs and inside tips to all the beverage centers, refrigerators, freezers and ice makers. Over 580,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

Undercounter Refrigerator Buying Guide

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Sharon, our guest author, is the chief-editor of Consumers Base and many other authority websites. She loves to explore new things. She has excellent literal ability and an eye for the finer details in life which makes her content amazing. 

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