How to clean your ice maker? Chances are that lately you notice a decrease in the quality of your ice. It makes noisy rattling sounds and leaves layers of ice in your freezer. You probably just realized that some of the inner parts inside it have become rusty and need to be cleaned. But when it comes to cleaning those dirty stainless steel parts, it can leave you wondering what tools you will need and how long will you have to wait before using it again.
How An Ice Maker Gets Dirty
The main culprits of a dirty ice maker are minerals and bacteria. Minerals like calcium and magnesium can be found in water and they can block up your water lines which force your ice maker to work harder than normal to make ice.
Bacteria likes moist environments, so any moisture in your machine can become a breeding ground for germs if you do not take care of it. In addition, dirt and other debris from food-related spills or other accidents may get inside the machine as well and cause contamination.
Why An Ice Maker Needs Cleaning
When you have a home ice maker, it is important to maintain the appliance so that the ice you make is safe to consume. A dirty machine can affect the taste of your ice and also spread bacteria. Here are some of the reasons why you should perform regular cleaning on your ice maker.
When we think about getting food poisoning, our minds usually go right to meat and dairy products. While these foods are well known for harboring bacteria that can make people sick, there are many other foods and food preparation areas that can cause illness as well. Ice falls into this category, though most people probably don’t even consider their ice when thinking about food safety. The truth is that an unclean ice maker can cause serious health problems if not maintained properly.
Ice makers take water from a clean source and freeze it to make fresh ice. As the water freezes, it pushes any impurities out of the main compartment, leaving them in the water reservoir where they can be flushed away later. Although manufacturers use many different materials to create these appliances, they all work in more or less the same way. When an ice maker does not get cleaned regularly, bacteria can begin to form within the machine itself or in the water source feeding it.
Signs It’s Time To Clean Your Ice Maker
It is recommended that you clean your ice maker once a year, but the signs of build-up and corrosion on the metal parts could alert you to an impending issue.
1. Dirty ice
If you find your ice is dirty, clumped together, or tastes bad, it’s time to clean your ice maker. Dirty ice is unusual, but if it’s happening to you, it might be because of a dirty filter or mold somewhere in the system.
2. Odor in the ice
Another sign that you need to clean your ice maker is if your ice tastes bad or gives off an odor. The taste and smell of the water and ice can be affected by the water filter — which should be replaced about every six months.
3. Your water filter needs replacement (or has recently been replaced)
If your water filter is due for replacement or has recently been replaced, it’s usually recommended that you also clean the ice maker and dispenser area as well.
4. The ice maker is running slow
An easy indicator that you need to clean your ice maker is how long it takes for new batches of ice to be produced. If you’re noticing longer than normal waits between batches, it could mean there’s an issue with the delivery system itself that needs cleaning out.
5. The ice maker is producing less ice
If you’re noticing a decrease in the amount of your ice maker or if there’s a significant loss of ice over time, the delivery system could be clogged up and need cleaning.
5 Steps To Clean Your Ice Maker
What you’ll need:
- A microfiber cloth or sponge.
- A solution of 1/4 cup each of water and vinegar.
- A dishwasher-safe ice bucket.
- Remove the ice bucket from the freezer and empty it of any remaining ice.
- Wipe down the inside of the freezer with a microfiber cloth or sponge that has been dampened with plain water, then wipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.
- Wash the ice bucket in warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry with paper towels or a clean cloth before returning to the freezer.
- Mix together 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a bowl, then pour into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer until frozen solid.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, run warm water over it until the cubes are loose, then remove them from their slots and drop them in a plastic baggie for disposal (they’re not safe to eat). If there are any stains on the tray, use a soft brush dipped in hot, soapy water to scrub them away before rinsing thoroughly and drying with paper towels or a clean cloth.
- Run the ice tray under hot water to remove any soap, then place it back in the freezer until you’re ready to use it again.
Tips To Keep Your Ice Maker Clean
Ice makers can be a frustrating appliance because they’re so easy to forget about. The ice cubes come out, but the water tank doesn’t get cleaned or refilled as often as it should.
Here are some tips to keep your ice maker clean:
Keep the water tank full and run off the water pressure.
This will make sure you have plenty of ice coming out, without having to constantly refill the tank.
Clean out the water tank regularly.
If you’re not using your ice maker, remove it from service. Take it apart and use a brush or vacuum to get rid of any dust or debris that has accumulated inside the tank. Also, this way you’ll be using fresh ice cubes instead of old, frozen ones which usually taste stale. Some models have a removable water filter that you can clean on your own.
Rinse the ice cube container thoroughly each time you refill it with water.
When you clean ice cube containers, there’s a chance that some of the cleaning agents that was used on the container might end up in your ice cubes. If this happens, check your ice cubes for a chemical taste or odor before serving them to guests.
How Often Should You Clean Your Ice Maker?
The frequency with which you clean your ice maker will depend on the quality of water in your home and how often you use it. If you have hard water or you use it heavily, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough cleaning every few months.
If you don’t use it as much, or if the water quality is good, once every six months should be sufficient.
The next time you’re ready to replace your ice maker, you might want to think twice. Instead, put in a bit of time and effort to clean it out. It could save you the cost and headache of getting rid of your old one and buying a new one. If you have any questions or you’d like assistance with the process, don’t be afraid to contact us. We’d be happy to help in any way we can!