Does my commercial ice maker clean itself?

Utensils & Tools

Always ensure that your ice maker has plenty of space behind it. Lack of airflow can strain the machine and cause it to run less efficiently.

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Why you need to clean your commercial ice maker

Your commercial ice maker might have a self-cleaning option, but don’t settle. Why? Because ice is something that you, your family or your customers will ingest daily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states, “It can be shaved, cubed, nuggeted and crushed. It can be made from tap water, spring water, or purified water. But no matter the shape or the source, ice is considered a food by the FDA.” Anything that touches food needs to be cleaned regularly. 

Benefits of cleaning a commercial ice maker?

Dirty ice can make people sick from bacteria, mold and anything on dirty hands that comes in contact with the ice. However, if you keep your hands and machine clean, you avoid potential problems. 

Apart from any health risks, ice machines simply run better when they are clean. Build-up on any part of the machine causes it to waste more energy as it makes new ice. This increases energy bills and wears out your machine faster. Some manufacturers even consider the warranty voided if you do not keep up on the maintenance, including cleaning.

How often do I need to clean my ice maker?

Most experts recommend you clean your ice maker at least every six months. This is good minimum cleaning schedule for most ice machines, including the ones inside a refrigerator, countertop models and large, built-in commercial ice makers. But the frequency will vary based on manufacturer recommendations and other factors. Plan to clean it more often if you have hard water, for instance, as mineral deposits form quickly.

How to clean a commercial ice maker

When you are cleaning a machine of any kind, it is best to start with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many variables can impact the best cleaning methods for different types of machines. If you don’t know where your owner’s manual is, do not despair. You can find many of them online. You can also call or email the company that makes your machine for more information.

Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how best to clean your machine, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Disconnect the machine’s power source.
  • Clean the outside of the machine and the area around the machine. You do not want any dust to blow onto your ice.
  • Clean the machine’s filters.
  • Take the machine apart as much as possible without causing damage. You need to get access to the pieces that touch the ice so you can clean them.
  • Soak or spray removed parts with ice machine sanitizer.
  • Reach in and clean all the parts that cannot be removed, including walls. A toothbrush can help scrub nooks and crannies.  
  • Wipe down with a clean cloth or rinse, re-assemble and connect the power.
  • Throw out the first two batches of ice after cleaning to ensure your sanitizing product of choice is out of the system.

What you need to buy to clean a commercial ice maker

Essential Values Ice Machine Cleaner

Essential Values Ice Machine Cleaner

You will want to follow manufacturer recommendations as you select your cleaner, but this a good general option to try. It will work on many different types of machines and is well-regarded.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Machine

Vremi Commercial Grade Ice Machine

We recommend cleaning your machine even if you have a self-cleaning function. A self-cleaning function is still nice, though, for maintaining the machine. This Vremi model is well regarded and offers self-cleaning features.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Opal Countertop Ice Maker

Opal Countertop Ice Maker

If you would like a smaller countertop unit, consider this model from Opal. It has very positive reviews, and you can buy a specific cleaning kit for easy maintenance.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

GUM Deep Cleaning Toothbrushes

GUM Deep Cleaning Toothbrushes

It’s no joke that a toothbrush is great for lots of cleaning tasks, including cleaning the smaller parts of your commercial ice machine. If you do not keep extras on hand, buy a pack of these to scrub small spaces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Buff Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Buff Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Any cleaning task requires high-quality cloths, and in this case, they’re vital for wiping down the inside and outside of your ice machine. These towels trap dust so that there’s no chance of it getting into your ice.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Angie Parkinson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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