I love ice makers. They’re an easy way to quickly dispense ice for drinks, put together a few simple cocktails, and save time around the kitchen.

Unfortunately, these devices don’t stay clean for very long. Over time some dust,

How do you know when it’s time to clean your ice maker? What supplies do you need, and what steps do you need to follow up? Take a look at a few important points below. Once you follow this guide, you should know everything you need to take proper care of your ice maker. 

Signs It’s time To Clean Your Ice Maker

There are a few signs that tell you it’s time to clean your portable ice maker. These include: 

  • You noticed that your ice cubes are a lot smaller than they usually are. 
  • When you take a look at the inside of the ice maker machine, it is obvious that there is dirt, dust, and grime built up on the sides. 
  • You feel like your drinks taste just a little bit off when do you add ice to them. 
  • The water coming out of the ice maker is cloudy instead of clear. 
  • The ice maker is taking longer to dispense ice than it usually does. 

If you spot any of these signs, it is time for you to give a bit of tender loving care to your ice maker. What do you need to do? 

What Materials Do You Need?

Fortunately, it is a relatively simple process to clean your ice maker. You will not need a lot of materials, and there is a good chance that you already have all of them in your home. The materials you will need include:

  • You should have a stringent cleaning agent such as lemon juice or white vinegar. 
  • You will need a soft cloth to wipe the interior and exterior of the ice maker. A microfiber cloth is preferable. The most important thing you have to remember is that you do not want to use a coarse material that is going to scratch your ice maker. If you scratch the ice maker, this could impact how the ice cubes are formed. Scratches are also a great location for bacteria to hide. 
  • You will need a spray bottle. 
  • You need access to warm water that does not come out of the dirty ice maker. 
  • If you feel like your ice maker has a lot of cracks and crevices, then you may want to use cotton buds or a toothbrush that can get into these tiny areas. Again, make sure you use something with soft bristles so you do not scratch the ice maker. 
  • You should also be prepared for the towel just in case any water spills out of the ice maker. 

Once you have all of these materials, you should be ready to go. 

The Step by Step Guide

In order to properly clean your ice maker, you need to follow these simple steps below. They include: 

Empty the Ice Maker

The first thing you need to do is empty the ice maker. If there is any water in the ice maker, make sure you drain it into a safe location. Remove any Ice cubes from your ice maker as well. You need to get all the contents out of the way if you want to make it easier to clean your ice maker. 

Disassemble the Ice Maker

Once the ice maker is empty, it is time to disassemble it. You want to deconstruct the ice maker into its component parts. That way, it is easier for you to clean each individual part of the ice maker. If there are loose parts, you may want to leave them on a towel, so you don’t lose them. This is also a safe location for them to dry.

Make the Cleaning Solution

The next step is to make the cleaning solution. Take the spray bottle and fill it with warm water. Then, you should add vinegar or lemon juice to the water in the spray bottle. If you are using vinegar, you may want to go with a 1 to 2 solution of vinegar to water. If the ice maker is particularly dirty, you may want to go with a one-to-one solution instead. 

Natural cleaners
Make your own cleaning solution following the step above

Spray Down the Ice Maker and the Accessories

Next, you should use the spray bottle to wash the ice maker and accessories. As you go through this step, you should be generous with the cleaning solution. Make sure you get each individual side of the ice maker and the accessories. This could mean that you have to rotate the accessories to spray the other side. It may take a bit of contorting to spray the inside of the ice maker, but make sure you do not miss any spots.

Wipe Down the Ice Maker and the Accessories

Once you have a good lather on the individual components, it is time to dry them off. You should use the microfiber cloth to thoroughly wipe down the accessories and the interior. Make sure you get each individual surface with the cloth. 

Rinse the Ice Maker

Next, you need to rinse off the ice maker to get rid of the cleaning solution. You have to make sure you are thorough, or you could end up with a funky taste the next time you dispense ice. Take a jug of clean water and pour it around the internal areas. You should make sure to rinse off the accessories as well. Double-check to make sure the cleaning solution has been completely unlimited from the inside of the ice maker and its components.

Remove the ice tray and rinse
After removing the ice tray rinse off any remaining cleaning solution

Do Not Forget the Exterior

If you have not already done so, you should repeat this process with the exterior of the ice maker. For example, if there is a shoot that dispenses the ice, make sure you clean this thoroughly as well. You might also want to clean the grates that collect ice that does not quite make it into the glass. If this looks visibly dirty, you have a clear target for your cleaning solution

Reassemble the Ice Maker

After you have completed all of these steps, it is time to reassemble the ice maker. Before you put the ice maker back together, make sure each individual component has dried completely. If you put the ice maker back together when it’s wet, you could create an environment that is conducive to the buildup of dirt and grime. 

Prepare and Dump a Batch of Ice Cubes

Finally, you have to make sure the cleaning solution has been eliminated from the ice maker. To do this, you should prepare a fresh batch of ice cubes and dump them into the sink. You may want to use a clean bucket to catch the ice cubes. You want to do this to eliminate any remaining cleaning solution that might have been lodged in the ice maker. After you have done this, you should be ready to go again. 

Why Should You Clean Your Ice Maker Regularly?

There are several important reasons why you should clean your ice maker regularly. These include:

  • Bacteria: Moisture is conducive to the build of a bacterial, particularly when it involves kitchen equipment that gives them access to a food source. You need to clean your ice maker regularly to prevent bacteria from taking over your ice maker.
  • Food: You might even have food that is building up on the inside of your ice maker. Food can become a dangerous contaminant because it goes bad. When this happens, you could give someone food poisoning by giving them contaminated ice cubes.
  • Longevity: You want your ice maker to last as long as possible. In order to make sure that happens, you need to clean it regularly. If you don’t clean your ice maker, it is going to get clogged. Your ice maker will have to work harder to dispense ice, shortening its lifespan. 

Even though it can be frustrating and time-consuming to clean your ice maker, you need to keep these important points in mind. That way, you remember why it’s so important to clean your ice maker regularly. 

Cleaning Your Ice Maker: Common Mistakes To Avoid

When you are cleaning your ice maker, it is easy to make mistakes. A few mistakes you need to avoid include: 

  • Not Disassembling the Ice Maker: Even though it has a bit of time to the process, you need to make sure you disassemble your ice maker. Otherwise, you will not be able to clean each individual part properly. 
  • Not Letting the Parts Dry: You need to give the parts time to dry before you put the ice maker back together. If the ice maker is still wet when you reassemble it, you could create an environment that is conducive to the growth of mold. 
  • Not Dumping Out the First Batch of Ice: You could always make sure you dump out the first batch of ice after you are done cleaning the ice maker. If you do not, you may notice a vinegar aftertaste in the ice cubes. 

These are a few common mistakes you need to stay away from as you clean your ice maker. The more you clean your ice maker, the better you will get at it. 

Clean Your Ice Maker Regularly

Ultimately, it is important for you to make sure you clean your ice maker regularly. You should clean your ice maker to prevent food contamination, bacterial build-up, and to make sure the ice maker works efficiently. Vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water makes for a great cleaning solution for your ice maker. Make sure you rinse the parts thoroughly after you are done cleaning them. If you take care of your ice maker, it will take care of you. 

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Have a great day!

-Craig