No matter the size or cost of an icemaker, whether it’s a countertop model or a built-in, they all share one thing in common – they need a little regular TLC to keep them producing clear, great-tasting ice. Here are some tips on cleaning your icemaker like a boss.
Keeping your machine sparkling will not only avoid some problems down the road, it will also help to keep it germ free. You should refer to your owner’s manual for any special instructions about cleaning and maintaining your particular model. The manual will tell you whether your machine requires manual cleaning or if it has an automated system. The manual will also let you know how often to change filters, if your model has filters.
Cleaning Your Icemaker
If you have purchased a new icemaker you should probably clean it before using it. Cleaning the reservoir and internal components with lemon or vinegar and water and rinsing the ice maker thoroughly will eliminate the plastic taste.
If you have a well-used icemaker and notice that the ice is smaller than usual, if it’s cloudy in appearance, if it melts too quickly and is softer than normal, if the ice has a strange taste or odor, it could indicate that the machine needs to be cleaned. Icemakers can accumulate dirt, rust, limestone and mold on their inside walls that will interfere with the machine’s operation.
What to Use to Clean Your Icemaker
Vinegar, lemon, or a mild detergent added to warm water works well, but check your owner’s manual as some manufacturers will suggest a specific brand of cleaner. Dry the machine with a soft cloth or paper towels.
Many refrigerator icemakers produce around 4 to 5 pounds of ice per day. They can clog up over time and the chutes can start to jam.
To begin cleaning:
- Unplug fridge and shut off the water flow to it
- Remove the ice bin and check for any stuck or fused ice in the chute and bin
- Clean the chute with a damp cloth
- Use a weak solution of lemon, or vinegar and water to clean the bin
- You can use a mild bleach solution to disinfect the bin; rinse thoroughly
- Wipe down or wash interior surfaces using mild soap and warm water
- Make sure the bin is dry and return to the refrigerator
- Plug the fridge in, and turn the ice maker and water flow back on
- Discard the first batch of ice
- If your ice maker is in the freezer, make sure that food is tightly sealed to prevent any food odors from transmitting to the ice.
It is generally recommended that you change the filter in your refrigerator ice maker once or twice a year depending upon your usage. Once you change the filter, be sure to discard the first few batches of ice and cups of water dispensed to avoid particulates.
These machines can typically make between 20 and 80 pounds of ice in a day and can often make ice quickly, sometimes within minutes.
The parts that should be cleaned include the water reservoir, the walls, and the ice basket.
- Unplug your portable/countertop model. Bring the ice maker to the sink. Remove the drain plug. Drain the water from the reservoir and any ice stored in the ice bin. Remove the ice basket and scoop. Rinse the ice basket and scoop and soak them in warm water and mild soap
- To clean the ice maker, you can use lemon or vinegar and water in a 10 to 1 solution or a descaling and cleaning solution. It is important to descale your over the counter ice machine, particularly if you live in a hard water area. Hard water causes calcium buildup inside the unit and can cause the machine to malfunction. Spray the solution onto the walls and thoroughly wash and let dry.
- After this is done, return your clean and dry basket into the machine. Secure the drain plug in place. Plug your ice maker and turn it on.
- Pour the cleaning solution into the ice machine. Make a batch of ice. This will ensure that hard water residue and dirt will be dissolved. Throw away the ice.
- Again, take out the drain plug and drain the water into the sink. Then put the drain plug back into the unit. Add fresh water. Make another batch of ice.
- Repeat the procedure once more to ensure that no cleaning solution residue clings to the ice.
What About Mold?
There are mold control products for ice machines. A simple solution would be to use 20% chlorine and 80% water. Use a spray bottle and spray the solution on contaminated surfaces. Wipe the area to remove contaminants and be sure to rinse thoroughly. Reapply and let dry.
Your appliances are important. For the very best appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service. Get in touch with us at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form.