How to Clean Ice Maker – 6 Methods that Take no Effort

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Last updated: August 27, 2023
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An ice maker or ice generator is a machine that can make ice quicker. Some people use ice trays to make ice but this process only makes ice in small quantities. Some industrial ice makers are used in restaurants but you can also have compact models for home use and summer barbeques.

The blocks of ice you use in your beverages must be clean to prevent consuming contaminants. Do you have an ice maker? Want to know how to clean ice maker machines? That’s what you can find out in this short guide. We’ll discuss what makes ice makers dirty and the proper ice maker cleaning methods you can use to prevent wear and keep it maintained.

That’s why it’s important to keep your ice maker clean so that it doesn’t produce dirty ice. Keep reading to find out more.

What makes ice makers dirty

How to Clean Ice Maker - 6 Methods that Take no EffortThere are many factors that make an ice machine dirty inside. One of the most common reasons for a dirty ice maker is mold and slime which is created by a combination of moisture and food. The machine itself has the moisture but sometimes particles of grease and sugar from cooking can enter the appliance causing mold growth.

Luckily mold is easy to identify because it forms in dark black or green patches. If you’re noticing some dark particles in your ice it’s a clear indication that it’s time to clean it.

Other causes of a dirty ice machine include pest infestations. Cockroaches and ants are always looking for a source of water so they may enter your machine to find liquids to drink.

Dust and dirt particles in the air can also get inside your ice machine especially when you’re using it outside. So that’s why you must clean your ice maker after every use.

Failing to clean your ice maker can increase the risk of contracting E-coli and norovirus Trusted Source Norovirus and E. coli: What you need to know - CBS News Both foodborne illnesses can make you miserable, but their differences may surprise you .

Safety advice before you start

Before we give you steps on how to clean ice maker machines there are some safety precautions you have to adhere to first. Whether you’re cleaning a residential or industrial ice maker follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure the ice maker is off before you start cleaning
  2. Always wear gloves when removing ice from the machine
  3. Don’t place ice bins on the floor
  4. Always use clean cloths and sponges when maintaining the machine

Lastly, you should wear safety goggles when removing ice from the machine because shards of ice can fly up and hit you in sensitive parts of your face. Ice is sharp so it can cut your eyes so always wear protective eyewear.

How to clean ice maker machine

How to Clean Ice Maker - 6 Methods that Take no EffortIn this next section we’re going to discuss the following:

  • How to clean portable ice maker machines
  • How to clean countertop ice maker units
  • How to clean automatic ice maker machines

Find out what tools you’ll need for the job and what you have to do before starting the cleaning process.

What you’ll need

The best ice maker machines won’t require too many tools to clean out the appliance. You’ll need the following:

  • A washcloth or soft abrasive sponge
  • Bucket of water
  • Detergent or vinegar
  • Tiny scrubber or pipe cleaner

The tiny brush is to scrub small parts of the machine that you can’t clean with a large cloth. Avoid using chemical cleaners in case it contaminates your ice. The ice from machine makers is used to make tasty beverages so you don’t want any chemical after taste in your drinks due to cleaning aids.

Unplug the device

To avoid injury and to prevent breaking your ice maker machine you must unplug before cleaning it. If it’s a portable device make sure the machine is switched off at all times before you start washing it.

Remove and wash parts

Put your safety gloves on and start to remove all the ice from your bin. Drain the machine of any access water. Then start to remove all the parts from the machine. These parts are major culprits in harboring bacteria and mold. So you want to make sure you remove them all from the machine before you start cleaning.


Want to know how to clean mold from ice maker machines? There are many products on the market but the best way to remove mold naturally is to use white vinegar. The ideal approach on how to clean an ice maker with vinegar is to pour a cup of it into a bucket of water.

Then use the solution to clean the inside and outside of your ice maker. You can use another bucket to soak all your small parts in and use your small scrubber to remove particles of mold or dirt from them.

Now rinse all items off with warm water so that there is no vinegar residue on them. You don’t want your next batch of ice to taste like vinegar, so rinse all ice maker parts thoroughly.

Assemble and check

Now you can reassemble your ice maker and make sure all parts are installed back into the correct places on the machine. Once your machine has been reassembled you can check that it’s working by switching it on and allowing it to make a batch of ice.

How to clean refrigerator ice maker

Refrigerator ice makers are different from the portable or industrial ones you get. These ice makers are built into your fridge’s infrastructure. Take a look at how to clean refrigerator ice maker machines below.

What you’ll need

A refrigerator ice maker is easier to clean compared to large machines. All you’ll need is a new toothbrush, a bowl of white vinegar and a cloth.

Unplug the device

Before you can clean any part of your refrigerator you should remove all foods from the refrigerator and then switch the appliance off. Place food that can spoil into a cooler while your refrigerator is off.

While the appliance is off, any ice stuck inside a bin or chute will melt so it will be easier for you to clean the ice maker.

Remove and wash parts

Any parts that you’re able to remove must be taken off the device. You can place these parts in a bucket of clean warm water and add some white vinegar. You must also make sure that all ice from the dispenser is removed before cleaning.

Clean insides

Dip your new toothbrush into the white vinegar and start scrubbing all the parts of your ice maker. This includes the tray and the parts where your cup touches. Use your toothbrush to scrub the inside of the chutes and to sanitize the parts of the machine you touch regularly.

Use a cloth to wipe down larger parts of the machine.

How to clean mold from ice maker dispenser

How to Clean Ice Maker - 6 Methods that Take no EffortSince there’s plenty of moisture in the chute of the ice dispenser, mold can grow in these areas. These microorganisms can grow in the crevices of your ice dispenser that are difficult to reach. You must open the fridge door and remove the chute and all parts connected to it.

Place the parts in a bucket of warm water and white vinegar and leave to soak for a few minutes. Then take your toothbrush and scrub all the parts you can reach. Rinse the chute under warm water and inspect it for parts you may have missed.

Repeat the process if there is still mold left behind.

Assemble and check

Reattach all the parts you’ve removed from your ice dispenser and switch your refrigerator back on. Check to see if all the parts are working. If you’re having problems after reassembling your dispenser you may want to call the brand for repair assistance.

How to clean icemaker by brand

There are many brands of ice makers on the market but each of them may require a different method on how to maintain the machine. Take a look at these top three ice maker brands and how to clean them.


Want to know how to clean Igloo ice maker machines? They’re easy to maintain because this is an automated countertop ice maker machine. Firstly, use the plug under the machine to drain all the water out of it. You can either use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar water or 1:1 of lemon water to clean out the Igloo ice maker.

Pour your cleaning solution inside the tank and make sure it covers the water pump inside the appliance. This is a self-cleaning device so once the cleaning solution is inside the tank simply press the ‘clean’ button to start the washing cycle.

The cleaning solution will run through the device’s pumps and crevices five times to clean out any debris and mold.

If you want a bigger ice machine the best alternative is the Hamilton Beach Professional ice maker. The machine has a bigger capacity and a sturdier structure.


The method of how to clean Kitchenaid ice maker machines is even easier than the Igloo appliance. Press the on/off button on the machine and wait 10 minutes before removing all the ice from it. Drain the water from the device by removing the drain cap.

Once all the water is drained, put the cap back on. Then pour 16oz of cleaning solution into the tank. Add an additional 16oz of water to the tank and then close the lid.

Press the ‘clean’ button on the machine to run a cycle. The process will take 70 minutes to complete. When done, drain the cleaning solution from the machine.

Another portable ice maker on the market that’s similar to the size of a Kitchenaid is the IKICH Portable Ice Maker. This ice maker is compact so it will fit on small countertops easily.


The Scotsman ice maker is larger than the Kitchenaid and the Igloo countertop appliances. Are you looking for a way on how to clean a Scotsman ice maker? Switch the appliance off using the red off button. Use a screwdriver to remove screws from all four corners of the front panel and then remove this panel from the machine.

Now remove the right-side panel. Then remove the thumbscrews and evaporator cover.

Press the yellow button on the control panel.

Scotsman has its own cleaning solution that you must use to maintain the machine. Follow the instructions on the bottle for the ratios you must use. The control panel will flash AD1 when it’s ready for you to add the cleaning aid. Add your Scotsman solution directly to the water reservoir. The machine will run the cleaning cycle for 35 minutes which includes a rinse.

Looking for a similar commercial ice machine for restaurants? Then consider the Manitowoc UDF0140A NEO. It’s another machine that’s easy to maintain and it makes large batches of ice for places that have high foot traffic.

How to clean ice maker with vinegar

How to Clean Ice Maker - 6 Methods that Take no EffortVinegar is an all-natural cleaning aid that works well for maintaining ice makers. It’s a non-toxic solution to getting rid of mold and other stubborn dirt inside your ice maker.

All you have to do is place one cup of warm water and a cup of white vinegar in a bucket. Mix well and then use it to scrub various parts of your ice maker.

Or pour the solution inside ice makers that have an automated cleaning cycle. Although, if you want a cleaning solution that’s safe to use on all types of material then use Nu Calgon Ice Machine Cleaner.

Maintain your ice maker in good condition

To keep your ice maker in tip-top shape you must clean it two to four times a year. For countertop machines, you may want to clean them out every two to four months of using them consistently.

Cleaning your ice maker will remove all contaminants from the chute as well as the areas where the ice is produced.

Final thoughts

Ice maker machines are excellent for restaurants that want to make ice lattes, Frappuccino’s or milkshakes. Places that need to make large volumes of cold beverages will need a big ice maker to create lots of ice.

But you can also enjoy the taste of ice-cold drinks when you get yourself an ice maker for your countertop. Or get a portable one when you go to your friends’ barbeques or outdoor events. No matter what ice maker you have it’s important to keep it clean so that it doesn’t harbor harmful bacteria or mold inside the appliance. A dirty ice maker can cause serious illnesses such as salmonella.

We hope today’s guide on how to clean ice maker machines helped you with quick and fast solutions to maintain your appliance. Now it can bring you optimal results, even during the hot summer months.


Norovirus and E. coli: What you need to know - CBS News
Both foodborne illnesses can make you miserable, but their differences may surprise you

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