One of the most important appliances in the modern household is an ice maker – and even if this sounds like a trivial purchase, it is important to consider how much ice you consume regularly.
Especially during the summer, having a portable nugget ice maker can make a huge difference in terms of saving down on costs of buying bags of ice from the local store while also making sure that you have a batch of freshly made ice always at your disposal to enjoy your favorite iced drinks.
However, like other appliances, an ice maker needs to be cleaned regularly for its efficiency to be maintained – hence, we’ll be discussing some easy ways of how to clean a portable ice maker using simple supplies found in all households.
Why Should You Clean Your Ice Maker
Like with most devices, your ice maker will work best when it is being maintained regularly and cleaned up from time to time. Not cleaning up your ice maker regularly may result in the build-up of undesirable substances such as limescale, mineral deposits, mold, and other such impurities. Applies all the same for all kinds of ice makers, commercial or domestic use flake, sonic or cube ice making machines.
All of these impurities accumulated may eventually lead to your ice having a cloudy appearance, melting easily, or having a distasteful odor to it. Once you start getting ice from your ice maker that fits these criteria, you have to look into how to clean a portable ice maker.
What Are The Benefits Of Cleaning Your Ice Maker?
If you’re still on the fence about cleaning your ice maker, then the following benefits will convince you to clean your ice maker regularly without fail.
1. Clear And Pure Ice
Once you go a while without cleaning your ice maker, you’ll start to realize that the ice you get out of it isn’t as clear and pure as it used to be. Cleaning your ice maker every now and then will ensure that your ice is completely transparent without the presence of impurities giving it that cloudy appearance we’ve previously talked about. If the ice maker you purchased was marketed as a clear ice maker, it becomes even more essential for you to clean it frequently.
This eventually leads to your ice tasting fresh as well, without it absorbing impurities present in the ice maker, giving it a vaguely unpleasant taste and odor. It also helps to use purified water to make your ice since that can lead to further cleaner ice from your ice maker.
2. No Water Borne Health Concerns
Naturally, once you understand the inner workings of an ice maker, you’ll realize that it can accumulate impurities quite quickly. Since the processes of the ice maker are largely performed with the help of water, this means that impurities such as mold receive a breeding ground due to the moisture and thus accumulate – leading to far-reaching consequences for your health by absorbing and developing strange tastes and odors.
3. Increased Durability
One of the most important determining factors in the working of your ice maker is how long it can last while working at optimal efficiency. If you do not manage to clean your ice maker regularly, the durability of your ice maker slowly dwindles, and it starts to function at subpar efficiency.
How Often Should A Portable Ice Maker Be Cleaned?
While the answer to this question largely depends on how often you use your ice maker, it is recommended that you clean it every month – or even less than that, if you’re using it heavily.
At the most, however, you should be cleaning your ice maker once in three to six months – since delaying the cleaning procedure further than that can lead to the buildup of the aforementioned dirt and grime that we’ve previously talked about. Additionally, you can attempt to clean your ice maker once you notice changes in the quality of your ice, such as bad odor and a cloudy appearance. Here’s my detailed take on cleaning an ice maker that has obvious slime and mold build up.
Methods To Clean A Portable Ice Maker
Now that you know cleaning your ice maker is absolutely imperative, you must go over the many methods possible for how to clean the ice machine. Don’t worry – all of these processes can be easily performed with minimal effort and supplies.
1. How To Clean Ice Maker Using A Detergent
a. Gather All The Types of Equipment
It is important to know what supplies you need to find out how to clean igloo ice maker with a detergent. All you need is multiple dishcloths that are soft and dry, some warm water, a toothbrush or Q-tip (whatever is more accessible), some dishwashing detergent, and a medium-sized spoon. Once you have all of these supplies at your disposal, it is time to move on to the next step.
b. Unplug The System
Naturally, the next step for how to clean a portable ice maker is to unplug your ice maker from its power source. This is to ensure against any untoward accidents such as electric shocks – so turn off your ice maker after making sure that it has stopped making ice, and safely unplug it.
To separate water and electricity sources, it is wise to check the water reservoir to make sure that it does not hold any water – and if it does, you can drain it out.
c. Remove Interior Parts Of Ice Storage Bin
The next step on how to clean countertop ice maker is to prepare your ice maker for cleaning. You can do this by dismantling the interior parts and keeping them aside for cleaning in the next step.
This is also when you start to clean any remnants of ice from when you’ve used the ice maker – so if there are any sticky ice cubes still lodged inside, attempt to get them out with the spoon or some warm water.
d. Clean The Interior Parts
Now that we’ve come to the actual cleaning part for how to clean manitowoc ice machine, you need to fill up your sink with some more warm water and dishwashing detergent to prepare the cleaning agent.
In this solution, dip one of your dishcloths and then start scrubbing away at the interior parts that you’ve previously removed. You can use either the Q-tip or toothbrush for this step, depending on whether your ice maker has a filter or not.
e. Clean The Interior
Now that you’ve finished cleaning all of the parts that could be removed from the ice maker, it is time to start cleaning the actual interior of the ice maker – and this includes the ice mold. Here, you can once again use the toothbrush dipped in the detergent solution to scrub away at scaly water. You can also use some diluted bleach if the dirt has built up for quite a while now.
f. Start The Portable Ice Maker
Lastly, it is time to do some test runs of your newly cleaned ice maker. Here, you will try to run the ice maker using the detergent cleaning solution that is residual in the ice maker and then make ice out of the same to dispose of later.
Once the cleaning agent and diluted bleach have been washed out of the ice maker, it is time to run it with warm water once again to ensure that there’s no residual cleaning agent left anymore – after which your cleaned ice maker is now ready to use.
2. How To Clean Ice Maker With Vinegar
a. Gather The Equipments And Prep The Ice Maker
Like cleaning your ice maker with dishwasher detergent, you need to prepare your equipment and supplies to figure out how to clean ice maker with vinegar. For this, you need the same supplies as last time – multiple dishcloths, warm water, toothbrushes, and paper towels for scrubbing, a medium-sized spoon, as well as a measuring cup.
For the cleaning agent, you need vinegar, some baking soda if the grime is particularly tough, and a pitcher. To prepare your ice maker for cleaning, you need to take apart all its interior parts and unplug the ice maker first. If there’s residual liquid in the ice maker, get rid of it and wipe it down with a cloth to prevent electric shocks. Take this time to get rid of any lodged ice cubes as well.
b. Make The Cleaning Solution
Making the cleaning solution to clean the interior of your ice maker is quite simple but extremely crucial at the same time. Using vinegar ensures that any calcium deposits or scales are removed since vinegar can easily dissolve them.
For the ice maker cleaner solution, all you need to do is mix together vinegar and warm water in a 1:10 ratio, respectively – effectively meaning that you have to take ten measures of warm water for every measure of vinegar. You can choose to use white vinegar for this purpose since the odor is washed out effectively after the cleaning process.
c. Clean The Ice Maker Accessories
This step for how to clean an ice machine entails you cleaning out the interior accessories of your ice maker. All you need to do is use the toothbrush or Q-tip or even your dishcloth, dip it into the vinegar cleaning solution, and then scrub or brush down all the accessories of the ice maker.
This is also the step where you can use baking soda to clean out any hard water lines or other such tough stains and impurities that are difficult to get out. However, if you do use baking soda, it is pertinent to clean out any traces of it with the final wash. You can also clean your ice maker filter, if any, with the help of the toothbrush or Q-tip – or let it sit in the warm water filled in the sink to remove any grime.
d. Clean The Interior Of The Machine
As before, you need to clean the actual interior of the ice maker once you have cleaned all its accessories. In this step, you need to take your cleaning dishcloth once again after dipping it into the vinegar cleaning solution and then wipe down the interior of the ice maker.
You can use the cleaning solution as a spray to reach corners of the interior that are difficult to get – and even use your toothbrush or Q-tip to get those nooks easily. If the lime deposits are stubborn, you may need to use pure vinegar to efficiently clean your interior.
e. Start The Machine And Make Some Ice
As done with the detergent solution previously, you now need to go for a test run of your ice maker. Keeping the cleaning solution of vinegar and pouring the rest of the remaining cleaning agent into the machine, you need to make some ice with the remnants of the cleaning solution to ensure that the ice maker is running and functioning optimally.
This will allow you to disinfect your machine cleanly with the last cleaning solution and make sure that the cleaning agent is not left as residue when you’re using your ice maker after it’s been cleaned.
f. Replace The Accessories
Now that your ice maker has now fully been cleaned, it is time to replace the interior accessories that you had previously taken out for the purpose of cleaning. Once these accessories or parts have dried after been cleaned thoroughly, wipe them with the paper towels you had to prevent any water stains from making them look distasteful.
Once you’ve done this, slot the accessories back into where they belong, and your ice maker is now clean with the help of the vinegar cleaning solution and completely ready to use!
How To Maintain Your Portable Ice Maker
Following the fact that prevention is always better than cure, let’s explore ways to ensure that your ice maker does not accumulate grime as quickly and frequently and functions optimally.
1. Unplug The Ice Maker If It Is Not In Use
While this one seems like a bit of a no-brainer, it makes a huge difference to the durability of your ice maker. If you’re planning to be away for an extended period of time, switching off and unplugging the ice maker can help ensure cleanliness – since keeping it plugged in is virtually pointless.
Wiping the inside of the ice maker with a dry cloth will ensure that moisture is kept away – making sure that mold does not build up in the interior of the ice maker.
2. Clean The Portable Ice Maker Regularly
While the above-mentioned processes on how to clean ice maker may take time, it is not mandatory to go through the entire process every time you want to clean your ice maker.
Merely taking a damp dishcloth and wiping the interior of the ice maker can go a long way in terms of keeping away impurities like limescale and mold. Most portable ice makers use air-cooled mechanisms to avoid overheating. You must occasionally deep clean the entire mechanism to keep it working flawlessly. Provided that you do this every week, you won’t have to perform the drawn-out procedure of disassembling your ice maker every time.
3. Wash The Ice Storage Basket
The ice storage basket is that part of your ice maker that is where all of your ice is stored. Once the ice maker has made your ice, it is delivered to the ice storage basket – so naturally, it follows that you must always clean your ice storage basket in order to prevent impurities from being transferred on your ice.
Similar to cleaning the entirety of the ice maker, all you need to do is scrub it with a mild cleaning solution and warm water.
4. Don’t Use Any Harsh Chemicals
Using harsh chemicals on your ice maker is something that can cause immense damage to the machine and your health in the long run. It is unwise to use harsh chemicals for the interior parts of the ice maker since they can easily affect the quality of ice or even boiling water which can melt away at the plastic used in the ice maker.
5. Descale Your Portable Ice Maker
The accumulation of hard water in your ice maker can lead to the buildup of scales in the interior parts of your ice maker – and can thus be hazardous for its efficient functioning.
The buildup of scales, or calcium deposits, can greatly affect the working of the ice maker. This can easily be avoided by processes such as using a readily available descaler or a vinegar solution that reacts with the calcium deposit and dissolves the same, effectively cleaning out the formation of scales.
While there is no end to how useful an ice maker is for daily use, it is apparent that to ensure the optimal working of your portable ice maker, it needs to be cleaned and properly maintained – and luckily, the processes to do so are extremely easy. With the right equipment and some care, you can enjoy a steady supply of ice for as long as you need!
Having worked as a professional bartender for 10 years straight, I’ve kind of developed this ability to micromanage all factors affecting the strength and feel of my favorite drinks. The type of ice typically has the most to do with it. On PesosKitchenandLounge, I now regularly share my thoughts and knowledge through consistent blogs.