Last updated on July 1st, 2022 at 01:46 pm
The show Kitchen Nightmares has made me hyper-aware of the risks of dirty ice machines. Ice machines are considered food equipment and must be maintained and cleaned to promote healthy, sanitary conditions. Proper maintenance and cleaning of your ice machine increases performance and reduces the need for repairs. If you’re not cleaning your ice machine regularly, you’re allowing it to accumulate mold and slime that reduces the function of your ice machine and, more importantly, the health and safety of your ice.
Cleaning and sanitizing your bin is a two-part process. First, you need to remove lime scale from your machine. Secondly, you need to sanitize the interior and exterior of the bin. It’s recommended that you use the manufacturer suggested solution when following the steps below:
To clean the interior
- Mix a solution of water and descaler together following the recommendations from the bottle (Usually 5-6 ounces per gallon).
- Use a spray bottle to apply this cleaner to the inside of the bin. Remove the baffle from the inside of the bin by removing the thumbscrews first.
- Using a nylon brush, scrub the interior in its entirety as well as the baffle.
- Soak your scoop until all of the scale deposits are removed.
- Flush the bin, baffle and scoop thoroughly with fresh water ensuring all traces of the descaler has been removed.
Sanitizing your Ice Machine
After cleaning the interior the unit should be sanitized. This is done following the same method as used above however, this time you will use a sanitizing solution.
- Apply sanitizing solution with a spray bottle.
- With a clean rag wipe down the entire interior surface of the bin as well as the baffle, thumb screws and scoop.
- Thoroughly flush the interior of the bin as well as the other parts that were sanitized with fresh water until all traces of the sanitizer is removed.
You’re not done yet!
The outside of your bin should be wiped down at least weekly. While this part of the bin won’t touch the ice, it’s important to keep it clean. Simply apply a mild soap solution and wipe the entire exterior surface.
Cleaning commercial ice machine condenser coils is essential preventive maintenance also. Dirty coils shorten the life of the compressor and reduce ice production. Eventually a safety will cut the machine off to prevent further damage. The coils can be vacuumed, blown out with CO2 or compressed air or brushed. Remember that ice machine condenser coils are usually more fragile than other refrigeration equipment coils.
Finally, for maximum filtration efficiency, replace the primary filter cartridge every six months.