Regular cleaning and sanitizing of your commercial ice cream machine helps ensure food safety. Just a few drops of ice cream mix can create a haven for bacterial growth. Before you start, research local health codes for cleaning ice cream machines. Most will require a daily or twice weekly disassemble and clean. After that, follow these four simple steps for cleaning and maintaining your machine.
✔ Completely empty the ice cream machine – Start by emptying any unused mix from the freezing chamber. Wipe out any impacted ice cream that has hardened out of reach of the scraping blades. Ensure that there is a clear pathway for water to pass through the machine completely. Flush it a few times until the water comes out clear.
✔ Take the ice cream machine apart – Get out your owner’s manual and locate all of the parts that are suggested for removal when cleaning. Completely disassemble the ice cream maker, removing any detachable parts that come in contact with the ice cream. Commercial machines have dispensing handles and tips that come in contact with fingers and ice cream regularly. These tips and handles should also be disassembled and removed during every cleaning session.
✔ Soak + Scrub Parts – Pour a mixture of hot soapy water into the freezing chamber of your machine. Many ice cream makers now come with a wash cycle setting; run this if your ice cream maker includes this feature. If it does not, a kitchen scrub brush with a handle is recommended to clean all of the inner moving parts. Once finished, drain your machine of all soapy water and flush it again with clean hot water to remove all traces of soap. Next, place all of the parts into a tub of more hot soapy water. Add a tablespoon or so of bleach to kill any remaining bacteria and allow the parts to soak for 30 minutes, or until the water has cooled. Rinse all parts in clean water and allow them to dry on clean towels.
✔ Reassemble – Finally, wipe down your ice cream machine and parts with a clean, dry towel and reassemble according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Additional best practices for ice cream machine maintenance include keeping the condenser coil clean. If the coil has a buildup of grease and dirt, you’ll need to use a degreaser and then wash the coil off. When you wash the coils of your commercial ice cream machine, be sure to cover the condenser fan motor and any other electrical components that might get sprayed. Note if the coil has a build-up of dry dust and lint. The best way to clean that is to wash it thoroughly with water. Also, open the side and back panels of your ice cream maker and inspect the inside for debris.
Finally, check the drive belts and make sure they’re in good condition and adjusted to the correct tension, and make sure the drive pulleys are aligned correctly. You might want to keep spare tune up parts like o-rings, seals, gaskets, food-safe lubricant, sleeves, bushings, and beater blades. These things will wear out and will need to be changed every three to six months.