The Why, When and How of Cleaning Your Countertop Ice Maker

Ice Drinks - Clean Counter top Ice Maker

Do you love hosting potlucks, parties or get-togethers at home? Are you fond of taking the family on vacations in your RV? Either way, having a counter top ice maker is a must. While investing in one that offers the best quality within your budget is a given, maintaining your ice maker is totally different story.

Why Counter top Ice Maker Maintenance is a Serious Matter

A well-maintained counter top ice maker can be trusted not to act up in the middle of a party when drinks are being served. However, keeping your machine well-maintained goes beyond that.

Several studies conducted in the past have shown that ice making machines are high-risk environments for mold, slime and bacterial infestation. While black mold is quite common in ill-maintained units, bacteria (such as E. coli, salmonella and shigella) should cause greater alarm. 

Failure to keep the ice maker sanitized can put your family and friends at risk to illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal infections and even to septicemia, which can lead to death.

When to Clean Your Counter top Ice Maker

Don’t wait until you see black, brown or pink films forming on the crevices and surfaces on the inside of your ice maker. Do not wait until your ice gets weird dark spots on them or until your ice smells and tastes funky.

Ideally, you'd need to perform a deep clean at least once every 3 months. However, countertop ice makers that are used in high-traffic places like in an office party should be cleaned more often. You should also clean your ice maker following a party or a trip. This is because several people are in contact with the machine and contamination is more likely to happen in these situations than in a typical home setting.

Dirty hands digging into the basket can contaminate the ice. The continuous opening of the ice maker throughout the party can get dust and microbes inside.

Luckily, a portable or counter top ice maker is easier to clean and maintain compared to the bigger wall-mounted machines.

How to Clean Portable Ice Maker

Cleaning a portable ice maker is straightforward. You just need to unplug the machine, take out its removable parts, wash everything, put the machine back together, turn it back on, run a test, discard of the first batch of ice, and you are good to go.

However, if you are serious about doing an efficient cleaning job, here are a few tips to follow:

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  1. Refer to the machine's manual. The manual tells you the specific steps to take when cleaning and maintaining your ice maker depending on the model. It should also tell you which types of cleaning solutions are best to use on the machine. 
  2. Try to stick with natural cleaning solutions. Clean the machine using a mix of warm water, vinegar and an antibacterial soap. After a thorough rinse, rub the insides of the machine including the steel parts with fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice prevents rusting, removes unwanted odors and tastes that could rub off on the ice it will produce. 
  3. Include a small brush and some q-tips on your cleaning equipment. A washcloth may not be able to thoroughly reach the small spaces in the machine or on its parts. The brush and the q-tips will help get your cleaning solution to these hard-to-treat places. 
  4. Clean the outside of the machine too. Dust that has settled on the sides, the bottom and even near the opening of the ice maker can get inside and cause a contamination. Wipe these areas with a clean washcloth to remove dust. Follow it up with some sort of disinfectant. You may clean the outside with warm soapy water if there are stubborn dirt or stains that you need to get rid of. Just make sure to wipe the soap off afterwards or else you'll have a problem with soap residue.

So, now ask yourself, when was the last time you've done a thorough clean on your portable ice maker? If you can’t remember, then today is a good day for a cleaning!  

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