How to Clean an Ice Machine | Ice Machine Cleaning

Food Service/Processing

How to Clean an Ice Machine

Commercial ice machines are the unsung workhorses of the beverage and foodservice industries, keeping drinks at optimal temperatures for taste and safety. Yet this piece of equipment can easily be forgotten when it comes to cleaning, allowing deposits including lime scale and mold to develop that could contaminate ice and put customers at risk for illness. Since ice is considered a food by the FDA, it’s important to meet government standards by regularly cleaning and sanitizing all components. Do you know how to clean an ice machine? Follow the step-by-step instructions below to keep ice production and safety rock solid at your facility.

How To Clean Ice Machine | Ice Machine Cleaning | SuppliesSupplies You’ll Need to Clean an Ice Machine

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – including rubber gloves and protective safety glasses
  • Synthetic scrub pad or stainless steel wool
  • Nyco® Ice Machine Cleaner
  • Nyco® N601+ Sanitizer
  • Nyco® Coil Cleaner
  • Pail for fresh water
  • Paper towels/clean cloths
  • Sponge/non-abrasive pads

Directions for How to Clean an Ice Machine

The interior and exterior of your ice machine should be cleaned weekly to remove water scale and other deposits that can interfere with machine function.

Interior Ice Machine Cleaning:

  1. Turn off ice machine and remove all ice from bin or dispenser
  2. Wipe the interior of the bin to remove excess water and loose dirt and soil
  3. Apply properly diluted Ice Machine Cleaner to interior of the bin. Nyco® Ice Machine Cleaner is NSF certified, meaning it meets the rigorous standards of the National Sanitation Foundation for protecting customer health.
  4. Allow cleaner to remain on surfaces to dissolve scale and deposits; scrub stubborn deposits as needed
  5. Rinse with fresh water
  6. Wipe dry and apply sanitizing solution. Nyco® N601+ is a no rinse, food contact sanitizer that has multiple applications, including ice machines.
  7. Allow to dry before turning on machine

Exterior Ice Machine Cleaning:

  1. Wipe exterior surfaces to remove loose dirt and soil
  2. Apply diluted Ice Machine Cleaner to exterior surfaces
  3. Use a damp cloth or non-abrasive pad to remove deposits
  4. Rinse with fresh water
  5. Wipe dry and apply sanitizing solution. Nyco® N601+ will do nicely again.
  6. Allow to dry
PRO TIP:  Water quality can affect machine performance. Have your water tested if ice flavor is not optimal.

Machine Operational Cleaning/Sanitizing Cycles

Plan to run your interior operational system cleaning and sanitizing cycles at least once every six months, more often in hard water areas. Run a cleaning cycle more often if and when you notice any of the following:

  • Machine is slow to release and/or harvest ice
  • There is low ice output
  • Your ice cubes are soft or cloudy
  • Your cubes are smaller than usual

Cleaning Cycle:

  1. Turn off machine and allow ice to melt off evaporator
  2. Remove access covers
  3. If equipped, turn on CLEAN/WASH cycle
  4. Wait for water to fill trough and flow over evaporator
  5. Add properly diluted Ice Machine Cleaner to trough
  6. Let machine run through cleaning cycle
  7. Turn off machine
  8. Remove and clean interior parts as needed (follow manufacturer’s directions); heavily scaled parts may need to soak in diluted cleaning solution
  9. Rinse parts and all areas with clean water

Sanitizing Cycle:

  1. If equipped, turn on CLEAN/WASH cycle
  2. Wait for water to fill trough and flow over evaporator
  3. Add properly diluted sanitizing solution to trough. Let machine run through sanitizing cycle
  4. Turn off machine
  5. Sanitize any removed parts and allow to air dry – do not rinse
  6. Replace any removed parts
  7. Replace access covers
  8. Turn on machine

Remember that any ice produced during the above cleaning and sanitizing cycles must be discarded, as well as the first batch produced after cleaning.

PRO TIP:  For maximum effectiveness and safety, be careful not to mix cleaner and sanitizer.

Condenser and Filter Cleaning

For optimal airflow and performance, the ice maker condenser and its filter should also be cleaned every six months. Follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off power
  2. Clean the coils with Nyco® Coil Cleaner to remove soils and dirt, so your machine will run at optimal efficiency. Take care to avoid sharp fins.
  3. Restart machine

Don’t lose your cool! By having a simple ice machine maintenance plan in place you can avoid unhappy customers and costly repairs. Cleaning and sanitizing your commercial ice maker on a regular basis will keep your ice looking and tasting great while protecting your investment and customer safety. As a recap, you can download and post these Procedures for How to Clean an Ice Machine.


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