A countertop ice maker is super useful at parties or just anytime you need ice (margaritas, anyone?). The thing is, knowing how to clean an ice maker is important if you want that ice to taste okay.
Fortunately, keeping your ice maker fresh and sanitized really just comes down to following a simple process. It's fast, easy, and uses stuff you already have around the house.
How to Clean a Countertop Ice Maker in Five Steps
Because a portable ice maker uses water, it's prone to getting a little funky. When that happens, it can affect the flavor of the ice and possibly even make people sick. Avoiding the funk is super simple, though.
Perform this regular ice maker cleaning routine about once a month if you use your ice maker a lot. If you don't use it often and it's stored dry, you can clean it less frequently.
1. Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
To clean your ice maker, you're going to need a few things:
- Two washcloths or dish cloths
- Dish towel
- Warm water
- Dish soap
2. Unplug the Ice Maker and Empty It
Before you get started, unplug the ice maker so it doesn't start up while you're trying to clean it. Remove any ice. If it has built up any frost, let it defrost completely before you get started. Empty out any water in the machine.
3. Wipe Down the Outside of the Ice Maker
Mix warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl. Soak a cloth in the soapy water and wipe down the outside of the machine. Rinse with clean water and dry.
4. Mix Up a Homemade Ice Maker Cleaning Solution
You can buy a chemical product from the store to clean ice makers, but it's actually way easier just to make your own with vinegar and water. Mix 10 parts warm water and one part white vinegar in a bowl.
5. Run the Cleaning Solution Through the Machine
Pour the cleaning solution into the ice maker and plug it in. Run it through a cycle. Once it's done, discard the vinegar ice and repeat with plain water to rinse it out.
Tips to Deep Clean a Countertop Ice Maker That Has Mold
If you notice black specks in your ice cubes or a residue of mold in your ice maker, you need to do a deeper cleaning. This will involve more than vinegar, but it's not difficult. Keep these tips in mind.
- You can use a commercial ice maker sanitizing solution to deep clean the ice maker. This is available in home stores.
- Alternatively, mix up a weak bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 20 parts water.
- Soak moldy parts in bleach water to kill mold and scrub with a soft toothbrush.
- Run the bleach water or cleaning solution through the ice maker and allow it to sit for a few hours.
- Always rinse with clean water after deep cleaning.
- If you can still see mold or smell it, it's still there. Repeat the deep cleaning process until it's gone.
Keep Your Portable Ice Maker Clean Longer
Once your portable ice maker is clean, you can keep it that way by never storing it with water in it. Water provides a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, so if your ice maker is dry, it's less likely to require deep cleaning. Less cleaning means more time for you to do other things you enjoy, so we're all for extending the time between jobs.