The Best Way to Clean Your Ice Machine: A Comprehensive Guide
Cleaning your ice machine regularly is essential if you want to provide a safe ice supply to your customers and staff. Ice machines are notoriously neglected, which is why they are one of the first appliances health inspectors will check. We’ve provided this helpful guide to ice machine cleaning to answer all your questions!
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What’s the Difference Between Disinfecting and Sanitizing?
Commercial ice machines require cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing to keep your ice supply safe. The best way to clean your ice machine is with soap and water. This helps to eliminate dirt, dust, scale, and grime from your ice machine. Disinfecting and sanitizing are just as important if you want to kill off remaining microorganisms and provide an environment free of harmful contaminants.
Disinfecting Your Ice Machine
Disinfecting involves using a EPA-approved disinfecting agent to inactivate all manner of bacteria, viruses, and mold spores from a surface. Many areas on an ice machine, like the bin liner, are considered food surfaces. Food surfaces require that you apply the disinfecting agent on the surface, leave it for 10 minutes, and then rinse the surface of all disinfecting agent.
Sanitizing Your Ice Machine
Sanitizing is the process of applying a diluted disinfecting agent to food contact surfaces. Follow instructions for sanitization dilution rates. This helps to reduce 99.99% of bacterial contaminants. Unlike disinfectants, sanitizing solutions can be left on a food contact surface to air dry, which gives the solution time to eliminate all contaminants thoroughly.
What's the Best Way to Clean an Ice Maker?
No matter the brand, cleaning your ice maker is necessary to keep ice sanitary, protect customers and staff, and eliminate scale from hard water in your ice maker. Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning and Manitowoc ice machine cleaning processes are generally the same with a few minor differences. Hoshizaki ice machine evaporator plates are made of high-grade stainless-steel, which can withstand highly acidic cleaners. Manitowoc evaporators are nickel-plated and require a nickel-safe cleaner. Using strong phosphoric acids on these machines will cause damage.
What's the Best Way to Clean My Machine from Mold and Slime?
Mold and slime love ice machines because they provide a dark and damp environment. Yeast particles in the air from baking bread or serving beer also help to feed these growths. While mold and slime are not dangerous to people, they will cause a health inspector to write a violation if they find excessive amounts in your ice machine. The best way to combat mold and slime is to stick to a light cleaning regimen in addition to professional cleanings.
What's the Best Way to Clean My Ice Machine of Scale Build Up?
Scale is a result of minerals in the water combining and then sticking to the inside of your ice machine. As water flows through soil and rock, it picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals are not dangerous to people, but when scale forms, it can do a number on your ice maker. Scale clings to vital components and can lead to expensive repairs. Water softeners and treatment filters are the best way to deal with scale.
How Do I Prevent Sediment from Building in My Ice Machine?
Sediment naturally occurs in water the same way as minerals do. As water flows through the soil, it picks up sediment. Water will also pick up rust particles as it runs through old piping systems. Generally, these particles are not harmful to people, but they can cause damage to your ice machine. Water filtration is the best way to reduce the amount of sediment in your ice machine.
What Else Needs Cleaning?
Ice bins: Your ice bin stores your ice, so you want to make sure it’s free of contaminants that can ruin your ice supply and make customers or staff sick. Both the interior and exterior of the ice machine need routine cleaning.
Ice Machine Water Filtration
Providing proper water filtration for your ice maker helps to trap contaminants, sediment, and mineral deposits. These substances hinder the effectiveness of your ice machine by clogging distribution tubes and damaging ice maker components. Water filters require replacing every few months, depending on the type of filter. We install water filters on every commercial ice machine we service. There are three types of ice maker filters we recommend:
What Are the Costs of Maintaining an Ice Machine?
Commercial ice machines require professional maintenance and cleaning to stay in working condition. Without them, you’ll likely face health inspection violations, lower ice production, and expensive repairs. It’s best to contact a qualified ice machine technician to perform preventive maintenance and deep cleaning on your ice maker.
Ice machine preventive maintenance helps to keep your machine running smoothly. You'll need a qualified ice machine technician to optimize the ice machine, so your ice production rate stays high. It also helps technicians spot any potential ice machine issues that can lead to big problems that require expensive repairs. Your average preventive maintenance costs around $300 per visit. Ice machine manufacturers suggest you receive at least two maintenance visits a year.
The best way to clean you ice maker of contaminants is to have your employees perform daily light cleaning. However, ice machines require professional cleaning from time to time. Professional cleanings require dismantling the ice machine and using specialized chemicals to rid the unit of germs, mold, and scale. Manufacturers recommend getting two cleanings visits a year, more if your ice machine is in a challenging environment like a bakery or brewery. Cleanings cost around $250 per visit.
Ice machine repair costs range depending on the issue. They can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Here are some examples of some common ice machine repairs and their estimated costs:
- Hot Gas Valve Replacement - $600
- Expansion Valve - $600
- Compressor Repair - $1500
- Evaporator Repair - $2500
Ice maker breakdowns can severely hurt business and force you to spend hundreds on replacement ice.
Keep Your Ice Machine Clean and Sanitary with Our All-Inclusive Subscription
Our commercial ice subscription is not just another ice machine lease option. Your affordable monthly payment covers biannual preventive maintenance, professional cleanings, all repairs, and backup ice. Our ice equipment receives the absolute best care, thanks to our team of ice machine experts. Easy Ice technicians know how to clean and sanitize commercial ice machines better than anybody else in the industry, so you can be confident that your ice supply is always free of bacteria, debris, and other nasty contaminants.
An Easy Ice subscription is the most convenient, cost-effective way to get a commercial ice machine and keep it clean.
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