Hoshizaki Ice Machine Cleaning: Everything You Need to Know

Reading Time: 9 minutes Food/Ice Safety, Ice Machine Care

Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning

Responsible business owners seek to maintain a safe ice supply, and the obvious key to doing this is a clean ice machine. Not only is unclean ice dangerous for those who consume it, unwanted dirt and grime can cause a dirty ice machine to overheat – slowing down your ice production rate.

Proper Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning processes include not only disinfecting your ice equipment but descaling and sanitizing it as well. Descaling (removing mineral deposits), disinfecting (killing bacteria and removing debris), and sanitizing (reducing bacteria and growth build-up) help to keep your ice equipment operating at top capacity.

If you own a Manitowoc ice machine or Scotsman ice maker, click the links below to refer to brand-specific cleaning guides:

Note: This Hoshizaki cleaning guide and the others contain best practices we have gleaned from managing more than 25,000 ice machines nationwide, but various individual factors cannot be accounted for such as condition of your ice machine, its environment, the cleaning products you choose, etc. We recommend hiring a professional to handle this process to ensure the safety and continued production of your machine.

Hoshizaki Ice Machine Descaling, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing

All three processes are separate and vital components in the process of deep cleaning an ice machine. They should be completed one after another in the order of descaling, disinfecting, and sanitizing. The words “disinfect” and “sanitize” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two.

Descaling is a critical step that no ice machine owner should skip. Descaling is the process of removing buildup of limescale (also referred to as scale, calcium deposit, or calcium carbonate) from anywhere it has built up along the water circuit of an ice machine.

Disinfecting involves using a higher rate of solution than you would use during sanitizing. This solution helps to remove dirt, scale, grime, mold, and other microorganisms from the surface. This process requires that you wipe or scrub the surface clean, and then rinse the surface to flush away any remaining cleaner.

Sanitizing is the process of creating a barrier that protects against contamination. It requires using a manufacturer-recommended amount of solution to kill 99.99% of microorganisms from a surface. This solution is left on the surface to air dry, which gives the solution time to eliminate all contaminants thoroughly. You do not rinse during sanitizing. Sanitizing solutions, such as bleach, are considered safe by the Federal government, provided the cleaning and sanitizing instructions in this blog (or on the label on the inside of the ice machine) are followed.

Free, Printable Cleaning Schedule

A complete guide to ice machine cleaning and upkeep between service visits.

Ice Maker Cleaner Solutions and Dilution Rates to Note

It is very important that you avoid mixing bleach with other cleaners. The combination can create toxic fumes that can cause respiratory distress or harm to nearby people.

Because ice is considered a food by the FDA, you are required to use an EPA-registered, food contact bleach for your mixture. To find out if your bleach qualifies, read the label.

Descaling Solution

You will use a descaler solution to clean mineral deposits off your evaporator assembly, as well as the water reservoir, water distribution tubes, or drop zone. You should be able to order a descaler solution online.

For disinfecting and sanitizing, you will use mixtures of bleach and water. This applies to every interior and exterior surface we discuss below. The rates differ because the disinfecting solution must be rinsed away, while the sanitizing solution will be left on to air dry. The dilution rates may vary from our recommendations depending on which product you choose, but below we share ours to give you an idea of how disinfecting and sanitizing rates vastly differ.

Disinfecting Solution

To create the disinfectant solution for your Hoshizaki ice machine, mix 6 ounces bleach to 1 gallon water.

Sanitizing Solution

For the sanitizing stage, use a solution of 2 teaspoons bleach to 1 gallon water.

Start Hoshizaki Cleaning Process Here

Every time you embark on a Hoshizaki ice machine deep clean, start with these steps:

  1. Turn off the ice machine.
  2. Turn off the water to the ice machine. Ideally, there should be a shut-off valve located near the machine.
  3. Remove panels to access the interior of the ice machine. For more detailed instructions, read How to Access Inside Ice Maker Components.
  4. Empty the reservoir. To determine how to do this for your model, refer to the instruction manual.
  5. Replace the water filter (if you have one on your ice machine) per the instruction manual.

Which Hoshizaki Interior Components Should Be Deep Cleaned?

The interior parts of the ice machine that must be descaled, disinfected, and sanitized are

  • Bin Interior
  • Evaporator, Water Reservoirs, and Water Circulation Tubes
  • Drop Zones

Hoshizaki machines vary in design and size, and thus access to these interior components can also vary. In another blog, we will go over how to access the interior of a variety of ice makers.

You may encounter mold or slime (as well as limescale, which is addressed below) on the interior or exterior of any ice machine. During the descaling process, slime or mold that is attached to scale will be removed. Otherwise, any of these substances remaining will be removed during the disinfecting process. The key is the make sure all visible slime, mold, and scale are removed before the cleaning process is considered complete.

How is a Hoshizaki Ice Machine Descaled?

Limescale can build up inside an ice machine. This substance is usually white. It will spread if not completely removed. You may also know limescale as calcium carbonate, calcium deposit, or simply scale. Whatever you call it, be sure you remove it by descaling. Here’s how to remove it from food contact surfaces inside the ice machine:

Descale Your Hoshizaki Ice Machine Components

  1. First, turn the ice machine switch to “ice” position, which will allow the reservoir to fill with water.
  2. Add descaler solution. This is an acid, so be careful.
  3. Let the descaler and water solution circulate through the water circuits for 15 minutes.
  4. Drain the descaler and water solution. (If you’re not sure how to do this, refer to your ice machine’s instruction manual)
  5. Next, take apart the water circuit components. Take any removable parts to the sink. Thoroughly clean them by spraying with a solution of half water and half descaler, scrubbing as necessary to remove build-up, and then rinsing.
  6. Once you have gotten rid of all visible limescale, re-assemble the water circuit components.

How Do I Clean My Ice Bin, Drop Zones and Other Components?

The ice bin is responsible for holding your ice supply until someone needs it. Since dirty ice is a danger to those who consume it, cleaning your ice bin is of the utmost importance.

Ice bins are susceptible to mold and slime. Mold and slime thrive in dark, moist environments, and they feed off dust and yeast in the air. Unfortunately, ice storage bins provide the perfect environment for these growths.

Hoshizaki ice bin consists of an outside frame made of vinyl or stainless steel and a polyurethane interior. The interior liner is treated with antimicrobial agents to help limit mold and slime growth. However, they still need routine cleaning to maintain a safe ice supply. Read How to Clean Your Ice Machine Bin to learn how to identify and thoroughly descale, disinfect, and sanitize your ice bin to keep your ice supply safe.

How Do I Clean a Hoshizaki Ice Maker Evaporator?

Evaporators are susceptible to scale, which is caused by hard water in your ice maker.

Hoshizaki makes their evaporators out of stainless-steel. Where other brands require a nickel-safe cleaner, Hoshizaki’s stainless-steel evaporators are durable and able to hold up to harsh cleaners.

In our comprehensive evaporator blog, we explain how to identify which type of evaporator assembly is in your machine, where to find it, and how to descale, disinfect, and sanitize it.

How Do I Clean the Water Reservoirs and Drop Zones?

You’ll handle cleaning the water reservoir in a different manner than the other components. Rather than spraying it down with the disinfectant solution and then the sanitizer solution, the mixtures should be poured (separately) in one at a time. Be sure to pour in water to rinse the disinfectant solution away before adding the sanitizing solution and letting it air dry.

The drop zone is where ice travels to enter the storage bin. This area can be sprayed with your spray bottles of solution just like the ice bin directions above.

How Do I Clean the Outside of My Hoshizaki Ice Maker?

A Hoshizaki ice maker is made of stainless steel, which can look deceptively clean. However, microorganisms that you can’t see can still contaminate your ice supply.

Disinfecting and sanitizing the exterior of your Hoshizaki ice maker regularly will help to reduce food-borne contaminants that can make customers or staff sick.

How Do I Disinfect My Ice Maker’s Exterior?

Here’s how you disinfect the exterior of your Hoshizaki commercial ice maker:

  1. Pre-wash any soiled area with warm water.
  2. Wipe the area with the disinfectant solution.
  3. Let the solution sit for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse the area with water and let air.

How Do I Sanitize My Ice Maker’s Exterior?

  1. To sanitize further, wipe the area with the sanitization solution.
  2. Let it air dry.

How Do I Clean My Hoshizaki Ice Machine Condenser?

Ice machines condensers are susceptible to build-up of grease and airborne contaminants that may require cleaning more often than twice each year during the deep clean. Business owners who are cleaning their own machines would be wise to monitor and clean their ice machine condenser as needed. An unclean or clogged condenser can lead to unnecessary service calls, decrease ice production, and reduce ice maker’s lifespan.

Ice machine condensers may be either self-contained water-cooled, self-contained air-cooled, and remote air-cooled. Business owners intent on cleaning and maintaining their commercial ice machines themselves should know how to identify and clean the ice machine condenser. Read our blog to learn how to do so.

Isn’t the “Wash” Function on the Ice Maker Good Enough?

Don’t be fooled by a wash switch position or by a wash cycle on a Hoshizaki ice maker. Hoshizaki cubed ice machines are a bit tricky in that many of them come with a switch that says “wash.” This wash cycle does not take the place of a professional clean including disinfection and sanitization, though many people mistakenly assume it does.

The wash feature only operates a circulating pump that rinses about half of the food contact surfaces. This rinse is not enough. These surfaces (and the other half that the wash cycle can’t rinse) must be disinfected and sanitized. Do not make the mistake of substituting the wash switch for the deep cleans we have outlined above.

What Happens to the Ice While I’m Cleaning my Hoshizaki Ice Maker?

You should remove all ice from the ice bin before a Hoshizaki ice machine deep clean. We hardly need to point out the danger of any of the cleaning solutions contaminating ice that is then consumed by a person. You may have watched a professional ice machine tech deep clean an ice machine without removing the ice. Techs may do this in businesses or industries that cannot operate with a completely depleted ice supply and that do not have FDA approved procedures for safely storing ice, but it occurs rarely and is never recommended for non-professionals.

For those who are not ice machine technicians, we recommend emptying the ice bin completely before cleaning. If you intend to remove the ice and use it or put it back in later, you must follow FDA regulations for transporting and storing the ice.

Ice Machines Produce Better with Professional Cleaning

In addition to following a routine ice machine cleaning schedule, ice machines need professional cleaning, ice machine service, and ice machine repair. While routinely wiping it down will help keep your ice machine clean, only a professional Hoshizaki deep clean can get rid of pervasive scale, allow your machine to perform at its best, and help keep your ice supply safe. During such an appointment, a professional ice machine technician will dismantle the machine to disinfect and sanitize each component.

The Easy ice subscription program ensures that not only will you not have to worry about deep cleaning your ice machine again, you don’t even have to think about words like scale, slime, or mold. Our expert technicians lead the industry with their ice machine knowledge and attention to detail. Cleanings, maintenance, repairs, and even back-up ice are all part of the low monthly rate our customers pay. But what they really pay for is peace of mind and the comfort of knowing their ice needs will be met, no matter what. Learn more by contacting us today.

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