Hoshizaki Ice Machine Cleaning: Everything You Need to Know

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Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning

Responsible business owners seek to maintain a safe ice supply. Unclean ice dangerous to consume, and unwanted dirt and grime can even cause a dirty ice machine to overheat, slowing down your production rate or cutting it off altogether.

Keep a supply of all the ice you need & extend the lifespan of your equipment with our insider approach.

Proper Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning processes include not only disinfecting your equipment but descaling and sanitizing it as well. These steps help to keep your ice equipment operating at peak capacity.

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If you own a Manitowoc ice machine or Scotsman ice maker, refer to our brand-specific cleaning guides:

Note: This Hoshizaki cleaning guide contain best practices gleaned from managing more than 33,000 ice machines nationwide. However, we recommend hiring a professional to handle cleaning, as the condition of your unit, its environment, and the products you choose can impact your results.

How to Clean a Hoshizaki Ice Machine: Descaling, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing

While the words “disinfect” and “sanitize” are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between them.

Descaling refers to the process of removing limescale (also referred to as scale, calcium deposit, or calcium carbonate) from any place it has built up along the water circuits.

Disinfecting involves using an appropriate product to remove dirt, grime, mold, and other microorganisms. While disinfecting, you’ll wipe or scrub the surface, then rinse the surface to flush away any remaining cleaner.

Sanitizing is the process of creating a barrier that protects against contamination. It requires a manufacturer-recommended product that can kill 99.99% of microorganisms. Typically, sanitizers are left on the surface to air dry. You will not rinse sanitizers away. Sanitizing solutions, such as bleach, are considered safe by the federal government, provided that the instructions on the label on the inside of the unit are followed.

Ice Machine Cleaner Solutions and Dilution Rates

Bleach: Avoid mixing bleach with other cleaners. The combination can create toxic fumes that cause respiratory distress.

Because ice is considered to be a food by the FDA, you’ll need an EPA-registered bleach that is safe for food contact. To find out whether your bleach mixture qualifies, read the label.

Descaling Products: Use a descaler to pull mineral deposits off of your evaporator assembly, as well as the water reservoir, distribution tubes, and drop zone. Descaler can be ordered online.

Disinfecting and Sanitizing Products: For disinfecting and sanitizing, you will use mixtures of bleach and water. Dilution rates may vary depending on the product you choose, but below, we’ll share our formulations to give you an idea of how disinfecting and sanitizing ratios differ.

Disinfecting: Mix 6 ounces bleach to 1 gallon of water.

Sanitizing: Use a ratio of 2 teaspoons bleach to 1 gallon of water.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Hoshizaki Equipment

To start your deep clean, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the unit and water flowing to the unit.
  2. Remove panels to access the interior of the machine. For more detailed instructions, read How to Access Inside Ice Maker Components.
  3. Empty the reservoir.
  4. Replace the water filter (based on the model), following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Which Hoshizaki Interior Parts Should Be Deep Cleaned?

Hoshizaki models vary in design and size, and as such, access to these interior parts can also vary.

The interior parts of the unit that must be descaled, disinfected, and sanitized are:

  • Bin interior
  • Evaporator, reservoirs, and circulation tubes
  • Drop zones

During the descaling process, slime or mold attached to scale will be stripped away. Any remaining substances will be removed during the disinfecting process.

Dealing with Limescale

Limescale can build up inside your equipment. This substance is usually white. Here’s how to strip limescale from food contact surfaces inside the unit:

  1. First, turn the switch to the “ice” position, which will allow the reservoir to fill.
  2. Add descaler. This is an acid, so be careful.
  3. Let the descaler 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 machine’s instruction manual.
  5. Take apart the water circuit components. Spray them with a solution of half water and half descaler, scrubbing and rinsing to get rid of build-up.
  6. Re-assemble the water circuit components.

Cleaning the Ice Bin, Drop Zones and Other Components

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The Ice Bin and Drop Zone

Since dirty ice is dangerous to consume, cleaning your bin is vital.

Hoshizaki ice bin consists of an outside frame made of vinyl or stainless steel and a polyurethane interior liner treated with antimicrobial agents to reduce bacteria.

Read How to Clean Your Ice Machine Bin to learn how to identify and thoroughly descale, disinfect, and sanitize your bin.

The drop zone can be sprayed with your solution, following the same instructions as the bin.

The Hoshizaki Ice Maker Evaporator

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

Hoshizaki evaporators are made from stainless steel. Where other brands require a nickel-safe cleaner, Hoshizaki’s evaporators are able to hold up to harsher cleansers.

Water Reservoirs

You’ll handle the water reservoir in a different manner. Instead of spraying, the mixtures should be poured in one at a time. Make sure to pour in water to remove the disinfectant solution before adding the sanitizing solution.

The Exterior of Your Hoshizaki Ice Maker

Disinfecting and sanitizing the exterior of your Hoshizaki ice maker regularly will help to reduce food-borne contaminants.

Disinfect the Exterior

Disinfect the exterior of your Hoshizaki commercial ice maker by:

  1. Pre-washing the area with warm water and letting it drain.
  2. Wiping the area with disinfectant solution.
  3. Letting the solution sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinsing it with water.
  5. Letting it air dry.

Sanitize the Exterior

  1. Wipe the area with the sanitization solution.
  2. Let it air dry.

The Condenser

Grease and airborne contaminants can block your condenser. Ice machines condensers that are blocked require regular maintenance. A clogged condenser can lead to unnecessary service calls, reduced production, and a shorter equipment lifespan.

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

Don’t be fooled by a label on a switch or a cycle on a Hoshizaki ice maker. This cycle does not take the place of a professional clean that includes disinfection and sanitization.

The wash switch will run a circulating pump that rinses about half of the food contact surfaces. This flush is not enough. These surfaces (and the other half that the wash cycle can’t rinse) must be disinfected and sanitized by hand.

What Happens to the Ice During Cleaning on My Hoshizaki Ice Maker?

You may have watched a professional 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 supply, but this is never recommended for non-professionals.

Take all ice out of the bin before performing a deep clean. If you intend to put the ice back in later, you must follow FDA regulations for transporting and storing it.

Ice Machines Produce Better with Professional Cleaning

In addition to following a routine ice machine cleaning schedule, ice machines need professional upkeep, ice machine service, and ice machine repairs to continue running safely. While routinely wiping it down correctly will help keep your ice machine stay clean, only a professional service can get rid of pervasive scale that may block or contaminate the ice and allow your machine to perform at its best. During your service appointment, a professional ice machine technician will dismantle the machine to disinfect and sanitize each component, including the compressor, condenser, bins, and drop zones.

The Easy ice managed rental program ensures your equipment can run smoothly. Cleanings, maintenance, repairs, and even back-up ice are all part of the low monthly rate our customers pay, delivering security and peace of mind. Learn more by contacting us today.

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