What is the Best Ice Machine Cleaner for Routine Cleaning?

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Ice Machine Cleaner

A commercial ice machine is one appliance you can’t afford to ignore. Commercial ice makers need thorough cleaning on a regular basis, as mold, slime, bacteria, and other contaminants can accumulate over time, making the ice unsafe.

Ice machines installed in a standard work environment need at least two professional cleanings a year. However, contamination can still occur in between deep cleanings.

To keep your ice supply safe, employees should follow some routine ice machine maintenance procedures. This includes wiping down and sanitizing units—and you’ll need to use the right ice machine cleaning products and maintenance procedures to do that.

Ice Machine Cleaning: Why It Matters

Ice is considered to be a food product by the FDA, which means that it must be handled in a sanitary manner. Most business owners are not ice machine experts, yet they often attempt to handle equipment cleanings on their own. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not going to be able to maintain a sanitary ice supply.

3 ice cubes

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A dirty ice machine can cost a business more than just its customers. When an ice maker is dirty, the ice cube production slows down and energy-efficiency is lost. This leads to higher energy costs and premature replacement expenses.

With all of this in mind, we’ve put together these easy-to-follow guide to the best way to clean your ice machine, a complete guide to ice machine cleaning and upkeep between service visits.

People with decreased immune response, the elderly, and children are especially susceptible to food-borne illnesses. If you don’t know how to clean your ice machine, you could easily make your customers sick. And if you have sick customers, you’ll start losing business. Ice contamination can cause some serious problems for your organization!

Which Ice Machine Cleaners Are Best for an Ice Maker’s Exterior?

You should clean and disinfect the exterior of the ice machine daily, just like you’d need to clean any other regularly used appliance in your business.

Curious about the right cleaner for your ice machine’s exterior? Thankfully, you can use just about any disinfecting agents approved by the EPA as safe for food zone surfaces.

For highly soiled areas, you’ll want to wash the area with warm soapy water and a damp cloth or a soft bristle nylon brush to get rid of any caked-on grease or grime, including mineral deposits. You may need to scrub stubborn deposits. Doing this will clear the way for the disinfecting agent to do its job.

Before applying your cleaner and sanitizer solutions with a spray bottle, make sure to read the label to see if the cleaner you’re using can kill the contaminants you’re looking to eliminate. While many cleaners will kill most bacteria, some viruses like coronavirus or norovirus can be harder to kill.

You also need to make sure the ice maker cleaner you choose is diluted at the right amount, as abrasive cleaners may harm the surface of your unit if the ratio of cleanser to water is incorrect.

Finally, make sure that the product you use is left on the surface long enough to work.

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Which Ice Machine Cleaners Are Best for an Ice Maker’s Interior?

Interior ice machine cleaning is best left to a professional.

Bear in mind that trying to clean an ice machine yourself can lead to damage that might void your warranty.

At Easy Ice, we professionally clean commercial ice machines at least twice a year at a minimum. Challenging environments—like bakeries, pizzerias, breweries, and dusty warehouses—often require more than two professional cleanings per year to combat rapid mold growth from yeast and dust in the air.

What Happens During a Professional Cleaning Cycle?

Professional cleanings involve dismantling the unit and cleaning each component with a specialized ice machine cleaner.

If you are an Easy Ice customer, you can leave the professional cleaning to us. We monitor every ice machine’s service history under our subscription program to guarantee problems do not affect machine performance. This allows your ice making machine to stay completely clean and safe.

Cleaning Individual Components and Interior Surfaces

There are some user-friendly ways to clean certain components within your ice machine, like the evaporator plate. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use an ice machine cleaner recommended by the manufacturer in the machine’s manual or you could risk damaging the ice machine.

Hoshizaki ice machines have a stainless-steel evaporator plate that can withstand most harsh cleaners. A cleaner like a food-grade, 85% phosphoric acid cleaner will do just fine.

Manitowoc ice machines (and most ice machines from other brands) use a nickel-plated evaporator plate that requires a nickel-safe ice maker cleaner. Using harsh chemicals on these plates can cause significant damage that will require costly repairs to fix. Manitowoc makes a nickel-safe cleaner to use on their ice machine models.

A quality professional ice machine service should clean your ice machine inside and out—especially the evaporator plate. Scale from hard water can cause several expensive problems for commercial ice machine evaporators—which is why Easy Ice cleans evaporators during every one of our preventive maintenance visits.

Which Cleaners for Ice Makers Are Best for the Interior of the Ice Bin?

Cleaning your ice bin requires a few more steps than simply disinfecting the surface. An ice bin’s interior lining is considered a food-contact surface. These are areas where food—including ice—touches the surface of the area.

Common food-contact surfaces include cutting boards, prep areas, and serving trays.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to disinfect and sanitize the inside of your bin using an approved ice machine sanitizer. This will help to rid the machine of contaminants and keep your customers safe from toxic cleaners.

Use a Food-Safe Cleaning Solution

There are plenty of food-safe cleaners recommended by the EPA that can double as an ice machine cleaner. However, it’s important to rinse any food-contact surface after using a disinfectant.

Many disinfectants are much too concentrated to leave on a food-contact surface and can be toxic to people. For this reason, it’s important to read the directions on the product you use to determine whether your cleaner needs to be mixed with water. In many cases, products will be sprayed on, although some may have directions to apply the product with a soft cloth. Either way, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves while handling cleaning and sanitizing cycles for your machine.

When cleaning an ice machine bin, make sure to shut the machine off and empty the ice bin. You don’t want any of the cleaner to contaminate your ice supply while rinsing.

Since an ice bin’s interior is a food-contact surface, you want to make sure you sanitize the area to keep it safe from bacterial growth.

Many disinfecting agents double as a sanitizing agent when used at a lower concentration. Check your cleaner’s label for instructions on “sanitizing” for instructions on creating a safely diluted water and sanitizer mixture.

With a sanitizing product, you do not want to rinse the solution after applying it to the bin’s interior. Instead, allow the mixture to air dry.

Once the solution is dry, you can turn the machine back on and close the bin door.

Clean Your Ice Machine Regularly, but Leave Deep Cleaning to the Professionals

Having your staff follow a daily ice machine cleaning schedule and utilizing ice handling best practices will help ensure your ice supply stays safe.

When it’s time for a more in-depth cleaning, a qualified ice machine technician is the best person to deep clean individual parts within the unit, such as:

  • The ice machine head section
  • The water dump valve
  • The ice machine condenser
  • Other components and ice machine areas that hold complex parts

To support the safe, continued operation of your ice maker, ensure your employees are keeping the ice machine wiped down and sanitized between visits.

Make It Easier Than Ever to Maintain Your Commercial Ice Maker

At Easy Ice, our ice machine subscriptions include 2 preventive maintenance visits and comprehensive cleanings a year. We only offer high-quality commercial ice makers from Hoshizaki and Manitowoc, and we perform heavy cleanings and ice machine maintenance for our customers during every visit.

Our program offers a great selection of hotel ice machines, restaurant ice machines, office ice machines, and industrial ice machines. To learn more about our managed rentals and enjoy all the ice you need at a low, affordable price, get in touch with our experts today!

Our team is available to help you get started today!