A commercial ice machine is one appliance you can’t afford to ignore. Commercial ice machines need thorough cleaning regularly. Mold, slime, bacteria, and other contaminants can accumulate, 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 between deep cleanings. To keep your ice supply safe, employees should follow some routine ice machine maintenance procedures. This includes wiping down and sanitizing ice machines – and you’ll need to use the right ice machine cleaner to do that.
Cleaning an Ice Machine is a Top Priority
Ice is considered a food product by the FDA and is required to be sanitary. Most business owners are not ice machine experts, yet they often handle equipment cleanings themselves. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not going to maintain a sanitary ice supply.
A dirty ice machine can cost a business more than customers. When the ice maker is dirty, the ice cube production slows down, and energy-efficiency is lost. This leads to higher energy costs and replacement ice expenses. We’ve put together these easy to follow guide for the best way to clean your ice machine.
People with decreased immunity, the elderly, and children are especially susceptible to food (or ice) bourn illnesses. If you don’t know how to clean the ice machine, you’ll have sick customers. And if you have sick customers, you’ll start losing customers. Ice contamination can cause some serious problems for your business!
Which Ice Machine Cleaners are Best for an Ice Maker’s Exterior?
You should clean and disinfect the exterior of the ice machine daily, along with the rest of your business, whenever your cleaning staff does their rounds.
When choosing an ice machine cleaner for your ice machine’s exterior, you can use just about any disinfecting agents approved by the EPA.
For highly soiled areas, you’ll want to wash the area with soap and warm water to get rid of any caked-on grease or grime, so the disinfecting agent can do its job.
“You should clean and disinfect the exterior of the ice machine daily, along with the rest of your business, whenever your cleaning staff does their rounds.”
Before applying your ice machine cleaner, make sure to read the label to see if the cleaner you’re using can kill the contaminant you’re looking to eliminate. While many cleaners will kill most bacteria, viruses like coronavirus or norovirus are harder to kill. You want to make sure the ice maker cleaner you choose is diluted at the right amount and is left on the surface long enough to work.
Which Ice Machine Cleaners are Best for an Ice Maker’s Interior?
Cleaning the interior of your ice machine is best done by a professional. 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.
Professional cleanings involve dismantling the ice machine and cleaning each component with a specialized ice machine cleaner. Trying to professionally clean the interior of your ice machine yourself can lead to damage that might void your warranty. If your and 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 ice machines stay clean and safe.
There are some user-friendly ways to clean certain components within your ice machine, like the evaporator plate. Keep in mind, you’ll need to use an ice machine cleaner recommended by the manufacturer, or you could risk damaging the ice machine.
“Trying to professionally clean the interior of your ice machine yourself can lead to damage that might void your warranty.”
Manitowoc ice machines (and many 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 expensive ice machine repairs to fix. Manitowoc makes a nickel-safe cleaner to use on their ice machine models.
Keep in mind, a quality 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 Ice Maker Cleaners are Best for an Ice Bin Interior?
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, to rid the machine of contaminants and keep your customers safe from toxic cleaners.
“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.”
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. 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 when 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 mixing a safe dilution rate. With sanitizing, 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 the 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. A qualified ice machine technician is the best person to deep clean individual parts within the unit. Make sure your employees are keeping the ice machine wiped down and sanitized between visits.
Our ice machine subscriptions include 2 preventive maintenance visits and comprehensive cleanings a year. We only offer high-quality ice machines from Hoshizaki and Manitowoc. We do the heavy cleanings for our customers during every preventive maintenance visit.
Our program offers a great selection of hotel ice machines, restaurant ice machines, office ice machines, and industrial ice machines!