What Happens if I Don’t Clean my Ice Machine on a Regular Basis?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Food/Ice Safety, Ice Machines 101


Commercial ice machines need to be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.  If they’re not, slime, bacteria and mold will accumulate, making the ice unsafe for consumption.  In between deep cleanings, ice machines must be regularly wiped down and sanitized.

People with decreased immunity, the elderly and children are especially susceptible to food (or ice) bourn illnesses.  If you don’t keep the ice machine clean, you’ll have sick customers.  And if you have sick customers, you’ll start losing customers.  Even if the ice isn’t contaminated enough to make someone sick, the ice will taste weird.  And not weird in a good way!

Have you ever seen the program Restaurant:Impossible?  Chef Robert is constantly checking kitchen equipment for signs of filth and contamination.  And the worst offenses usually involve the ice machine.  Chef Robert will wipe a finger along the inside of an ice bin and come away with black slime on his finger.  You don’t want to serve your customers or employees slimy ice!

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 production slows down and energy-efficiency is lost.  This leads to higher energy costs and replacement ice expenses.

Our ice machine subscriptions include 2 preventive maintenance visits and comprehensive cleanings a year.  We do the heavy cleanings for our customers.  And we depend on them to keep the ice machine wiped down and sanitized, and air filters cleaned in between visits.

A dirty ice machine with slimy ice is not cool!

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