To say no one wants dirty ice is an understatement. Keeping your ice machine clean should be a number one priority. Manitowoc ice machine cleaning not only keeps your ice sanitary, but it also maintains the ice machine’s performance. A clean ice machine will operate more efficiently than a dirty ice machine.
Many business owners opt to pay a professional ice machine tech to perform their recommended cleanings. Easy Ice subscription customers get to sit back and let us handle it. However, if you are looking to DIY clean your Manitowoc ice maker, you’ve come to the right place for everything you need to know.
Cleaning commercial ice equipment involves three steps:
- Descaling (removing mineral deposits)
- Disinfecting (killing microorganisms)
- Sanitizing (reducing bacteria and growth build-up)
If you own a Hoshizaki ice machine or Scotsman ice maker, refer to these brand-specific ice machine cleaning instructions:
Keep in mind that this blog should be considered a collection of best practices, 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 an ice machine technician to handle this process to ensure the safety and continued production of your machine.
Descaling, Disinfecting and Sanitizing Your Manitowoc Ice Machine
Cleaning commercial ice equipment involves more than wiping away the dirt and grime. Ice machines also must be descaled, disinfected, and sanitized to be considered truly clean.
Descaling is the first step of the cleaning process and involves removing mineral deposits. We’ll address it in detail in the Descale section of Cleaning the Interior of an Ice Machine below.
Disinfecting is the process of using chemicals to kill microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. During this process, any remaining algae, mold or slime should be removed.
Sanitizing uses a lower concentration of chemicals to drop the number of bacteria to federally recognized health standards. See Important Cleaning Solutions and Dilutions below.
Manitowoc generally recommends two annual cleanings. Some businesses can get away with one, whereas some may need three or four major cleanings every year. Numerous factors affect the frequency of cleaning, including usage and ice machine environment. Of course, in between these more thorough cleans, the machine should be wiped down as needed due to spillage or any noticeable internal or external dirtiness.
Important Cleaning Solutions and Dilutions
While quat-based cleaners can be used for sanitization and dilution, we recommend a diluted solution of bleach and water. The bleach and water combination is just as effective, and most businesses have bleach on hand. Make sure the bleach you use has an EPA registration number; this means it is qualified for use on food contact surfaces like ice machine components.
Bleach will need to be diluted before you use it, and there is a different rate of dilution for disinfecting and sanitizing. Dilution rates may vary depending on the product you use, but below we share our dilution rates to give you an idea of how greatly disinfecting and sanitizing rates differ.
DO NOT mix bleach with other cleaners. The combination can produce harmful, toxic fumes that can cause respiratory distress.
Descaling: Descaling is conducted with a descaler solution, which you can find online. Scale can build up on the ice machine’s evaporator assembly, water reservoir, water distribution tubes, or drop zone. We’ll explain below how to descale these components.
Disinfection: Due to higher amounts of bleach, disinfectant solution must be rinsed away. To create the disinfectant solution, mix 6 ounces of bleach with 1 gallon of water.
Sanitization: Sanitization mixture should be measured as follows: 2 teaspoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Because sanitizing solution is more diluted than disinfection solution, no rinse is required. Local and state health departments may have different sanitization ratio requirements. Be sure to check yours.
How to Prepare to Clean a Manitowoc Ice Machine
Anytime you want to clean your Manitowoc ice machine, begin with the following steps:
- Turn off the ice machine.
- Turn off water to the ice maker, preferably with a nearby shut-off valve so you don’t have to turn off all water to the building.
- Remove panels to access the interior of the ice machine. For more detailed instructions, read How to Access Inside Ice Maker Components.
- Empty the reservoir by following the instructions located in your Manitowoc ice machine instruction manual.
- Replace the water filter if your ice machine has one. The industry standard is to replace this every six months.
How to Clean Your Manitowoc Ice Maker’s Exterior
A Manitowoc commercial ice maker is made of stainless steel and plastic. Wiping dirt and grime off the machine is easy, but you also want to make sure you also clean harmful microorganisms that can make people sick.
Disinfecting and sanitizing your Manitowoc ice machine’s exterior will reduce the chance of users accidentally contaminating the ice supply by first touching the dirty exterior of the ice machine and then scooping ice. It is also recommended as part of the twice-annual deep cleaning that Manitowoc suggests to prolong the life and safety of their ice machines
How to Disinfect Your Ice Maker’s Exterior
- Pre-wash any soiled area with warm water.
- Then wipe down the area with the bleach solution according to the dilution rates listed above.
- Let the solution sit for at least 10 minutes. This is called “wet contact time,” and 10 minutes is the minimum required length of time.
- Rinse the area with water, and let it air dry before sanitizing.
How to Sanitize Your Ice Maker’s Exterior
- To sanitize further, wipe the exterior of the ice machine with the sanitization mixture recommended in the dilution section above.
- Let it air dry.
Don’t forget your ice scoop or storage bin door! Follow the instructions above to disinfect and sanitize the ice machine scoop and door.
How to Clean a Manitowoc Ice Machine Condenser
Ice machines condensers often need to be cleaned more frequently than the recommended twice-yearly deep clean. Condensers can experience build-up of grease and a variety of airborne contaminants. Left uncleaned for too long, a condenser can lead to unnecessary service calls, decreased production, and reduced equipment life.
The three styles of ice machine condenser are self-contained water-cooled, self-contained air-cooled, and remote air-cooled. If you are planning to clean and care for your own commercial ice machine, learn how to identify and clean the unit’s condenser in our blog on the topic.
How to Clean Your Manitowoc Ice Maker’s Interior
All food contact surfaces of your ice machine should be cleaned, including:
- Bin Interior
- Water Reservoir
- Drop Zone
Depending on which Manitowoc ice machine you have, the most efficient way to access interior components may be from the front, the top, or the side. We cover how to identify your model and specifically how to get to the internal components in an upcoming blog called How to Access the Interior of Your Ice Machine. Continue reading below to learn more about cleaning the interior of your machine.
How to Descale Interior Components
Limescale is the white buildup that can develop on commercial ice makers. It’s also called calcium carbonate, calcium deposit, or scale, for short. When this builds up, it requires descaling to remove. Descaling should be completed as the first step in the deep cleaning, followed by disinfecting and sanitizing.
- Turn the ice machine switch to clean position, which will allow the water reservoir to fill with water. (New Manitowoc ice machines may have a “clean button” on the touchpad. Press this and select “Turn off when complete.”)
- Add descaler solution (be careful – it’s an acid) into the water reservoir. New machines will say “Add chemical” when ready and will require you to confirm on the touch pad that you added descaler.
- After going through this cycle, your Manitowoc ice machine will start a wash cycle and will rinse leaving the reservoir empty. New machines will perform six rinse and flush cycles.
- Note: Scale remover will become neutralized after time, losing its effectiveness. After about 10 minutes of circulating, if you notice scale build up remain, repeat steps 1-3.
- Next, disassemble the water circuit components. Take parts to the sink and do a thorough clean by spraying them off with a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 solution of descaler and water, scrubbing them with a brush, and rinsing them.
- Re-assemble once all visible scale is gone.
How to Clean Your Manitowoc Ice Maker’s Bin
Ice bins and dispensers hold ice until it’s ready to use. Since your ice will spend most of its time sitting in a bin, cleaning your ice bin is the best way to keep your ice supply safe.
The main contaminants you’re likely to find in your ice bin are algae, mold, and slime. Mold and slime love dark, moist environments where they can feed off the dust and yeast in the air. Unfortunately, an ice bin checks all those boxes.
A Manitowoc ice bin is often lined with vinyl and plastic. Some larger ice bins are made of stainless steel. The interior of the bin is lined with antimicrobial-treated polyurethane, which helps to slow down the growth of mold and slime, but it won’t eliminate it altogether. The best way to keep these growths out of your ice bin is to disinfect and sanitize it regularly.
Refer to this blog to learn more about which ice bin you have and the specific instructions for thoroughly descaling, disinfecting, and sanitizing an ice bin.
Cleaning Manitowoc Water Reservoirs and Drop Zones
The water reservoir is cleaned slightly differently from other areas. Instead of spraying it down with the solutions (first disinfectant, then sanitizer solution), the mixtures should be poured directly into the reservoirs. Start with the disinfectant solution and leave it in for at least 10 minutes. Follow this up with a water rinse. Then add the sanitizer solution and allow it to 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.
How to Clean a Manitowoc Evaporator
Access to a Manitowoc ice machine’s evaporator assembly is not universal. Evaporators vary from model to model including what they look like, where they are located, and how best to clean them.
How you access and clean your evaporator assembly depends on which style of ice machine you have. Learn how to find and identify your evaporator type in an upcoming blog. Once you’ve determined what kind of evaporator you have and where to access it, use the instructions in that same blog to learn how to disinfect and sanitize your evaporator.
Evaporators are susceptible to scale, which is caused by hard water in your ice maker. So it’s important to follow the recommended cleaning frequency and procedures to ensure they remain in working order.
But What About the Ice?
You may have seen a professional ice machine technician complete a deep cleaning without removing the ice or by removing only some of it. In some industries or businesses, there are challenges to removing all ice from the bin or to storing removed ice safely and to code. In this instance, trained ice machine technicians have a variety of methods for protecting the ice as it remains in the bin. We do not recommend that you leave the ice in your bin while attempting to clean the bin or your Manitowoc ice machine.
The best standard practice is to remove all ice from the bin, utilize it to the best of your abilities, and let your ice machine start with a fresh batch of ice after cleaning. If this is going to cause issues with your ice supply, we recommend hiring an expert ice technician to handle bin and ice maker cleaning.
Don’t Skip on Professional Manitowoc Ice Machine Cleaning
Following an ice machine cleaning schedule is important. You can appoint someone in your organization to be responsible for the regular upkeep or add it to staff’s regular cleaning duties.
While you can clean an ice maker yourself, Manitowoc recommends biannual professional cleanings. These combined with routine ice machine service and ice machine repair will help your ice maker produce at capacity for years. However, the number of required deep cleans can vary. For example, if your ice machine is installed in a bakery or brewery, you’ll likely need more frequent cleanings since mold and slime grow faster in high-yeast environments.
At these cleaning and maintenance appointments, a professional ice machine technician can dismantle the machine to clean vital ice machine components thoroughly. Professional cleaning helps to keep your ice supply safe and improve the effectiveness of your ice maker.
If you are an Easy Ice subscriber, twice-yearly professional cleanings are included in your monthly subscription. Not only do we cover the costs and send one of our industry-leading techs out to perform these in-depth services, we also track when your next appointment is and work with you to schedule it. Easy Ice customers rest easy, knowing their ice needs are completely covered by The Ice Machine Experts. Learn more by contacting us today.
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