Keep Your Ice Machine Clean with Tips from Ice-O-Matic
Keeping your Ice-O-Matic ice machine clean is essential. Neglected ice machines can result in ice that imparts an off smell and taste to your beverages, and, in worst-case scenarios, contaminated ice that makes customers sick. An ignored ice machine can also have a significantly shorter life and require more high-cost service calls. Ice-O-Matic machines are made to be easily cleaned and maintained, and these easy-to-follow instructions can help you keep your commercial ice maker pristine and producing clear, clean ice.
The frequency of ice machine cleaning will vary by local water conditions and other factors, but Ice-O-Matic has some basic guidelines that can help you in establishing your ice machine cleaning schedule. Keep in mind that if your foodservice establishment has high levels of yeast in the air - as often seen in bakeries, pizzerias, and breweries - the yeast can encourage faster growth of microbes in the ice machine, so it should be cleaned more often.1
- Change the water filter cartridge every six months. Please note that this is the minimum water filter upkeep required to qualify for Ice-O-Matic's seven-year parts and labor warranty; some locations with hard water or high amounts of sediment in their water supply may need to change their filter more often.2
- Give your ice machine a full cleaning every six months to prevent scale buildup and slime growth.
- Ice machines and bins should be sanitized with an EPA-approved sanitizer every six months, and after every cleaning.
- Ice storage bins should be cleaned weekly if possible. No more than a month should ever pass between cleanings.1
The first thing to do when preparing for ice machine cleaning is to make sure you have all the proper equipment. You will need gloves, several clean cloths, two buckets, nickel-safe ice machine cleaner, and EPA-approved ice machine sanitizer. If your ice machine has not been cleaned in a while and has some build-up, you may also need a scrub brush to help remove the limescale or slime. Before you begin cleaning, read through the instructions on the ice machine cleaner and sanitizer, then use the two buckets to dilute them as instructed. Be sure to wear gloves any time you are handling any of the cleaner or sanitizer.
Follow these instructions to give your Ice-O-Matic ice machine a thorough cleaning:
- Empty the bin of all ice.
- Remove the front panel to expose the evaporator. Pour cleaning solution into the water trough, then allow it to circulate for 15 minutes.
- Drain the cleaner out as directed in your machine's user manual, then purge the machine with clean water. Be sure all of the ice machine cleaner is rinsed out before moving on to the sanitizer.
- Following the instructions on the bottle, add an EPA-approved sanitizing solution to the water trough. Allow the sanitizer to circulate for 15 minutes, or as long as stated on the bottle.
- Drain the sanitizing solution, then run clean water through the machine.
- Discard the first two batches of ice produced after cleaning.
To clean the bin:
- Remove the ice from the bin
- Using a soft cloth, clean the inside and outside of the bin with a mild cleaner.
- Rinse the bin thoroughly, then drain.
- With another clean cloth, wipe down the bin's interior with an EPA-approved sanitizer, then rinse and drain it once more.
Most Ice-O-Matic ice makers do not have removable air filters. However, the exposed coils on the back of the machine will accumulate dust and debris, so they should be cleaned with a soft brush as needed. However, the GEM nugget ice machines and MFI-series modular flake ice machines do both have filters that need occasional cleaning. The filters in these machines are easily removed, and only need to be rinsed clean before being installed back onto the machine. These filters should be cleaned every thirty days.
Please be aware that these are only general guidelines. More specific instructions can be found in your machine's owner's manual, which can be downloaded from the Ice-O-Matic website if you have lost your original copy. Ice-O-Matic also recommends that cleaning should be done by a trained technician when possible.4
1. Safe Ice: the Cold, Hard Facts. Food Safety Magazine. Accessed March 2016.
2. Around the Tech Cooler. Ice-O-Matic. Accessed March 2016.
3. Cleaning and Maintenance of Ice-O-Matic Machines. YouTube. Accessed March 2016.
4. Cleaning and Sanitizing an Ice-O-Matic Commercial Ice Machine. Ice-O-Matic. Accessed March 2016.