How to Clean Your Hoshizaki Ice Machine

How to Clean Hoshizaki Ice Machine

A Hoshizaki ice machine is a great addition to any commercial kitchen, but it is an investment that you want to protect. One way to do that is to ensure all proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are followed so that the machine can function at its optimal capacity. Cleaning the machine properly will also prevent you from inadvertently voiding the unit's warranty, as failure due to scale buildup is not covered under any Hoshizaki warranties.

The company recommends cleaning your ice machine once a year, though it may be needed more often in locations with poor water quality and in kitchens where yeast may be in the air, such as bakeries and sandwich shops. If you find you are cleaning your ice machine frequently, you may consider adding an external water softener or filtration system. There are also systems that inhibit the growth of bacteria and scale inside the unit.


Before starting on your Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning, there are a few things to keep in mind to help protect both you and the machine. First, be sure to always wear gloves when working with any cleaner or sanitizer. No ammonia solutions should be used in cleaning the machine, as it can cause damage to the unit. In order to prevent water pump damage, do not leave the toggle switch in the 'wash' position for long with no water in the tank.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to never mix cleaner and sanitizing solution. Even the remnants left in the tank after cleaning can be enough to mix and cause dangerous fumes. Be sure that anything that has come in contact with cleaner is thoroughly rinsed before it is sanitized.


Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning removes the limescale buildup on the inside of the unit. To clean your machine you will need Hoshizaki ice machine cleaner, a bucket to mix the cleaning solution in, gloves, a large bin or sink to soak parts in, and possibly an evaporator scrub brush. If Hoshizaki ice machine cleaner is not available, any ice machine cleaner can be used without voiding the company's warranty.

  1. Remove all ice from the bin to prevent it from being contaminated with cleaner and sanitizing solution. Ice may be discarded or stored in a clean container and placed in a freezer for later use.
  2. Remove air filters and open up the unit to expose the evaporator and water tank. Turn toggle switch to the 'Off' position.
  3. Drain the water tank. The way you do this will vary by model; most have a plug, pipe, or hose that is removable to allow the water to drain. Replace this piece before proceeding.
  4. Follow directions on your Hoshizaki ice machine cleaner to create a cleaning solution of the proper dilution, then pour this into the tank.
  5. Some models have a cleaning valve that must be opened before proceeding. Consult your instruction manual to see if your model has this valve. Important: This valve must be closed after all cleaning and sanitizing is completed, or your unit will not be able to make ice.
  6. Move toggle switch to the 'Wash' position. KML units have a separate toggle switch that must also be moved to the 'Service' position. Run this cycle for 30 minutes.
  7. Move toggle switch to the 'Off' position and drain the tank once more.
  8. Remove the top of the ice machine to look down into the evaporator. If scale is still visible, your machine may require an evaporator brush. This is a long brush made to fit in the compartments of the evaporator. If necessary, scrub out the evaporator, then repeat steps 4 through 7.
  9. Put toggle control in 'Ice' mode to fill tank with water. Wait 3 minutes, then toggle back to 'Off' and drain the tank. Repeat this step three times to ensure thorough rinsing.
  10. Remove the check valve, spray tube, bin control switch, cube guides, water tank, hoses, water valve, and rubber connectors. Soak all parts in cleaning solution and scrub clean where necessary. Rinse all parts thoroughly with water. While doing this, wash the air filters you removed in step one.
Diagram of Hoshizaki ice machine partsDiagram of Hoshizaki ice machine parts


It is important to sanitize your ice machine every time you clean the unit. Cleaning removes dirt, debris, and hard water buildup from the machine, but sanitizing is important to help remove bacteria to ensure the machine and bin are able to hold ice without contaminating it. To sanitize your Hoshizaki ice machine, you will need chlorine bleach and a mixing container.

  1. Dilute chlorine bleach to make a sanitizing solution. The solution requires a concentration of roughly 200 ppm, about one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of warm water. If possible, use a test strip to confirm the proper concentration.
  2. Soak all removed parts in this solution for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and replace all parts in reverse order of removal.
  3. Create another batch of sanitizing solution, and pour it into the water tank.
  4. Allow the solution to sit for 10 minutes, then turn toggle switch to 'Wash' position. Close the door and allow the wash cycle to run for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn toggle switch to 'Off', open the door, and drain the tank.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5.
  7. Put toggle control in 'Ice' mode to rinse tank with water. Wait 3 minutes, then toggle back to 'Off' and drain the tank. Repeat this step three times to ensure thorough rinsing.
  8. If applicable, close cleaning valve, then close up the machine and tighten all screws. Replace air filters.

Ice Bin

When doing Hoshizaki ice machine cleaning, it is also important to clean and sanitize the ice storage bin. To do this, you will need gloves, two mixing containers and spray bottles, and clean cloths or a nylon brush.

  1. Make a solution with Hoshizaki ice machine cleaner according to the instructions on the bottle.
  2. Use spray bottle to apply this solution to the inside of the bin, then use a clean cloth or nylon brush to scrub it clean.
  3. Rinse bin completely with clean water.
  4. Make a sanitizing solution with 12-ounce (roughly one U.S. tablespoon) chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of warm water.
  5. Apply sanitizing solution to inside of ice bin, and use clean cloth or nylon brush to clean.
  6. Flush bin thoroughly with clean water.

After you have cleaned and sanitized your Hoshizaki ice machine and bin, it is recommended that you start ice production immediately, and discard the first batch of ice. Then you are ready to resume ice production as usual, with a clean and sanitized machine ensuring you are serving the cleanest, safest ice possible.