Having an ice machine at home can ensure you always have a plentiful supply of ice for drinks. You can even personalize your machine to get the size and consistency of the ice you like. But if an ice machine isn't clean, it can start producing soft or cloudy ice and eventually might stop working altogether.
While there are some commercial ice machine cleaners out there, many don't feel comfortable using harsh chemicals on an ice machine for fear of ingesting them. Luckily, as Newair explains, there are also homemade ice machine cleaners that can effectively and safely clean your ice machine.
Ice Machine Cleaning
Water contains trace amounts of minerals and sediment that can build up over time in your ice machine. According to Compact Appliance, dirt and rust can be particularly problematic for ice makers. If you don't clean your ice machine regularly, the minerals and sediment can start to appear in your ice cubes, giving them an unpleasant look and taste. The buildup can also cause damage to the machine and make it more difficult for ice to be produced.
If you've noticed any changes in the quality of your ice, that's usually a sign your machine needs cleaning. Even if you haven't noticed a change, though, an ice machine that's used regularly should be cleaned at least every six months.
Ice Maker Cleaning Solutions
You can do your ice maker maintenance by cleaning an ice machine with bleach. There are also commercial ice machine cleaners designed specifically for the task. However, some people don't feel comfortable using these harsher chemicals on their ice machine and prefer a more natural solution. Cleaning an ice machine with vinegar is a popular option.
Ice machine cleaners work by using acid to dissolve the alkaline mineral buildup. Vinegar is a weaker acid than commercial cleaners, so it may take longer and require more applications. After wiping down the inside of your machine to remove any visible dirt and debris, you can go in with your vinegar. Fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar and liberally apply to the interior of your ice maker. Leave to soak for five minutes, then run a wash cycle. If your ice machine is very dirty, you may need to repeat the process. After you've finished cleaning your machine, make sure not to use the first two loads of ice, as they may have a vinegary flavor.
Tips for Ice Machine Maintenance
Once you've got your ice machine to an acceptable level of cleanliness and the ice is clear, hard and without any taste, you need to maintain your cleaning regimen, says Nyco. You should be cleaning your ice machine at least every six months. If you keep up your cleaning routine, you may not need to use such a strong solution every time. You can dilute your vinegar with water up to a half and half ratio. You could also add in a squeeze of lemon juice. This helps keep the mixture acidic, plus it's excellent at getting rid of mold and mildew smells.