How you clean your commercial ice machine will vary depending on the manufacturer, but these machines generally follow a similar overall process. As such, we’ve put together a basic guide on how to clean a commercial ice machine, inside and out. We’ve even sprinkled in some professional tips and best practices, just for you!
We recommend that you consult the manual for your commercial ice machine for the perfect cleaning procedure according to your manufacturer. However, the below guide should serve you well along the way:
Steps to Clean Your Commercial Ice Machine
- Remove all ice from the dispenser. Either turn the power off at the end of the harvest cycle and let all the ice fall from the evaporators, or turn the power off and let the ice melt completely.
- Find and press the button that says “clean” or “wash”. Water should flow through the water dump valve and drain away. Wait until your ice machine prompts you to add cleaning agents.
- Add cleaning agents. Use the recommended amount of cleaning agent as stated in the manual.
- Allow the cleaning cycle to run. Usually, this takes about twenty minutes. Once complete, turn off the commercial ice machine and disconnect it from the power.
- Take all internal components out of the commercial ice machine following the instructions in the manual.
- Dilute your cleaning agent with lukewarm water, using the appropriate amount for your machine according to its manual. Generally, a ratio of 4 litres of water to half a litre of cleaning agent is effective. Use more cleaning agent if there is a bad buildup in your ice machine.
- Use some of the water and cleaning agent solution to clean all the components you removed from the ice machine. Most cleaning agents create foam when they contact limescale and mineral deposits. Once the foaming stops, use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to clean each part. Rinse.
- Use some of the water and cleaning agent solution to clean all food zone surfaces of your commercial ice machine including the dispenser. Use the brush or sponge to clean the sidewalls, base, plastic evaporator parts, and the dispenser.
- Rinse the ice machine with water. Be thorough when you remove the chemicals to prevent contamination.
Cleaning Your Ice Machine Condenser and Filter
The condenser of your commercial ice machine should be cleaned once every six months. Follow these steps to keep it clean:
- Turn off the ice machine and disconnect it from the power.
- Use a flashlight to check the condenser for dirt between the fins.
- Blow compressed air through the condenser to remove any dirt. You can also rinse it with water from the inside out.
- Use a flashlight to check the condenser again to make sure all dirt has been removed. If it hasn’t been, you may need tocall a fridge mechanic for advice.
- To clean the filter, rinse it with mild soap and water.
Why Clean Your Commercial Ice Machine
Ice is considered to be food by the Queensland Department of Health. As such, ice must be served, handled, and manufactured safely so that its consumption won’t result in food poisoning. Ice must be safe, fit for consumption and free of harmful bacteria.
You can learn more about the safe handling of ice in this article by Queensland Health. It clearly sets out the responsibilities of people and organisations producing and handling ice in Queensland.
How Often to Clean Your Ice Machine
You should clean your commercial ice machine at least once every six months to keep it in good working condition. Proper cleaning and sanitisation keeps the harvest time short, reduces the risk of costly repairs, and avoids buildup in and around your machine.
Signs You Need to Clean Your Ice Machine
It may be time for thorough cleaning if you encounter some of the below issues:
- Ice machine doesn’t release ice
- The machine is slow to release ice
- Ice is of a poor quality (soft, cloudy)
- Ice smells strange or bad
- Not a lot of ice is produced
If you follow a regular and thorough routine for cleaning your ice machine, you protect your unit from damage and disrepair, you prevent increased energy costs, and you create clean and safe ice for your patrons. Remember to clean at least once every six months and always refer to your unit’s manual for advice before moving forward.