How To Clean An Ice Maker Effectively

Gary Johnson
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The Importance of Cleaning & Sanitizing Ice Makers

Most of us rely on ice cubes to chill our drinks and keep our food fresh. For this we stock our icemakers with ice. But do you ever think of how these ice cubes get into the icemaker and who cleans them? Who cleans the ice bin? Do you even know how important it is to clean it?

Ice is the most commonly used commodity in the fridge. Depending on how often you use your ice maker and how you store the ice cubes, you will have to clean it more often. The water line is more susceptible to bacteria and mold growth. It is therefore essential to clean the ice bin, water line and the interior of the freezer.

The ice bin in an ice maker has a high probability of accumulated grime and bacteria over time. Though it may not be visible, the longer this goes untreated, it affects the quality of the ice in the cubes. If you are not paying attention, mold and bacteria can make your ice cubes smell and even taste weird.

And if you are using the ice to serve your food, it may even be poisonous and cause health issues. Ice needs to be clean every now and then to avoid any such problem. Clean the ice bin and the water line thoroughly to maintain the quality of water and ice cubes.

Signs You Need to Clean Your Ice Maker

The best way to know if your ice maker needs to be cleaned is by paying attention to how your ice tastes and if it’s crunchy. You can also spend a little time observing the ice. If you notice small air bubbles or ice that’s off-color, that’s a sign that there might be a buildup that needs to be addressed.

Make an ice pack for any boo-boos your kids may encounter. Children are often inquisitive as they go about their play. If you have children and a pool you can make your own ice pack at home. It’s quite simple and your kids will appreciate you having the ice pack ready to put on them when they have a boo-boo; it’ll help cool down the swelling to aid in the healing process. Start by pouring a bag of frozen peas into a plastic zip bag. If you want a smaller ice pack you can use a Ziploc bag in which you can fill with ice cubes. The kids will appreciate the homemade ice pack and it’s much safer than the ice cubes wrapped in a tea towel.

How To Clean Different Types of Ice Makers

Cleaning an ice maker is a vital step in extended the life expectancy of your ice maker. It is also needed if you want your ice maker to make the best quality ice. Unfortunately, ice maker manufacturers don’t provide a manual for cleaning an ice maker.

If you’re wondering how to clean an ice maker, thankfully, there are only a few different ice maker types and their maintenance steps are similar. Here are the steps to follow for your specific type of ice maker.

Step 1 – Clean the water line from the ic maker to the water inlet valve. Some types of ice makers have a built-in water filter. If your ice maker has a built-in water filter, flush it for a few minutes to make sure there are no clogs.

Step 2 – Clean the heating element. The heating element can be cleaned using a dry non corrosive brush after the ice maker has been shut off. Scrub the heating element several times to remove any debris that may be clogging it.

Step 3 – Clean the evaporator cover. The design of the evaporator cover differs among models. Some have a hinged design in which the cover can be removed by simply removing a few screws. Some require you to remove the ice bucket.

Step 4 – Clean and replace the condenser fan. The condenser fan should be cleaned regularly to prevent it from overheating.

How Often Should I Clean My Ice Maker?

Depending on how often you use your ice maker, you may need to clean it. Using ice from your automatic ice maker is the freshest, but it may come with some drawbacks. Cleaning after each use can be bothersome, but it will definitely save you time and money.

You should consider cleaning your ice maker regularly if you have:

  • Dirty water
  • A dirty bin
  • Water leaking
  • Freezing issues
  • Water or ice quality issues

How to Reset an Ice Maker?

There are a few different models of residential ice makers for home use. The Sunpentown IM-200 is a basic ice maker.

All dry-ice makers work with the same basic concept.

There is a compressor, which works like a miniature refrigerator. As the refrigerant comes in contact with the cold plate, the water in the refrigerant separates from the gas and becomes a liquid.

The liquid refrigerant is then circulated into the evaporator. The evaporator has porous media, which provides a surface for the water to freeze.

The water then becomes a block of ice, which is caught in an ice bin.

The device then collects the ice and sends it to the water dispenser.

The recycling process occurs by a valve that sends the water back to the evaporator. The refrigerant then freezes the water and the process continues. Some of the basic problems that you may have are:

{1}. The ice maker is unplugged from its AC power source, so make sure that it is plugged back in.
{2}. The switch in the back of the machine is set to the off position, so you will need to make sure that it is in the correct position or that it is working.

How to Defrost an Icemaker?

Step 1 Take the front panel off of the refrigerator.

Step 2 Put hot water into a bucket.

Step 3 Place the bucket of hot water in the freezer compartment and the ice tray in the water.

Step 4 Close the door and allow the unit to sit for at least four hours. Keep adding hot water if the water level drops.

Step 5 Unplug the refrigerator and let it sit overnight so the ice is easy to remove.

Step 6 Remove any ice that's remaining after the door is plugged. Place items in the cubes as needed.

Step 7 Clean the ice tray.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Q: Why is my ice maker not making enough ice?

A: Most ice maker problems are caused by insufficient water flow to the ice maker. Before you go ahead and replace the ice maker, turn off the ice maker and look at the water inlet line…is the valve open all the way? Try turning the valve fully either way to make sure it’s open all the way.

Q: Why is my ice maker leaking water?

A: A leaking icemaker can be caused by many things. The ice level control throttling valve may be stuck open…the fill tub is overflowing…the water inlet valve or water filter is leaking. Make sure the ice level control has not been turned up all the way.

Q: Why does my ice maker release air through the harvest auger?

A: Ice maker problems can be caused by many things. Check the water supply lines for leaks…the water circuit breaker and time delay fuse in the service panel or the "circuit" breaker near the ice maker for overload…check the fill line below the ice maker and at the water valve for leaks…is the ice maker receiving the correct voltage…is the condenser fan turning freely? Make sure the ice maker is mounted securely to the wall.

Q: Why is my ice maker leaking water on the floor?


Clean your ice maker frequently. Cleaning the ice maker periodically may help prevent the buildup of mold or bacteria that may be stuck in the ice maker. Also, frequent cleaning may help get rid of the odors.

Before you decide on how to clean this item, be aware that they are different in design in construction and it is good to know how to clean each type before you give cleaning a try. Consult the manufacturersí manual also for specific instructions.