Allison Halco Dranuski

Designer, writer, marketing professional

How to Clean Your Ice Maker

Keeping your ice maker clean is essential for ensuring safe, great-tasting ice. Over time, mineral deposits, scale buildup, mold, and bacteria can accumulate in your ice maker, leading to issues like bad odor, contaminated ice, and even machine breakdown. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly clean your ice maker on a regular basis, and you can find valuable tips and guides on how to do this effectively on the Ice Maker Guru website, a trusted resource for all your ice maker-related needs.


An ice maker is a convenient appliance to have, providing ice for cold drinks, icing injuries, preserving food, and more. But without proper maintenance, an ice maker can become dirty and contaminated. Here’s why you should take the time to clean your ice maker:

  • Safe, clean ice: Regular cleaning removes bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits that can accumulate over time. This ensures the ice your family consumes is safe and free of contaminants.
  • Better taste: Ice that comes from a dirty ice maker often picks up unpleasant tastes and odors. Proper cleaning keeps your ice fresh and good tasting.
  • Prevent breakdowns: Scale buildup from hard water and mineral deposits can clog an ice maker’s inner mechanisms. Regular cleanings help prevent costly repairs or replacement.
  • Maximize efficiency: Cleaning removes limescale and dirt that can hamper ice production. A clean, well-maintained unit will produce ice more efficiently.

Cleaning your ice maker thoroughly yet safely only takes about 30 minutes. With the right supplies and steps, you can keep your ice maker hygienic and functioning optimally.

Gathering Supplies

Cleaning an ice maker doesn’t require many supplies. Have these items ready before you get started:

  • Warm, soapy water
  • White vinegar or ice machine cleaner
  • Soft cloth, sponge, or brush
  • Ice scoop or tongs
  • Protective gloves (optional)

Be sure to unplug the ice maker before cleaning for safety. Wearing gloves can also protect your hands from cleaning solutions.

Preparing the Ice Maker

Before cleaning inside the ice maker, take a few key steps to prepare it:

Emptying the Ice Bin

Remove all ice cubes inside the bin and discard any that look discolored or smell odd. This eliminates contamination risks.

Removing Removable Parts

If your ice maker has a removable basket, tray, or scoop holder, take those out and set aside to clean later. Check the user manual if unsure what’s removable.

Reading Manufacturer Instructions

Your ice maker’s manual may have specific cleaning recommendations. Be sure to read over the maintenance section before getting started.

Cleaning the Exterior

Tackle the outside of your ice maker first:

  • Wipe down exterior surfaces using a soft cloth, sponge, or brush with warm soapy water. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could scratch the finish.
  • Pay attention to buttons and controls by gently wiping around them to remove dirt and grime. Avoid spraying cleaners directly on controls.
  • Clean the power cord and plug to remove any accumulated dust or debris. This prevents electrical hazards or fires.

Thoroughly drying all exterior surfaces protects them from moisture damage.

Cleaning the Interior

Now for the inside, where most buildup occurs:

Cleaning the Ice Cube Tray or Basket

  • Soak the removable tray or basket in warm soapy water to loosen mineral deposits and dirt. Let soak 5-10 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub away any stubborn scale or grime.
  • Rinse very thoroughly to eliminate all soap residue.

Cleaning the Water Reservoir

  • Fill the reservoir with a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar. Or use a commercial ice machine cleaner.
  • Run a cleaning cycle so the mixture circulates fully. Let sit 15-30 minutes.
  • Drain then rinse the reservoir thoroughly with clean water.

Removing Scale Buildup

  • Use a plastic scraper to gently remove any hard water scale or mineral deposits from the interior walls. Take care not to damage any surface.
  • Wipe down walls and corners of the ice maker box using soap and warm water to eliminate mold, food residue, and dirt.

Reassembling and Restoring Operation

Once fully cleaned internally and externally, put your ice maker back together:

  • Replace any removable parts like baskets, trays, and scoop holders. Be sure they are completely dry first.
  • Plug the power cord back in and make sure hands are dry before connecting to electrical outlet.
  • Allow the ice maker to cool down for about 30 minutes before making ice again.
  • Listen carefully for any abnormal sounds and watch for issues as the first batch of ice is produced. Contact a technician if problems arise.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To keep your ice maker clean long-term:

  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule based on your usage patterns. For moderate use, every 6 months is recommended.
  • Use a water filter if your unit has one. This will minimize scale buildup and improve ice taste.
  • Check for leaks occasionally which can breed mold and bacteria.
  • Replace water filters per manufacturer recommendations, usually every 6-12 months.

Proper maintenance and cleaning makes all the difference in optimizing performance and lifespan.

Troubleshooting Common Ice Maker Problems

If you notice any of the following issues, try these troubleshooting tips:

Problem: Ice maker is not producing ice.

  • Solutions:
  • Check that the ice maker is plugged in and power is on.
  • Ensure the water line is properly connected and shutoff valve is open.
  • The freezer temperature may be too warm. Lower temperature below 15°F.
  • Remove any ice or frost blocking the sensor.
  • Make sure the ice bin is seated securely.
  • The water filter may be clogged. Replace filter cartridge.

Problem: Ice has bad taste or odor.

  • Solutions:
  • Complete ice maker cleaning procedure.
  • Replace water filter cartridge if old.
  • Check for food spills near vents.
  • Run several cycles of clean water to flush system.
  • Ensure nothing is stored in freezer that could transmit smells.

Problem: Ice appears discolored.

  • Solutions:
  • Clean the ice maker following outlined steps.
  • Check water filter and replace if needed.
  • Mineral deposits may be flaking off into ice. Consider installing water softening system.
  • If water supply contains sediment, install sediment filter.

Problem: Loud or unusual noises.

  • Solutions:
  • Remove any obstructions blocking moving parts.
  • Ensure all removable parts are correctly replaced after cleaning.
  • The internal motor may be wearing out. Call a technician for service.
  • Be sure the unit is level and stable on flat, even surface.


Maintaining a clean, hygienic ice maker has many benefits-from keeping your family healthy to making delicious drinks. By thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing your unit every 6 months using this guide, you can look forward to fresh, contaminant-free ice anytime. Making ice maker maintenance a regular habit prevents scale buildup and expensive repairs down the road.

With a few basic supplies and these simple steps, keeping an ice maker sparkling clean is easy. Refer back to these instructions before your next cleaning session. And enjoy the convenience of great-tasting ice for all your chilling needs!

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