What would those hot summer days with friends be without something cold and refreshing to drink? Making ice has become so much easier. You could still use ice cube trays, refill them with water, and then put them in the freezer. However, now you have the convenience of a portable countertop ice maker for daily use!
An ice maker is one of those kitchen appliances you never knew you needed. Just turn it on, pour some water into the water reservoir, and wait for it to produce ice in 10 minutes. You no longer have to wait for the water in an ice tray to freeze or for your freezer’s automatic ice maker to drop another load of ice cubes.
What’s more, a countertop ice maker machine is easy to clean. Continue reading to learn about the cleaning process.
Cleaning The Exterior
It doesn’t matter what type of ice maker you have. Cleaning the exterior is as important as cleaning the interior of the ice maker. Here are some basic steps on how to clean a portable ice maker, starting with the exterior:
- The first step is to take a soft, damp, clean cloth or a microfiber one to wipe the exterior of the ice maker. Using microfiber cloths is the best way to remove dust and dirt from crevices. Avoid cleaning the exterior with a brush or an abrasive pad, as it will only damage it.
- It's a good idea not to use strong detergents either because they may end up stuck inside the ice maker and affect the taste of the ice. Go for natural alternatives instead, like warm water mixed with white vinegar or lemon juice. This kind of solution will be less harmful and give you the best results.
- If you notice that there’s still grease left, rinse a cloth in a mild soap and water solution and use it to wipe the dirt off.
- Pay special attention to the vents and drains of the machine as those areas accumulate the most dirt. When dust particles block the air ducts, the ice maker might overheat and eventually break down. It's a good idea to clean these on a regular basis as to prolong the life of your appliance.
- Keep the machine in an area where it won’t gather too much dirt or grime. You can put it close to the kitchen sink when you need to give your machine a proper cleaning it to make the process easier.
- Once done, wipe the machine with a dry, soft cloth to prevent any water stains from excess water.
- Ideally, regular weekly maintenance should keep the appliance in good condition.
Cleaning The Interior
Cleaning the interior of the ice maker involves more steps, but it isn’t that hard to do.
Here’s how to clean the interior parts:
- Start by removing the basket that catches the ice blocks when the machine churns them out. Clean the basket thoroughly by placing it in a solution of water and vinegar or lemon juice mixed with 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice. Just like with cleaning the exterior, go for a soft cloth to avoid damaging any of the parts inside the ice maker.
- You’ll need to clean the ice scoop that’s used to get ice from the machine, too. Add it to the same cleaning mixture and wipe it with a damp cloth rinsed in the same solution. You can also use paper towels.
- Place the water outlet of the ice maker over the kitchen sink or in a bucket. Then, remove the drain cap if there is one and drain all the remaining water from the reservoir. To avoid electric shock you should always make sure to disconnect your ice machine from its power source.
- Using the same soft cloth and mixture for cleaning the ice storage bin, wipe the interior of the machine and reservoir.
- Add some clean water and vinegar or lemon juice mixture to the machine’s reservoir and switch it on. Have the ice maker run through at least two batches of ice before switching it off and discarding the cleaning liquid and ice. This will help remove any bad taste from your ice.
- Drain the reservoir again, remove any water above the evaporator, and rinse the interior with clean water.
- The next step is to fill the ice maker’s reservoir with clean and fresh water up to the designated marking.
- Switch the ice maker on again and leave it to produce ice until the machine uses up all the water.
- Dispose of all the ice blocks.
- Place the ice maker over the sink or bucket again and drain any remaining water from the tank.
- Replace the water in the reservoir, let the machine churn out ice, and enjoy refreshing, cool drinks with ice from your clean ice machine!
However, if you don’t plan to use the ice maker after cleaning it, dry it thoroughly before storing it. Dust and dirt may build up on it again, so the cupboard will be the best storage space to keep it.
In contrast with the exterior of an ice maker, you should clean the interior once every six months if you use it daily. Yet if it’s stored for an extended period, check the exterior and interior parts for dust and dirt before use. A clean ice maker is a happy ice maker!
Cleaning Out Mold
Sometimes, mold could grow in the ice maker, especially when you haven’t used the appliance for a while or when water remains stagnant in the reservoir.
The good news is you may get rid of mold by doing the following:
- Drain all the water from the reservoir and outlets.
- Make a cleaning solution by mixing five cups of water with one teaspoon of bleach. Pre-made cleaning solutions are available commercially if you prefer them to a homemade solution. We mix ours up in a spray bottle so it is easy to use.
- Wash the interior and exterior of the ice maker with this solution, following the steps mentioned earlier. Focus cleaning on the areas where the mold has formed.
- Thoroughly rinse the unit before adding fresh water to make the first few batches of ice.
- Discard the ice before replacing the water again to make ice.
- If the machine or the ice has a musty smell even after cleaning, you can deodorize the interior with baking soda. Place a small bowl filled with baking soda in the reservoir instead of water and leave it overnight.
- Remove the bowl of baking soda the next day and fill the tank with clean water before switching the machine on.
A portable ice maker is a handy kitchen appliance you can use anytime, anywhere. Cleaning it sounds like a hassle, but it isn’t if you know what to do. You don’t have to clean it daily, but maintain it by keeping these steps in mind. Knowing how to clean your portable ice maker will keep your ice maker happy!