How to Clean an Ice Maker in 7 Steps

How to Clean an Ice Maker in 7 Steps

When you want to make beverages extra refreshing, there’s nothing better than adding some cold, crisp ice. Your ice machine works hard, but over time things like mineral deposits and even bacteria can build up inside, leading to ice that tastes less than fresh.

Experts say ice machines should be cleaned about once every 9 months, or more frequently if you live in an area with hard water or high humidity. Our guide will help you learn how to clean your ice machine using affresh® ice machine cleaner, which is specialized to clean all freestanding ice machines. The steps of our guide also show you how to clean a refrigerator or freezer ice maker.

How to Clean an Ice Machine

You should clean your ice machine as part of your regular deep cleaning schedule, whether it’s spring cleaningNew Year’s cleaning or any other time of year. While you can use vinegar or lemon juice to deep clean your ice maker, affresh brand recommends using an ice machine cleaning solution instead. In addition to offering added convenience, nickel-safe solutions like affresh® ice machine cleaner clear away hard water mineral buildup from hard-to-reach interior parts, helping your ice machine run properly and produce crisp, refreshing ice.

What You’ll Need to Clean an Ice Machine

Ice Machine Cleaning Supplies


Ice Machine Cleaning Tools

  • Soft cloths
  • A medium spoon
  • A cotton swab or toothbrush


Different manufacturers may recommend different cleaning methods. That’s why we recommend checking your user guide before you clean your ice machine.


1. Turn Off or Unplug Your Ice Machine and Drain Water

Before you begin to clean your ice machine or the ice maker in your freezer, make sure the appliance is turned off or unplugged. Wait 5 to 10 minutes for any ice to fall into the storage bin. 

Remove the ice and drain any remaining water out of the appliance. In most ice machines, this can be accomplished by removing the drain cap. Allow the unit to sit for 5 minutes to assure all water has drained then replace the drain cap.


2. Remove and Clean Removable Ice Machine Parts

Anything that comes in contact with the ice in your ice machine should be cleaned regularly. If your ice machine has a basket or other receptacle, remove it along with the ice scoop or cup. Hand wash all items with warm, soapy water, rinse completely, then allow them to dry thoroughly. Do not wash plastic parts in the dishwasher.

Tip: Sometimes old ice can build up and fuse, causing your ice basket to get stuck. Allow the ice to melt a bit, using warm water if necessary. You can also use a spoon to gently free the ice bucket from its position by carefully breaking up the ice as it melts.


3. Clean the Interior of the Ice Machine

Once the buckets and other parts have been removed, take some time to wipe down the interior of the ice maker. (If you’re cleaning a refrigerator freezer, you’ll need to remove any food you have inside.) Use a soft cloth and some warm soapy water, or two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved into a gallon of warm water. Once you’ve cleaned the interior surfaces, use a soft, damp cloth to rinse. Lastly, wipe down the interior with a soft, dry towel. Replace removed interior parts once they are completely dry. 

Tip: If you notice hard water mineral buildup in the interior of your ice machine, use a soft-bristle toothbrush or a baking soda and water paste to remove it. Do not use abrasive cleaners, stiff bristled brushes or sharp edged scrapers, which could damage the interior’s plastic lining.

4. Change Your Ice Machine’s Water Filter

Many refrigerators, freezers and ice machines have water filters that should be periodically replaced. If your appliance has a water filter, cleaning the ice machine is a great opportunity to remove the old filter and replace it with a fresh one.

If you’re cleaning the ice maker in your refrigerator freezer, plug your refrigerator back in and run a few ice cycles to circulate newly filtered water through the ice maker. Discard the ice each time. For stand alone ice makers, continue with the instructions below.


5. Pour Cleaning Solution Into the Ice Machine Water Pan or Reservoir

If you’re using affresh® ice machine cleaner, simply pour the contents of the bottle into your appliance’s water pan or reservoir, then add 32 ounces of water (fill the affresh® bottle twice with water from the tap). If you don’t have affresh® ice machine cleaner at home, cleaning your ice machine with vinegar is another option. Make a mix of 10 parts water to one part distilled white vinegar and pour this into the water reservoir.

Read More: I Need to Clean What?


6. Run an Ice Making or Cleaning Cycle

Run at least two cycles to circulate the cleaning solution through the machine. (If your ice machine has a Clean cycle, use this instead.) Discard the ice from these batches and check to see if any cleaning solution remains in the water pan or reservoir. If so, run additional cycles to circulate through and rinse the appliance.

After all cleaning solution has been used up, refill the water pan with clean water and tightly secure the drain cap.

Note: if you have a lot of mineral buildup, you may need to repeat this process.


7. Wipe Down the Ice Machine Exterior

Wash exterior enamel surfaces and gaskets with warm water and mild soap or detergent. Wipe and dry. For stainless steel exterior ice machine surfaces, spray a stainless steel cleaning spray onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe in the direction of the grain.

Tip: do not use ammonia or citrus based cleaners on stainless steel surfaces. Avoid steel wool, paper towels, newsprint, scour pads, or abrasive liquid or powder cleansers on stainless steel surface. 

Once your ice maker is completely rinsed and the ice from cleaning batches is discarded, you’re ready to enjoy a clean appliance and great-tasting ice! Repeat this process every nine months or sooner if your clean indicator light turns yellow or you notice your ice tasting “off.”


Keep Your Kitchen Appliances Clean with affresh® appliance care

Your kitchen appliances work hard every day, so it’s important to keep them running well and looking great. That’s why affresh brand offers a complete line of kitchen appliance cleaners for both major and countertop appliances. Our collection includes dishwasher cleanercoffee maker cleanerdisposal cleanerstainless steel brightener, and cooktop cleaner so you can help keep all of your appliances at their best. Find the right kitchen cleaner for your home today, and don’t forget to explore our laundry appliance cleaners too!