Owning an ice maker means that you can get ice whenever you want it. However, once you’ve purchased the appliance, you need to care for it properly. This requires cleaning the outside and inside parts periodically.
We understand that you may not know how to clean an Igloo ice maker. Therefore, we’ve come up with this helpful guide to give you tips. Plus, we’ll discuss signs to clean it and why it’s important.
Why You Need an Ice Maker
The first step is to determine if you need an ice maker. Most people forget to fill up the manual ice trays and find it a hassle. Your home’s freezer may have a built-in one, but it may not be sufficient.
You’ll find that a portable ice maker is an excellent investment, especially if you entertain frequently. Your hobbies might also make on-demand ice helpful. You can easily get the ice you need to fill coolers for hunting, camping, and fishing excursions.
What Are Reasons to Clean Your Ice Maker
Is it really that important to clean your ice maker? Yes, it is essential and a big deal! Here are some of the reasons you want a clean machine:
- Great Taste: Ice makers that aren’t cleaned regularly will start to absorb flavors from the minerals in it. Plus, the device could develop mildew or mold, which will make the ice taste funny.
- Clear Ice: Most ice machines are designed to make ice that is clear or water-colored. However, with time, minerals and limescale can cause cloudiness.
- Better Health: Your ice maker is always in contact with water. As such, it’s susceptible to mildew and mold without proper maintenance. If you’re allergic to those microorganisms, you want a clean machine.
- Clean Aroma: Clean ice doesn’t smell like anything. If you notice a smell, it means that the machine absorbed odors. Thus, you need to disinfect it to remove those oddities.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Ice Maker
You need a variety of things to effectively clean your machine. These include:
- Appropriate ice machine cleaner (vinegar and acidic items are not recommended)
- Soft cloth
- Warm water
- Non-abrasive sponge
How to Clean an Igloo Ice Maker
Your ice maker might be different based on the model and manufacturer, but almost all ice makers follow a similar process. Make sure you read the manual to find out about the specific procedure. Nonetheless, here’s a general method:
1. Remove the Ice from the Dispenser or Bin
You could press the power switch and wait for the ice to melt completely. Alternatively, turn off the machine once the ice falls from the evaporators.
Collect all of the ice and throw it away or store it in a freezer bag in the freezer. To discard it, put it in the sink and let it melt.
2. Press the Clean Button
Your machine should have a “wash” or “clean” button. Water is going to flow through the dump valve and into the drain.
Make sure that you wait until the trough has refilled. The display will then indicate that it is time to add the cleaning solution. This can take up to one minute.
3. Add the Cleanser
You should read the manual that came with your machine and the product label of the cleaner. Make sure it is designed for portable ice machines.
4. Wait for the Cycle to Complete Itself
Some cleaning cycles can take up to 70 minutes, though some may only take 20 minutes. You can find out this information from your manual. When the cycle is complete, you should unplug the ice maker and dispenser, if available.
5. Remove the Internal Components for Cleaning
There are likely to be many internal parts that should be removed and cleaned separately. You should read your manual to find out what they are. Plus, the manual will show you how to take them out safely and correctly.
6. Mix up the Cleaning Solution
You should read both the label on the cleanser and the owner’s manual to see how much of the cleaning product you’ll need. Most of the time, you’ll use a ratio of 16 ounces of cleaner to one gallon of water.
It’s important to understand that significant mineral buildup will require you to use more cleaning solution. In some cases, you have to repeat the cleaning process more than once, as well.
7. Use Half of the Solution to Clean the Components
Measure out about half of the mixed cleaning solution into a bucket. Take all the parts you removed earlier and put them into the mixture.
Most solutions are going to foam a bit when they come into contact with scale, lime, or mineral deposits. Wait until the foaming stops.
Now, use a sponge, soft-bristle brush, or cloth and clean the parts. Once that is complete, rinse all of the parts thoroughly with clean, warm water.
8. Use the Other Half to Clean the Machine Surfaces
Take the rest of the cleaning mixture and clean the surfaces of the bin, dispenser, and ice maker. You should use a cloth or nylon brush for this. Make sure to get the base (the part above the trough), sidewalls, bin or dispenser, and evaporator parts (bottoms, sides, and top).
9. Rinse Everything
Take a clean, dry cloth and dip it into clean water. Wipe down all the surfaces that you just washed with the cleaning solution. This will remove any chemicals so that your ice doesn’t get contaminated.
How to Clean the Exterior of Your Machine
When most people focus on cleaning their Igloo ice maker, they rarely think about the outside. Though rare, contaminants from the outside can get inside and to the ice. Even if it doesn’t happen, you still want it to look good.
1. Clean Around the Ice Maker When Necessary
If you drop ice nearby, make sure to clean it up. This will prevent staining of the countertop.
2. Wipe Down Surfaces
You should use a damp cloth to wipe down the outside surfaces. This can remove dirt and dust from the appliance. You should never use abrasive brushes and pads.
3. Remove Grease Correctly
Sometimes, grease buildup is possible on the outside. You can use mild dish soap to clean away the grease. Choose one with a built-in degreaser for the best results.
Just make sure that you mix the soap and water adequately, and then dip a soft cloth into the mixture. Then, wring out as much as you can. Make sure not to use citrus-based, chlorinated, or abrasive cleansers on your plastic trim and exterior panels.
How to Sanitize Your Ice Maker
Once you’ve cleaned your ice maker, you may also want to sanitize it. That way, the ice you get is pure and crystal clear. Follow these steps to do things correctly:
1. Mix Ice Maker Sanitizer and Water Together
You should use appropriate sanitizing liquid and lukewarm water. Your manual should tell you how much of the solution you’ll need. A general ratio is about two ounces of sanitizer to three gallons of water.
2. Sanitize the Parts
Take about half of the cleaning solution you’ve prepared and put it in a separate bucket. Add all the parts you removed from inside. Let them soak for the recommended time.
Alternatively, you can also spray the solution liberally over all of the surfaces of each removed part. Once you’re done, and the sanitization process is complete, do not rinse them.
3. Sanitize the Surfaces
Use the rest of the sanitizing solution to clean the surfaces of your ice maker, dispenser, and bin. Make sure you use it on the base, sidewalls, evaporator’s plastic parts, and the dispenser or bin.
4. Replace the Components
Using the owner’s manual, replace all of the parts that you removed. Make sure that you take your time and do this properly, or the ice maker won’t work.
You should wait for about 20 minutes. This ensures that the sanitizer does its work and disinfects everything.
6. Reconnect the Power
Plug in your machine and turn it on. Then, press the “wash” or “clean” button on your unit.
7. Add the Chemicals at the Right Time
You will need to wait until the trough fills with water. The display will indicate to add the chemicals. Then, you’ll add the right amount of sanitizer to the trough.
8. Set the Sanitizing Cycle
All you have to do is set the machine to start the sanitization process. When it’s done, set your ice maker to make ice. This can take up to 20 minutes.
9. Run Two Cycles and Monitor Timing
When the sanitization process is complete, you should run two cycles, throwing away the ice after it drops. After the second cycle, you can use the ice.
You should also monitor the cycle times for harvesting and freezing. They should be similar or better than before.
How to Clean the Ice Maker’s Filter and Condenser
You should clean the condenser once every six months. At this time, it might be best to replace the filter, as well.
To do this, you will need to unplug the ice maker and the condensing unit, if necessary. Then, you should get a flashlight and shine it through the components to see if there is dirt in between the fins.
If dirt is present, you should use a can of compressed air to remove it. You can also take out the condenser and rinse it with water. Make sure all the dirt is gone and replace the condenser, if you removed it, and turn the power on again.
It’s also essential to clean the machine’s filter. To do this, either replace it or let the used filter soak in a solution of water and mild soap. Rinse thoroughly and reinsert it into the ice maker.
When to Clean the Ice Machine
In most cases, you’ll want to clean and sanitize your ice maker once every six months. That said, there may be times where you’ll need to do it more frequently. The goal is to have the most efficient operation, which can’t happen with a dirty appliance.
You need to clean the machine periodically to prevent scale from building up on the evaporator plates. A clean ice maker will also prevent faster heat transfer. This means that your machine heats up too quickly and can damage the components.
Harvest times should be short. When the ice maker needs to be cleaned, it will take longer. This uses more energy and puts more wear and tear on the machine.
Signs You Should Clean the Ice Maker
Of course, you need to clean your ice maker as recommended by the manufacturer. Nonetheless, you can clean it more often and should clean it if you notice any of these:
- Low capacity for ice
- Incomplete or shallow cubes produced
- Emitted odor
- Poor ice quality (not clear or soft)
- No cycle into its harvest mode
- Slow harvest or no release of ice
Tips for Cleaning
Though we’ve talked exclusively and exhaustively about how to clean your machine, we offer a few more tips. They will make the process a bit easier to handle.
- You should understand that some manufacturers require you to use a specific cleaner and sanitizer. If you don’t, you could void the warranty and issues might arise.
- Make sure to read all of the instructions in the manual. Our step-by-step process does not supersede the owner’s manual. They apply to many ice makers, but not all of them.
- Don’t mix the sanitizer and cleaner solutions. This can result in toxic fumes.
- Wear personal protective equipment. That includes safety glasses and gloves.
- Prevent the risk of electrical shock or death by unplugging the machine. This ensures your safety.
We understand that taking the time to clean your ice maker is challenging to do. You lead a busy life and may not remember to clean the machine. However, ignoring the indicator light could mean that your ice maker doesn’t work correctly or stops working altogether.
We’ve talked about how to clean an Igloo ice maker. Though we include step-by-step instructions, you should read the manual first. Of course, we also talked about why you should clean the appliance and how often to do so.