You know that you require plenty of ice throughout the day, so you buy a reliable and durable KitchenAid ice maker. It sits on the counter or underneath it to keep frozen water “flowing” all the time. However, if it has been a while since you started using it, KitchenAid ice maker cleaning is ideal to maintain it.
Plus, the appliance will feature a status light that tells you to clean the machine. When it goes from green to yellow, this indicates it’s about time to clean it. Once the color moves to red, it’s definitely time to perform such routine maintenance so that production and quality do not decrease.
What Is an Ice Maker?
There are two types of ice makers: one that is built into a freezer and one that is portable and sits on or underneath your countertop. Most families have one built into the freezer, but some models don’t offer this feature.
If that is the case, you can always purchase a portable ice maker. It can sit on your countertop and make enough ice for you and your family. Those who require more ice may find that an under-counter ice machine may be best because it produces more ice throughout the day.
Many times, small restaurants will use portable ice machines. Either they don’t have a stationary one, or they need extra ice. Regardless, residential and commercial ice makers are available for purchase from many retailers.
How to Clean a Painted or Colored Exterior
If you’ve got an ice maker with enamel surfaces, you will need to wash the exterior periodically. To do that, use mild detergent or soap and warm water. Dip the cloth into the soap solution, wring it out, and wipe the surface.
With another cloth or towel, dry the surfaces. It is best to use a soft or microfiber cloth when drying and washing. Paper towels can leave behind residue, as well as scratch the clear coating on the door.
You may want to consider investing in appliance polish and cleaner designed for ice makers and refrigerators. This will help to protect the finish.
It’s important not to use any abrasive cloths or steel-wool pads when washing the ice maker. Of course, you should also avoid ammonia, window spray, vinegar-based cleaners, and more.
How to Clean a Stainless Steel Ice Maker
If your ice maker is made of stainless steel, it requires a specific method for cleaning. You shouldn’t use scouring pads filled with soap, harsh cleaners, or products that contain chlorine bleach. Some paper towels may also be too abrasive, as well.
You can use a special cleaner designed for stainless steel. To do so, spray it on the microfiber cloth. Then, wipe the surface going with the grain.
Of course, you can also wash stainless steel surfaces using a non-abrasive sponge and liquid detergent. When the ice maker is cleaned, use another clean cloth to “rinse” the appliance. Then, you can dry it all with a lint-free, soft cloth.
Remember, you need to dry off all of the water or risk discoloration. Most tap water has iron in it, which can cause rust-like stains to appear. It’s also helpful to polish the surface until it shines when you’ve finished cleaning it.
KitchenAid Ice Maker Cleaning Method
There are many steps involved to clean your ice maker. We take you through the process so that you can work at your own pace and know what to do.
The General Method
- Turn off and unplug the ice maker.
- Wait for about 10 minutes so that all of the ice falls into your storage bin. You can then remove your ice and store it in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer to stay cold.
- You’ll need to unscrew the appliance’s drain cap. This is located at the bottom of your water pan and is inside the storage bin. The water should drain completely before moving onto the next step.
- Replace the water pan’s drain cap, securing it tightly. A loose drain cap will permit water to empty out of the water pan. This means you will not have any ice or it will be “thin“.
- Read the information on the bottle of cleaner before using it. You will need one full 16-ounce bottle of ice maker cleaner.
- Pour the entire bottle of cleaner into the water pan. Now, fill the bottle with tap water, pouring it into the pan. Do this two times.
- Your machine should have a “clean” button. Press and hold it until the light blinks, which indicates that the process has begun.
- The cleaning cycle is complete when the indicator light goes green. This can take up to 70 minutes. During the process, the machine cleans and rinses itself.
- Once the cleaning cycle is finished, you will need to remove the water pan’s drain cap again. Make sure there is no cleaning solution left inside. If there is anything that drains out of the water pan, you need to rerun the cleaning process.
- Please note that you may need to do multiple cleanings if you have severe scale buildup. When this happens, you’ll need numerous bottles of cleaning solution.
- Once there is no cleaning solution coming from the water pan, the process is finished. You should press and hold the machine’s “on” button. This resumes the production of ice.
Cleaning the Condenser
It is important to clean the ice maker’s condenser periodically. If you don’t, it could obstruct airflow. You may also find that it doesn’t produce as much ice as usual, or the operating temperature reaches dangerous levels.
There are multiple steps involved to clean your condenser. We take you through each one so that you can do this easily and quickly.
- Make sure to unplug your ice maker and disconnect the power source. This avoids electrical shock or death.
- There are a total of four screws that need to be removed. Two of them are on the lower access panel, and the other two are on the front support grille area. You’ll need to pull the lower access panel forward to remove it.
- Now, pull the bottom toward you and then downward. This removes the lower access panel completely.
- It’s important to remove any lint or dirt from the fins on the condenser. You’ll also have to do this for the unit compartment. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to make it easier.
- Put the lower access panel back in place. Screw everything down like it was initially.
- Plug your ice maker back in and turn it on. Everything should be working correctly again.
Cleaning the Interior Parts
Though there aren’t many interior parts you need to worry about, the cutter grid needs periodic cleaning. We’ve come up with a step-by-step guide to help you.
- Make sure that you turn off the machine. You should also unplug it.
- Open the door to the storage bin. Remove any ice that you see. Consider storing it in a freezer bag and putting it in the freezer to keep its shape.
- Drain the water from the water pan. To do this, remove the drain cap. Once it’s empty, make sure to put the lid back on the water pan.
- If you don’t tighten the drain cap, the water will empty out of the water pan. You won’t have any ice, or the ice might be thin.
- Two screws secure the cutter grid in place. Remove them and remove the cover.
- There’s a wiring harness on the left side; unplug it.
- Now, unplug the ice level sensor, which is on the right side of the grid. Pull down and forward on the sensor to keep it away from the grid.
- Remove the screws from the left- and right-hand side. Lift up and out on the cutter grid to remove it. The plastic spacer on the right side should stay with the component.
- Finally, remove the thumbscrews holding the water pan inside. You’ll push down on the front with one hand while also pulling forward from the bottom back of the water pan.
- Inspect the cutter grid. Remove any debris you find with a vacuum cleaner or a soft, lint-free cloth.
Cleaning the Ice Holder and Scoop
There may be times where you need to remove and clean the holder for the ice scoop and scoop itself. These steps will help:
- Locate the holder for the ice scoop. It might be in the lower left or upper left of your unit. Some models require you to lift the holder and pull out gently.
- Take out the ice scoop. Now, remove the two thumbscrews so that you can take out the holder.
- Wash the holder and any other interior components. These can include the door gasket, storage bin, and ice scoop holder. Use warm water and mild detergent or soap.
- Make sure to rinse all of the components using clean water. You can fill up the sink or use running water.
- Add about one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of warm water. Put all of the parts into the solution to soak.
- Rinse them off thoroughly in clean water.
- Make sure that you do not remove any hoses. You cannot wash any plastic parts using the dishwasher.
- Now, you can replace the ice scoop holder. You may need to push in and down to do so. Finally, make sure that you put the thumbscrews back in.
Cleaning the Water Filter
Some appliances come with a built-in water filter. You should remove this piece before cleaning and wipe it down. You must replace the filter with a fresh one when you put it back into the system.
If you choose not to do so, you may find that the water tastes different. This happens because there is no barrier to remove impurities from the liquid before it is frozen. When using a portable system, you can choose to use a filtration system from the faucet instead of one with a built-in water filter.
Once you’ve cleaned all of the components, it is time to make sure everything is hooked up correctly. You’ll need to secure the drain cap in place and make sure it is tight. You should also check that the water pan hose is inserted into the drain opening for the storage bin.
If you didn’t do this in the step-by-step guide, you’ll want to slide your cutter grid into place and tighten the right screw with the plastic spacer. Then, you’ll want to tighten the left screw. Finally, reconnect the cutter grid’s harness and ice level sensor harness.
Replace the cover for the cutter grid, as well as the two screws. Now, you can plug in your ice maker and turn it on.
Why Clean Your Ice Maker
You may be wondering why you need to clean the ice maker. After all, it only runs water through it, right? While that may be true, water is not as pure as you may initially think.
It has a variety of minerals in it, which can cause limescale buildup in the machine. With time, the scale builds up too much that the water can’t easily pass through. You may notice that the ice tastes funny, or the machine seems to work harder or longer.
Most KitchenAid ice makers have a button to indicate when you should clean the machine. This is likely to turn on for the first time after nine months of use. However, you can choose to clean your appliance more often, especially if you notice a decrease in its efficiency.
Most homeowners find that they need ice throughout the day. You may host parties and events often, or you may just like ice-cold beverages. Regardless of your reason for using an ice maker, you need to maintain it correctly.
KitchenAid ice maker cleaning ensures that the components last a long time, and the ice you get tastes great. We’ve talked about how to clean all parts, ensuring that the entire system is clean and ready to go.