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Your Ice Cube Maker: Important tips to keep it clean and smooth



From luxury party machines to simple fridge models, all ice cream makers have one thing in common. They need regular care and maintenance.

Without your TLC you will suffer from all kinds of preventable diseases. Thankfully, many problems are avoidable, and with a little work, keep your machine happy and buzz for years.

Disclaimer: There are numerous types and types of ice cubes in the market. Therefore, this article is intended as a general guide. Always consult the Product Guide for specific support, maintenance, and troubleshooting tips first.

Regular cleaning will keep your ice machine running well and looking good.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Keep it clean

Ice cube makers turn water daily into pounds of sparkling, frozen cubes. It may sound strange that they need to be cleaned frequently. These machines are like all devices that handle food. Unhygienic conditions promote germination, which in turn causes health risks

Avoid this by regularly cleaning your ice cube. Some manufacturers, like Scotsman, sell their own formulas for this purpose. Others, including True Manufacturing and FirstBuild (manufacturer of the opal), recommend that you mix a diluted bleach solution yourself. Regardless of what you use, the point is to flush your ice cream machine offal with the stuff. That, plus a good water flush, should protect against biological contamination.

Refrigerators with built-in ice makers and water dispensers do not need to be rigorously renovated. Still, it's a good idea to thoroughly cleanse them every month. To do this, pull the refrigerator out of the socket and empty the freezer and fresh food areas. Then wipe off all internal surfaces or wash them by hand. Use mild soap and warm water, no harsh chemicals or abrasive tools. Also, make sure each product is dry before returning it.

It never hurts to keep the outside of the unit clean. This keeps your ice cube maker great and prevents the accumulation of dirt and stains. Often you only need a damp cloth. A little soap and warm water gets rid of dried fluids,

Change the filter about every six months to remove impurities from your water supply.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Change the filter

You can not make quality ice from dirty water. Modern refrigerators with ice makers also have a water filtration system. Typically, they pass water through an activated carbon filter that removes common tap water contaminants. Chlorine, for example, can affect the taste and smell of your water and ice.

Many independent ice makers also rely on filters. Some just improve the taste and smell of water, while others can sort out volatile organic compounds. Many filtration systems, mainly for commercial use, have bacteriostatic effects that stop bacterial proliferation.

Regardless, always make a note of when it's time to install a new water filter. Also check your manual. It could be as many as 3 months, 6 months or every year.

Fancy ice machines that form crystal clear ice can quickly accumulate limescale deposits.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Do not forget to descale

If you do not invest in an RO (Reverse Osmosis) system, your ice cube maker will be affected by limescale (also known as limestone). Ice machines in refrigerators produce much less ice (4 to 5 pounds per day) compared to stand-alone machines. As a result, the build-up of deposits is less of a problem. Standalone icemakers produce this amount several times over the same period.

For example, the True Clear Ice Machine has a maximum daily ice output of 70 pounds. At this speed, limescale deposits can form quickly. If you do not remove them, they damage the machine parts and ultimately shorten their lifespan. Fight this by decalcifying your appliance regularly.

True and Scotsman recommend using their own descaling solutions in their ice cream machine. For the FirstBuild Opal Nugget ice cube maker, the manual says use household vinegar to attack internal scale deposits.

Deal with Clogs

Refrigerator ice machines are particularly vulnerable to clogs. Over time, the ice dispenser shafts tend to block. Usually it is crushed ice particles and frozen ice melt that are responsible for it. With newer fridge models with ice makers in the house, the repair is easy. First remove the ice bin, along with any stuck dice. Now use a warm, damp cloth to clean the bottom of the container and the ice slide. Dry everything thoroughly and then replace the trash can.

Older refrigerators with freezer icemakers need extra help. Check the ice chute for blockages. If that's not the problem, the cubes in the bin may have melted together. This happens when you rarely use the ice cube maker. Empty the ice bucket every week or so to prevent this.

Keep the vents on your ice cube maker free to allow them to flow properly.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Room to breathe

Standalone ice machines must be well ventilated, otherwise they will not work optimally. Undercounter units from Scotsman, True and GE have openings at their lower edges (front). Cooling air enters at the right side of the air outlet and warm air is expelled through the left air. Make sure that this vent is not blocked or obstructed. Likewise, Opal icemakers require at least 3 inches of clearance at their sides and back.


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