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Commercial ice machines can make hundreds of pounds of ice per day. Very large ice machines are capable of thousands of pounds of ice per day.

But in order to keep that ice coming commercial ice machine cleaning needs to be a priority. Read on for a step-by-step guide to cleaning commercial ice machines.

How Often to Clean Commercial Ice Makers

To keep your ice machine running properly and efficiently, you’ll need to clean it often.

But how often is that? It really depends on your usage and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Most manufacturers suggest a deep cleaning of the commercial ice maker at least every six months. But you may need to clean it more often based on heavy use.

You’ll also need more frequent ice machine cleaning if you run a pizzeria a bakery or another shop where flour or yeast often floats through the air.

Your commercial ice maker will alert you when it’s time to clean it. Keep an eye out for poor ice quality (either too soft or not clear). Look for shallow or poorly formed cubes.

If the ice machine has a low capacity or is slow to harvest or release, it’s time for deep cleaning. 

Cleaning Commercial Ice Machines

These general steps will help you clean your commercial ice maker. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for model-specific instructions.

First, dispose of any ice in the unit.

Then clean the machine’s water system. Your instruction manual will explain how to do this for your unit. Expect this step to take about 20 minutes.

Once this is done, unplug the ice machine. Take the ice maker apart so you can clean the individual parts.

Next, inspect the air filters. You can typically find a chart in the manual that explains how much cleaning solution to mix with water to clean the filters.

Clean all the removable parts with a cleaning solution. Then clean the surfaces such as the base, the sides, and evaporator plastic parts.

Don’t be alarmed if the cleaning solution foams. That means there is some kind of mineral deposit on the unit. 

Once it stops foaming, use a cloth to scrub those areas. Then rinse the individual parts with clean water.

Now, check the machine’s filtration system for even pressure. Then inspect the sensors, hoses, pump, cube sizing controls and thermistors.

If any of these don’t look right, request a commercial refrigeration service appointment. 

Clean the Condenser

Just like with the filter, it is vital that you clean the condenser at least every six months. 

When the condenser is dirty, air can’t circulate well. This leads to less ice, higher operating temperatures and ultimately, a shorter lifespan on your unit. 

First, make sure the power is off to the ice machine as well as the remote condensing unit.

Next, check for dirt by pointing a flashlight at the fins of the condenser. You can clean this by blowing air through the condenser hose.

Or you can rinse it with water starting from the inside. If there is still dirt after you’ve done these steps, you’ll need to make an appointment to have your unit serviced.

Once the commercial ice maker is clean, you can then sanitize it.

Sanitize Your Ice Machine

Now that your ice machine is clean, you’ll need to sanitize it. Use the sanitizing solution and lukewarm water according to the directions on the package.

Sanitize all the individual parts you’ve removed from your ice machine. Use a spray bottle to soak the parts or immerse the parts in a sink full of solution and water. Let the parts soak in the solution for a few minutes.

While those parts are soaking, use the sanitizing solution to clean all the surfaces of the machine. Be generous when applying the solution.

Once you’re done, you can replace all the components. You do not need to rinse these with water! 

Set a timer for 20 minutes and wait. When the timer beeps, plug in the ice machine and turn it on. 

Push the “clean” or “wash” button on your ice machine. The display should tell you when it’s time to add the sanitizing solution to the water trough.

Set your machine to make ice after the sanitizing cycle finishes. It may take over 20 minutes.

Throw out the first batch of ice and run another cycle. Check the freeze and harvest cycle times to ensure the ice machine is working well. 

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Machine

The outside of your commercial ice machine can be cleaned as often as necessary. If your kitchen has a lot of grease and flour, the outside of your ice maker will need cleaning much more often.

Cleaning the outside of your commercial ice maker is simple. All you need to do is wipe down the surfaces with a warm damp cloth. This will remove dust and dirt.

If the exterior of your unit has stubborn grease, use a soapy dish rag to wipe the grease away.

Make sure you don’t use any abrasive scrubbing cloths or brushes on the exterior of your machine. Check your machine’s manual for the recommended cleaners you can use. 

You should never use cleaners that have citrus, chlorine or abrasive ingredients on the panels or plastic trim.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Commerical Ice Machines

Thanks for reading! We hope these step-by-step instructions for cleaning commercial ice machines help you keep your unit in tip-top condition.

Remember, proper maintenance will keep your unit running well. It will also extend the lifespan of your ice maker.

If you run into any concerns while you clean your ice machine, contact us. At Comfort Time Heating and Cooling we pride ourselves on giving you great service so that you refer us to all your family and friends.