Don’t let cloudy ice rain on your dinner party parade. Instead, schedule an ice maker deep cleaning once or twice a year (more if you have hard water that clogs filters) to ensure your guests keep enjoying your cocktails and mocktails. These steps will teach you to clean an ice maker for perfect ice cubes every time.
You've got this!
What you'll need:
- Owner’s manual
- Kitchen gloves (optional)
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Dish sponge
- Microfiber cloths or paper towels
- Plastic scraper
- Liquid dishwashing soap
- Distilled white vinegar (optional)
- Bleach (optional)
Read Your Owner’s Manual
It's helpful to read your owner’s manual to ensure you’re cleaning your ice maker correctly since there are thousands of freezer and ice maker models. If the manual is long gone, look for your refrigerator or freezer’s model number (usually inside the door edges) and search for the model number online. If you can’t find it, these general cleaning instructions will help.
Turn off the Appliance and Make Space in the FreezerPhoto: andov / Adobe Stock
Before you start cleaning the ice maker, unplug the freezer. Then, move the frozen food you want to keep into the fridge so you can make space in the freezer. Don’t worry about your food going bad since you have about 4 hours or more to keep your food fresh without power if you leave the refrigerator door shut.
Throw Away Old Ice and Expired Food
Throw away all old frozen food, which could solve your smelly ice problem because food odors transfer to ice. Also, discard the old ice. You can do this by pulling out the bin in your ice maker since it’s designed for regular washing. The specifics depend on the model, but in general, look for a metal arm to lift for bin removal.
Wash the Freezer Interior and Ice Bin
Let the ice maker bin and freezer accessories warm to room temperature to avoid cracking under hot water. Next, wash the entire interior parts with hot, soapy water and a clean sponge. Or, fill a spray bottle with a homemade cleaning supply of a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. Rinse and dry everything with a microfiber cloth or let air-dry.
Remove Ice From the Ice Maker’s Exterior
Remove ice formed on the ice maker with a warm towel. If needed, use a plastic scraper tool to help chip the ice, but be careful not to damage the ice maker. Clean the ice maker's exterior casing with soap and water or vinegar and water, then rinse and dry.
Sanitize the Ice Maker and Freezer
If you’re worried about freezer and refrigerator smells transferring to your ice cubes or want a more powerful clean, use a bleach-water solution to sanitize after washing and rinsing. Add 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to a gallon of water and wipe down the entire freezer, ice maker, and bin. Let them dry for 15 minutes. Then, rinse the bleach solution off, ensuring you clean and dry thoroughly.
Change the Filter
Sometimes, the ice tastes and smells funny because the filter isn’t filtering the water well. Change the filter and keep up with the manufacturer’s recommended change schedule to keep your ice clean and refreshing.
Turn on the Freezer to Run a Few CyclesPhoto: Tohid Hashemkhani / Adobe Stock
Now that everything is spick and span, replace the bin and turn on the freezer. Run a few ice cycles to clean the system, and then throw the ice cubes in the sink to drain or save them to water your plants later.
Reload the Freezer Food
Once the bin is tucked back in and the freezer reaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you can reload your food back into the freezer. After your hard work, you’ll now have clean, sparkling ice for your impromptu happy hour. Don’t forget to schedule the next ice maker cleaning in six months, whether you DIY it or hire a home cleaning pro near you to take care of your fridge, freezer, and the rest of your home.