If you run a business in Kansas or Missouri that uses a commercial ice machine, you need to perform routine cleaning. There are many areas in a commercial ice machine that are susceptible to mold, slime, and other contaminants, so you want to make sure you’re using the best ice machine cleaner. At Ice-Masters, we require a minimum of two professional cleanings a year on all our commercial ice machine rentals. Still, professional cleanings can only protect your ice machine for so long. Employees should also perform routine daily cleaning on an ice machine.
Cleaning an Ice Machine is a Top Priority
According to the FDA, ice is considered a food, which means it needs to stay sanitary.
People with decreased immunity, such as the elderly and children, are high-risk for contracting food-borne illnesses. Making customers sick is a quick way to lose business in any industry.
A dirty ice machine can certainly make dirty ice that can make customers sick, but that’s not all. Dirty ice makers produce less ice a day and use more energy and water. This leads to higher utility bills and forces businesses to spend money on backup ice. To avoid this, we’ve created this helpful guide to cleaning Hoshizaki ice makers and cleaning Manitowoc ice makers for Kansas and Missouri business owners that covers all the basics of cleaning these commercial ice machines.
What is the Best Ice Machine Cleaner for an Ice Maker’s Exterior?
When it comes to your ice machine’s exterior, you should aim to clean and disinfect it daily. It’s best to include ice machine cleaning into your staff’s daily cleaning regimen.
For ice machine exteriors, you can use many disinfecting agents approved by the EPA.
If the area is particularly soiled, you’ll want to wash away any grime with soap and warm water first, so the disinfecting agent makes contact with the ice machine’s surface.
“It’s best to include ice machine cleaning into your staff’s daily cleaning regimen.”
You also want to make sure your disinfectant is designed to kill the contaminant you’re looking to eliminate. While many disinfecting agents are strong enough to kill most bacteria, viruses like coronavirus or norovirus are harder to kill. You also want to follow the direction on the label to find the correct dilution rate and contact time for the cleaner, so it can thoroughly clean the surface.
Which Ice Machine Cleaner is Best for an Ice Maker’s Interior?
Cleaning the interior of your ice machine is a complicated process and best done by a professional. A professional cleaning involves taking out components inside the machine and disinfecting them with a specialized ice machine cleaner. Taking apart the ice machine by yourself can void any warranties on your machine if you cause any damage. If you have an Ice-Masters rental, you can leave the professional cleaning to us. We keep a detailed history of every ice machine we service to ensure ice machines stay clean and safe. We also provide professional cleaning for existing ice machines and have been doing so for over 60 years.
There are some ways to lightly clean some internal components, like your evaporator, which are more user-friendly. Many commercial ice machine manufacturers include cleaning instruction in their service handbooks or on their websites. If you decide to clean your evaporator, make sure to use the specific ice maker cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Not all ice machines are built the same, so you could risk damaging the ice machine if you use the wrong ice maker cleaner.
“Taking apart the ice machine by yourself can void any warranties on your machine if you cause any damage.”
On the other hand, Manitowoc ice makers (and many other brands) have nickel-plated evaporator plates that require a nickel-safe ice machine cleaner. Harsh acidic cleaners will damage these plates and will require expensive ice machine repairs to fix. Manitowoc makes a nickel-safe cleaner they recommend on their ice machine models.
Cleaning the evaporator plate should be included in any professional ice machine service. Scale from hard water is a particularly big problem in the Kansas area and can lead to expensive problems for commercial ice machine evaporators. Ice-Masters cleans evaporators during every one of our preventive maintenance visits.
What Ice Maker Cleaners are Best for Inside an Ice Bin?
Cleaning your ice bin requires a few more cleaning steps than simply disinfecting the internal lining. Since the bin holds your ice supply, the interior lining is considered a food-contact surface, much like a cutting board, prep area, or serving tray. It’s important to clean, disinfect, AND sanitize the interior of your bin. This additional process helps to rid the machine of contaminants and keep your customers safe from toxic cleaners.
“Make sure you sanitize the interior of your bin after rinsing away any disinfectant. Sanitizing helps to maintain a bacteria-free surface in your bin.”
The EPA recommends many food-safe cleaners that work just fine as an ice machine cleaner. However, with any food-contact surface, you need to rinse away any disinfectant. Many disinfectants are toxic at high-concentrations and can make sensitive customers sick if you leave them on a food-contact surface. When cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing your bin’s exterior, make sure to shut the machine off and empty out the ice. You don’t want any of the cleaner to contaminate your ice supply when rinsing.
Finally, you want to make sure you sanitize the interior of your bin after rinsing away any disinfectant. Sanitizing helps to maintain a bacteria-free surface in your bin. Many disinfecting agents double as a sanitizing agent when used at a lower concentration. Just make sure to read the label for instructions on how to “sanitize.” This often includes mixing cleaner at a safe dilution rate or spraying an area for a shorter amount of time. With sanitizing, you do not want to rinse the solution after applying it to the bin’s interior. Instead, allow the mixture to air dry.
Once the surface is dry, you can turn the machine back on and close the bin door.
Clean Your Ice Machine Regularly – But Leave the Deep Cleaning to The Professionals.
A routine ice machine cleaning schedule along with ice safety practices is the best way to ensure your ice supply stays safe. For professional cleanings, a qualified ice machine technician is the best person to deep clean individual parts. Having your employees wipe down the machine down and sanitize the machine between uses is also an excellent practice to prevent accidental contamination.
If you’re looking to buy an ice machine for your Kansas or Missouri business, our all-inclusive ice machine rental program includes the best commercial ice machines from Hoshizaki and Manitowoc. We also include 2 preventive maintenance visits and comprehensive cleanings a year.
If you already own an ice machine, we provide the same great ice machine service as we do with our rental partners. Ice-Masters has been servicing the ice needs of Kansas and Missouri since 1961!