Slime and mold are something most people have encountered in their showers or sinks, but they can also grow in your ice machine as well. Unfortunately, a simple bathroom cleaner isn’t going to be effective when cleaning your commercial ice machine. Let’s show you how to clean your ice machine of mold and slime, so your ice supply stays sanitary, and your customers stay safe.
Mold and Slime in a Nutshell – or Ice Machine
Your ice machine’s bin is actually the perfect place for mold and slime to form. It provides the right environmental conditions. It’s dark, damp, and difficult to reach, making cleaning difficult.
The nutrient-rich air around your ice maker introduces mold and slime to a veritable buffet of dust, grease, and yeast. Nutrient-rich air is common in workplaces such as bars, breweries, and bakeries, where yeast and flour saturate the air. Mold and slime eat off the particles in the air and continue to flourish throughout your ice machine.
Are Mold and Slime Dangerous to Customers?
Dangerous is probably too strong of a word to describe mold and slime. These types of growths are not particularly harmful to healthy individuals with an average immune system. Still, people with immunosuppressive conditions should avoid mold and slime anytime they can. To protect these individuals, keeping your ice clean is of the utmost importance.
Although mold and slime don’t present an immediate health risk, they are incredibly gross and likely something a customer will not want in their drink.
Mold and slime tend to grow in areas where ice drops because that is the area where the most moisture accumulates. If these growths become thick enough, they can fall off these areas and into your ice supply. For this reason, knowing how to clean your ice machine of mold and slime is imperative.
Are Mold and Slime Dangerous to My Business?
The answer to this question is a definitive yes. The FDA defines ice as a food product, so health inspectors will commonly write up a violation if they see it growing in your ice machine. Violations regarding mold and slime range in severity depending on your city’s specific health codes. Still, any violation is likely going to be made public. Most municipalities across the country post health code violations on government websites, and many local papers openly publish bad health scores.
No matter the severity, health code citations are bad for business. Customers tend to stay away from businesses that rank low.
Preventing the Growth of Mold and Slime
Air filters are your first line of defense when it comes to preventing mold and slime from growing. Air filters trap the particles in the air that mold and slime feed upon.
Some additional cleaning components can also hinder the growth of mold and slime. Ozone generators are one such device. These generators release ozone gas into your ice machine, where it prevents mold and slime from forming. Both sunlight and lightning generate ozone gas naturally. The gas acts as a powerful sanitizer that works 3000 times faster than chlorine.
How to Clean Your Ice Machine of Mold and Slime
If you happen to spot mold and slime in your bin, a solution of 20% chlorine and 80% water is best for cleaning your ice bin of these growths.
Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow:
- Use a spray bottle to saturate the contaminated surfaces
- If needed, wipe the areas to remove the contaminants
- After wiping, reapply the solution
- Important: Leave the mixture to air dry
Since mold and slime can be hard to identify in a busy workplace, a professional ice machine service is often the best choice to keep your ice machine clean. Professional cleaning technicians can get inside your ice machine and know the exact areas mold and slime prefer to congregate.