Commercial ice maker maintenance is an important task for any facility with the appliance, from restaurants to hotels, hospitals and residential care homes. In this blog, we’ll cover why it’s crucial to perform this job regularly, how to do it and what happens if you don’t maintain your commercial ice maker. 

It’s often a lot to keep track of, so many facilities choose to outsource this critical health code task. 

How Often Should a Commercial Ice Maker be Cleaned?

Most facilities must clean and sanitize commercial ice makers two to four times each year. We recommend consulting your specific user manual to verify. 

What makes extra ice maker maintenance necessary? Common reasons include how much it’s used, appliance location, and the condition of a facility’s water.

Why is Commercial Ice Maker Maintenance Important?

Because ice is considered food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it must be handled similarly. This prevents contamination and the risk to those who consume it. Contaminated commercial ice makers are a serious health risk and the bad microorganisms usually hide well. 

Out of sight, out of mind is not an option because commercial ice machine maintenance cleaning violations often carry a hefty fine, up to $500,000.

How to Perform Commercial Ice Maker Maintenance: Cleaning and Sanitization

Most bacterial growth in commercial ice makers is invisible to the naked eye.  Therefore, never assume your appliance is bacteria-free unless it is properly cleaned and sanitized. 

How to Clean a Commercial Ice Maker 

  1. Remove all ice from the ice maker’s bin and dispenser. Press the power button once and wait for a harvest cycle to fall into the bin. Then allow ice to melt.
  2. Press the clean/wash button to send water through the water dump valve into the unit. Allow the water trough to refill. This takes about one minute, then add cleaning solution.
  3. Using specifications from the ice maker manual, measure the appropriate amount of cleaning solution, and the right amount of ice. Allow the cleaning cycle to complete.
  4. Once the cleaning cycle is over, turn off power to the machine. Remove internal components for cleaning.
  5. Mix a warm water solution using ratios from the user manual. Use a cleaner and half of the warm water solution to clean removed components.
  6. Use the remaining portion of the solution to clean all food zone areas of the machine.
  7. Rinse all components and areas of the ice maker.
  8. Wash the exterior of the ice machine and wipe down surfaces. If greasy residue exists, use mild dish detergent and water solution to remove caked-on grime.

How to Sanitize a Commercial Ice Maker

  1. Follow your equipment manual’s instructions to create an ice machine sanitizer and tepid water solution.
  2. Sanitize removed components. Apply the solution to their surfaces or allow them to soak.
  3. Sanitize food zone areas.
  4. Reinstall all the removed parts.
  5. Allow 20 minutes of wait time for the sanitizer to do its job.
  6. Power up the machine and press the clean/wash cycle button.
  7. Once the water trough refills and indicates it is time to add chemical, send the correct amount of sanitizer through the trough.
  8. Reset your commercial ice maker to begin producing ice once the sanitation cycle is complete. Most machines are ready after 20 minutes. 
  9. Dispose of the first ice batch after cleaning and sanitizing. Monitor the freeze and harvest cycles for two cycles following commercial ice maker maintenance.

Outsource Commercial Ice Maker Maintenance

The cleaning and sanitization of commercial ice machines is a critical and time-consuming process. If you have more than one in your facility, multiply the time spent ensuring proper compliance. 

Also, consider how much you use this appliance. The more it’s used, the more often it needs to be cleaned and sanitized. Commercial ice maker maintenance is too important to skip or complete incorrectly. The risk to patients or customers is high, plus you risk fines for contaminated ice. 

To ensure your machines are compliant with commercial ice maker maintenance schedules, consider outsourcing with SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide. We follow all federal, state and local regulations to properly maintain your ice maker machines. We operate nationwide and pride ourselves on our responsiveness to your needs.

Contact SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide today to learn more about our commercial ice maker maintenance services and find out how our many outsourced services help your facility operate at its best. Do less, and get more done with SLM!