On any given day, a restaurant can easily go through hundreds of pounds of ice. Ice machines need to operate continuously to keep business running. One important part of keeping your ice machine running and safe for customers is keeping it clean. Unlike some pieces of equipment, which can simply be scrubbed and wiped down, ice machines must be cleaned and sanitized in a specific way. Here are the steps to cleaning your commercial ice machine.
Remove the Ice
All ice needs to be removed from the ice machine for proper cleaning and sanitation. Most machines have a feature that allows ice to melt or fall from the evaporators. Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to remove the ice.
Start with the Automatic Cleaning Cycle
The automatic cleaning cycle is the first step to cleaning your commercial ice machine. Press the “clean” or “wash” button, then wait for the container to fill up with water. The display will indicate when it’s time to add cleaner. Use the amount of cleaner your owner’s manual recommends. Once the automatic cleaning cycle is complete, typically after 20 minutes, turn off all electronic components, and disconnect the machine’s power.
Clean Machine Manually
After the automatic cleaning cycle comes cleaning the machine manually. With the machine powered off and unplugged, remove internal components. The owner’s manual can guide you on how to do so safely. Mix the cleaning solution with warm water, typically with a ratio of one gallon of water to 16 ounces of cleaner. Clean the parts you removed with half of the cleaning water, and use the other half for the ice storage compartments. Rinse when finished.
Over time, the exterior of the ice machine will also collect dirt from both inside and outside the machine. As often as necessary, clean the outside of the ice machine and areas around it with a damp cloth. If there’s greasy residue, use a mixture of mild dish soap and water, gently scrubbing with a cloth. Avoid bristly cleaning tools and harsh chemicals that can erode the machine.
Sanitize the Machine
When the cleaning steps are complete, it’s just as important to sanitize your machine. Sanitization keeps pathogens at a safe level so that your machine won’t spread disease-causing germs. Start by diluting sanitizer, generally three gallons of water to two ounces of sanitizing solution. Sanitize the removed components with one half of the mixture, then focus on all surfaces within your reach.
After you’ve sanitized each part, replace the removed parts. Wait 20 minutes for the sanitizer to work and dry off, then restore the power. Note that you will need to throw out the first batch of ice you make after cleaning and sanitizing the machine, as it will contain cleaning product residue.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, your ice machine will be safe to use for up to six months. It might be worth cleaning the machine up to four times a year if your business is especially busy. Our team at All Temp can help with Tampa ice machine services, whether you’re in the market for an ice maker or need help with any commercial kitchen equipment. Contact us online or give us a call at (407) 857-7800 to schedule an appointment.