How to Clean Your Ice Maker with Vinegar: Essential Tips

how to clean ice maker with vinegar

We all love our ice makers. Filling those little plastic trays is a pain in the neck. Or maybe you go through a lot more ice than those little trays can hold. Refrigerator-based ice makers are an improvement. However, sometimes what you really need is a countertop ice maker. Keeping your ice maker clean is essential for your health and for the longevity of your machine. And it's easy if you know how to clean your ice maker with vinegar. Vinegar is safer to use than soap. It washes away more easily, for one. For another, it's a food-grade ingredient and won't hurt you. Finally, you probably already have it in your cupboard at home.

There are other ways of cleaning your ice maker, of course. You could buy an expensive steam appliance, for example. You could also buy a chemical ice machine cleaner. Some people use a bleach solution to clean and disinfect. But why shell out all that money for another appliance? And why put yourself at risk with chemical solutions? If you know how to clean your ice maker with vinegar, you can have a cheap, safe, effective, environmentally friendly solution to this grimy problem.

Ice Makers Get a Lot of Use

An ice maker will help you beat the heat in the hot months and provide you a convenient way to fill up your cooler. Iced drinks taste better. And this is true whether you have a freezer-based ice maker or a dedicated ice maker unit. When you're using that much ice, though, it's even more important to keep your ice maker clean.

ice cubes

Personalized ice

While the ice maker that comes on your fridge is decent, not everyone likes long ice cubes. Plus, these cubes aren’t the right shape for every occasion. What if you want half cubes, square cubes, or chewable ice? Purchasing a countertop ice maker will likely give you access to more options in the type of ice you make. But you have to keep it clean.

Fewer trips to the store

Once you get an ice machine, your life will change a bit. Gone are the days of running to the gas station down the road to buy a few bags of ice. Not having to buy bags of ice will not only save on plastic but is much more convenient. If environmental sustainability is a concern of yours, cutting down on plastic in any small way is a huge win. Now you can have friends over to watch the game and provide all the ice yourself instead of having to buy bags of it.

ice

Unlimited ice on demand

One major downfall to buying bags of ice whenever you need to cool something is having a limited amount. On a hot summer day, the ice might melt, leaving you completely out of luck. With an ice maker, however, you can access as much ice as you want, when you want it. Most ice makers are quick and easy to use, giving you ice on demand.

Ice cubes home maker

Easy and convenient

Having ice on hand any time you want it is undeniably convenient. Instead of having to plan ahead by purchasing ice for your next party, you’ll already have all the ice you need right at your fingertips. And if anyone at your party runs out, you can just make some more.

lemonade drinks with ice

Delicious drinks

When you have your own ice maker at home, you won’t have to grab handfuls of ice out of a bag. Not needing to grab your ice by hand will result in cleaner, purer ice, and better-tasting drinks. Just make sure you learn how to clean your ice maker with vinegar, and your party will have the freshest drinks on the block.

The Benefits of Keeping Your Ice Maker Clean

People are always praising vinegar for its disinfecting abilities, and this cleaning solution comes with the benefit of being 100 percent natural. Using an edible cleaning solution is always a good idea when you’re cleaning food surfaces. You might be wondering how important it is to keep your ice maker clean. Wonder no longer.

  • Clear ice

When you learn how to clean your ice maker with vinegar, you’ll always have clear ice. A dirty machine will make cloudy ice and drinks that aren’t quite as fresh. Serve your guests tasty drinks every time they visit by ensuring your ice machine is clean and ready to use.

  • Pure-tasting ice

Having an ice maker you don’t clean often can lead to the machine absorbing flavors from your water. Prevent mildew buildup by keeping your ice maker clean, and your ice will always taste pure and clean. As an added bonus, you can use purified water in your countertop ice maker for even tastier beverages.

  • Fresh-smelling ice

Using a dirty ice maker can result in ice that doesn’t smell very fresh. Since smell is closely related to taste, smell is an important aspect of quality ice. A clean ice maker will give you only the best result for your next party or camping trip.

  • Health and sanitation

Since your ice maker is in constant contact with water, it can absorb nasty smells and tastes if you don’t keep it clean. Gunk and mold can also accrue. Learn how to clean your ice maker with vinegar and your health will benefit from having access to clean ice all the time. Now, it’s time to get into the actual process of cleaning your ice maker with vinegar. This process can be performed easily in the comfort of your own home.

How to Clean Your Ice Maker with Vinegar

Learning how to clean your ice maker with vinegar is actually very easy. You should perform this process every four weeks or so to ensure your ice is always clean and fresh. Just make sure you go step by step.

Step 1: Gather your supplies

To clean your countertop ice maker, gather some warm water, vinegar, a pitcher, soft cloth, spoon, and measuring cup. If your ice maker is very dirty, you may also need paper towels, a soft toothbrush, and some baking soda.

Prep the ice maker
Before proceeding, make sure your ice maker is unplugged since water and electricity together can cause a shock. Next, ensure you've completely drained your ice maker of any fluid by removing the plug, then fill up your sink with water. Then take the interior parts out of the ice storage bin, which may include an ice pick, scoop, or ice basket. Finally, remove the water filters from the machine, if your ice maker has them, and set them aside. There may still be old ice attached to the coils in your ice maker, and if so, run hot water over them to dislodge it.

Step 2: Create a cleaning solution

When you’re learning how to clean your ice maker with vinegar, using the proper cleaning solution is essential. The best solution will cut right through scale buildup while also disinfecting the ice bin. Using food-safe ingredients is crucial, which is why vinegar is such a good choice for this process.

Thankfully, it’s easy to create your own ice maker cleaning solution. Mix 10 parts warm water with 1 part vinegar and fill up the ice maker as you normally would to make ordinary ice. White vinegar is neutral, and although it smells strong, the smell won’t linger when the cleaning process is over. You can also add some of this solution to a spray bottle if you want to use that to aid the cleaning process.

Step 3: Clean the ice maker accessories

Grab your soft cloth and dip it into your cleaning solution, then run it over your ice maker’s accessories. Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle to spray them clean. Wipe down the accessories thoroughly, getting rid of any scale buildup or rough spots present. If you have stubborn stains or hard water lines, you may need to use some baking soda and the toothbrush to get rid of them.

If you do use baking soda, make sure you rinse it off all the way. To clean your water filters (if applicable), use a toothbrush or Q-tip to clear out any buildup. If your filters are clogged, you may need to soak the pieces in your vinegar cleaning solution.

Step 4: Clean the interior

To clean the interior of your ice maker, dip the cloth in your cleaning solution and spray down the inside of the machine with your cleansing solution. Use your soft cloth to wipe the area down, getting all of the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. You can use pure vinegar to disinfect stubborn lime deposits and scale buildup. As mentioned before with the accessories, you can use a toothbrush and baking soda for extra cleaning power.

Step 5: Make some “wash ice”

Put the water filters back on and replace the plug and drain cap on your ice machine. Plug the ice maker in and check the ON switch to ensure your machine is ready to go. Keep the accessories off to the side for now as you’ll be running the machine first before you replace them. In order to ensure that the working parts of the machine are thoroughly disinfected, make some ice using the rest of the cleaning solution.

Making ice like this will allow you to clean all of the machine's parts with the vinegar solution you made. Just pour the remainder of the cleaner into the reservoir and power the machine up. Let the machine process the liquid until the water reservoir is empty. Fill the machine up with the vinegar ice and then discard it. Drain out any extra liquid and throw that away, as well.

Step 6: Run the machine

Making vinegar ice is not the goal of learning how to clean your ice maker with vinegar. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that you've gotten rid of all the cleaning solution from your ice machine. Fill the reservoir up with clean water and run the machine again to cleanse the water lines and coils in the machine. Throw this ice away, again, and drain your reservoir one more time to make sure all the cleanser is gone.

Step 7: Replace the accessories

Now it’s time to replace the accessories on your machine and get it back in working order. To prevent unsightly water spots, run a paper towel or dry rag over the excess water on the accessories. You can also run the paper towel or rag over the interior of the ice maker. Your machine is now ready to use or you can unplug it and put it away for later use.

Don’t use dish soap
Again, using food-grade cleaning supplies is best for cleaning your ice maker so you can steer clear of any toxins in your ice. Although you technically could use soap and water to clean out your ice machine and accessories, it won’t lead to a tasty result. By using soap, you’d also risk creating lather or suds in the machine and causing damage to the ice maker. Soap is also much harder than vinegar to rinse out of the machine, which can lead to soapy ice if you aren’t careful. Vinegar does the job just as well as soap, so always use that instead of detergent.

Ready to Make Some Delicious Ice?

Everyone loves cold drinks, so having unlimited clean ice on hand at your next party is sure to make you a huge hit. Cleaning your ice maker is essential and easy. Once you do it once, you’ll find it simple to do it any time you need. When you keep your trusty ice machine clean, it will work much better, and you’ll also increase its lifespan. You don’t need to hire someone to help you clean this appliance, as you can see it’s quick to do on your own at home.

Now that you’ve learned how to clean your ice maker with vinegar, you’re ready to wow your guests with delicious ice at your next party. You can also take your ice on your next camping trip or sports game to stay comfortable and cool.

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