How to Properly Clean Your Countertop Ice Maker

How To Clean A Portable Ice Maker

Directions on How To Keep Your Ice Maker Clean and Your Ice Tasting Great

If properly maintained, your portable ice maker should last for many years.

An essential step in maintaining your portable ice maker is making sure that your ice maker is cleaned regularly.

Cleaning your portable ice maker once a month ensures that your ice is always fresh and tastes great and that your ice maker works properly and lasts for a long time.


You should clean your ice maker when you see the followings signs:

  • Your ice tastes funny.
  • When your ice has a strang or unusually taste then it’s time to give it a clean.
  • When you visually see dirt on the walls and around the inside of the machine.
  • When the ice is smaller than usual or melts faster than it should
  • When the ice is cloudy in appearance (If you have an ice maker that produces clear ice)
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When cleaning your portable ice maker, you want to make sure that you follow these steps.


Unplug Your Portable Ice Maker Before You Begin To Clean Your Unit

When cleaning your portable ice maker, you want to make sure that you turn off the unit and that it’s unplugged.

Unplugging your portable ice maker is important for several reasons. First, you don’t want the ice maker to begin to run during the cleaning process and damage the unit. Also, you may have to carry the unit close to a sink or location where it’s easy to get a bucket under it so that you can drain the water from the portable ice maker.


Drain All the Water out of the Reservoir Using the Drain Plug on the Side of the Unit

Before you begin to clean your portable ice maker, it’s essential to drain the remaining water left in your unit.

At the bottom of your portable ice maker, you’re going to notice a small plug. On my portable ice maker, it’s a small screw cap with a little plastic plug inside the drain hole.

Bring your portable ice maker to a location that the water can drain in the sink, a cup, or container. Remove the drain plug and let all the water flow from the water reservoir. Draining all the water from your unit may take a few minutes.


Remove the Ice Basket and the Scoop

Remove the ice basket from inside the ice maker and the ice scoop. You can place these items to the side until we are done cleaning the unit.


Wash Your Portable Ice Maker

Next, use some warm water with a cleaning solution to clean your ice maker.

Several different cleaning solutions work great. One of the products that I like using for my ice maker is Ice Maker Descaling & Cleaning Solution by PurTru. This is a great green product that gently cleans your ice maker using all natural ingredients.

You could also use a homemade cleaning solution using lemon juice or vinegar by using 10:1 water to vinegar or lemon juice.

If your ice maker shows signs of mold, then I suggest Siamons Concrobium Mold Control for cleaning away the mold safely. If there is any signs of mold whatsoever you want to make sure that you deal with it right away and the right way.

Spray or dip a dry cloth into the cleaning solution and wash down your ice maker. It’s essential to make sure that your ice maker is thoroughly cleaned and that you wash places that are harder to reach, which include: where the ice is formed and the water reservoir.

If you are using the homemade cleaning solution and come to a tough stain, you can use pure vinegar or lemon juice for cleaning.


Make A Batch of Ice

After you are done washing down your ice maker, put the ice basket back into your unit and make sure that the drain plug is securely in place.

Next, plug your ice maker back into the outlet, and turn on your unit. Pour the cleaning solution into your ice maker and make a batch of ice.


Rinse and Then Rinse Again

For this step, we’re going to take the water back out of the machine. As we instructed above, take out the drain plug and drain the water into the sink or bucket.

Next, put the drain plug back into the unit and add fresh water.

With the fresh water, make another batch of ice.

After the ice is complete, you want to drain the water out of the unit once again by removing the drain plug.

With the drain plug removed from the ice maker, pour fresh water into the water reservoir only to be drained into a bucket or your sink. You can repeat this step several times before finally putting the drain plug back into the ice maker securely and start making ice once again.

Do not skip this step or your ice will taste like the cleaning solution that you used to clean the unit. It’s crucial to thoroughly rinse your portable ice maker after you are finished washing it.

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It’s A Good Practice To Unplug Your Portable Ice Maker If You Are Going To Be Away.

I would suggest emptying all the ice and water, wipe down the walls of your ice maker with a damp cloth and let it air dry before you go away or store your ice maker.

Storing a wet ice maker will cause mold to grow inside your unit over time.

If you’ll be away for a couple of days, what’s the point of your ice maker cycling through making ice if you are not going to be using it? Protect your ice maker by unplugging and storing it during vacations or last minute trips.

Always Keep Your Ice Maker Clean

Another essential tip for regular portable ice maker maintenance is keeping your ice maker clean. As mentioned above, cleaning your ice maker isn’t hard, but it does take time.

Make sure you take the time to wipe it down with a damp rag and let it air dry. Keeping your ice maker clean helps your ice maker to work correctly and your ice tasting great.

Ice makers can become surprising dirty over time, and wiping it down each week with a damp rag helps it to run as designed.

To ensure that your ice is always tasting its best, I also recommend that you change the water in your water reservoir each day.

Take Out The Ice Storage Tray and Wash It

Take the time to wash your ice tray when you’re cleaning the rest of your ice maker.

Add some warm water to your sink and place the tray inside the sink with the water. You want to be careful not to use chemicals when cleaning your ice maker because the taste of the chemicals will be transferred to the ice.

Do Not Use Harsh Solvents, Boiling Water or Strong Acids for Cleaning Your Ice Maker

You want to make sure that you don’t use anything to clean your ice maker that will cause long-term damage.

It’s always essential to use “ice maker-friendly” cleaners, and never use boiling water which will end up melting the plastic that makes up your ice maker.

The best practice for cleaning your ice maker is a mild detergent and a damp rag.

Descale Your Ice Maker regularly

One big problem with ice makers is hard water. Often an ice maker needs to be cleaned from calcium build-up inside the unit. Calcium build-up can mess with the sensors and cause your ice maker to malfunction.

There are two ways to tackle this problem. The first way is to purchase an ice maker cleaner like this descaler solution on Amazon. I know what you’re thinking – this says that it’s for coffee makers! Don’t worry about what it says on the bottle. This descaling solution will work just fine.

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These are just a few ways that you can keep your ice machine clean and working correctly.

Maintaining your unit is not difficult, but it does take some time. You want to be consistent cleaning your ice maker because this can add years to your machine and improves the flavor of your ice.

I would say that it’s necessary to clean your unit every second week for heavy use, and a minimum of every month for regular use. You will begin to see signs when your portable ice maker should be cleaned (we listed those signs above).

This reminds me, I need to go and clean my portable ice maker.

If you have any other tips for keeping portable ice makers clean, let us know in the comments below. We hope that you enjoyed this post.

Ice Maker Geeks are ice enthusiasts that review ice-making appliances, research ice-related topics, and do our best to help you make an informed decision before you make a purchase. Over the years of running this website, we have learned a lot and we’re excited to share that knowledge with you. The article you just read is just a small sample of the work that we have been doing over the last several years.

  1. I have a Contoure ice maker that was not used for a while and has a lot of mold in it especially the tray where the ice is made. Is there a way to clean the mold out of it with out taking the entire machine apart?

    • Hey Anthony,

      That’s a great question. I would add a mold remover to the water of the ice maker, and run the water cycle for a while until all the mold is gone. If possible use a small brush and wash down the walls of the ice maker. Also, rinse the machine several times before you use it. It’s important to make sure that all the mold is gone before you use it. Cheers.

      • Hi! I have an igloo and I try to clean it monthly. Usually some mold build up. Noticed today that the panel behind the ice modules had some build up that I couldn’t get out. What solution would dissolve it? Too narrow to get fingers in to clean.

  2. Is there a charcoal filter that needs to be replaced.

    • Not all ice makers have charcoal filters or filters at all. If your ice maker has a charcoal filter than you would have to change it when they recommend that it be replaced.

  3. Would it be okay to run a very diluted bleach cycle through my portable countertop ice maker?

    • Yes. You could. Use a highly diluted bleach solution. I would recommend using a lemon and vinegar homemade solution for general cleaning. For really dirty ice makers, I would use the products listed in this article.

  4. Hi can the top of ice machine be taken off to clean it?

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