Tri-Point Refrigeration Blog | Why Must Ice Machines be Cleaned?

Why Must Ice Machines be Cleaned?

Jan 27, 2024 | Commercial Kitchen, Ice Machines, Sanitation | 0 comments

Ice is one of the most crucial aspects of any food service. It cools, refreshes, and preserves. From the kitchen to the dining room, this is one of the most utilized tools. Beyond food service, this tool is also extremely important to things like healthcare facilities, hospitals, and clinics. Ice is truly an indispensable aspect of our everyday life, and we may not even notice it!

ice machine, dirty ice machine, cleaned
Dirty ice machine

We rely on ice for so much in today’s world–it helps us heal, it helps us preserve food and abundance year-round, and it helps us enjoy a refreshing beverage on a hot day. It permeates every part of our life in simultaneously the most and least important moments. For something so crucial, it’s important that the way it’s made is taken care of well. Ice comes from ice machines, of course, and those ice machines need to be in good condition to keep us supplied with this ever-important tool.

Why must ice machines be cleaned?

We have established that ice is extremely important in everyday life–we use it a lot. And of course, when we use a lot of ice, that means that we are using an ice machine, all day every day. These pieces of equipment are one of the most used in the kitchen, which can lead to it becoming quite dirty and in need of a good cleaning in order to keep supplying you with good, clean, and healthy ice.

That being said, the FDA actually considers ice to be food–which means that it needs to be handled with the same care that you would handle other digestible foods. This means that it’s not only in your best interest to clean, maintain, and sanitize the ice machine–it’s required!

Ice machines can accumulate a build-up of slime, scale, minerals, and mold. This will not only contaminate your ice machine and the ice itself, but it can lead to customers falling ill, which can bring a flurry of other issues along with it.

On top of the possibility of harming customers, an unclean ice machine is much more prone to breakdowns and malfunctions, which can end up costing you money that could have otherwise been saved had there been preventative cleaning and maintenance applied.

How often should ice machines be cleaned?

As ice machines can become so dirty due to their high rate of usage, it’s recommended that ice machines be completely cleaned and sanitized every six months, where you’ll want to call upon a professional to have a cleaning and preventative maintenance inspection done.

During a professional cleaning, a tech will begin the process by performing a deep clean to remove lime, scale, and mineral deposits from the unit. Next, the tech will sanitize the unit to remove any slime or algae that may have formed (sounds gross, but it’s common!). This generally quick procedure can save you tons of time and money in the future, as letting scale, lime, and algae go out of control within the ice machine can cause breakdowns, thus causing possible loss of business and expensive repairs.

Is it time to clean your ice machine?

You may be wondering–how do I know if it’s time to clean the ice machine? Well, if your ice machine is displaying any of the following behaviors, it may be time for a good professional cleaning:

  • Very slow or no release of ice
  • Ice machine doesn’t cycle into harvest mode
  • Ice is soft, not clear
  • Shallow or incomplete cubes
  • Low ice capacity

Call us

Thinking you may be due for an ice machine cleaning or have some preventative maintenance done? Have questions or need recommendations? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Tri-Point Refrigeration so we can help you along the way. We’re excited to hear from you, and with regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.

For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community.

Or check out our website at

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