How to Clean a Portable Ice Maker Quickly

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We love portable ice makers for their low price, portability, and compact design. On top of all that, they are also incredibly easy to maintain.

Portable ice makers have a simple design, so it’s easy to quickly clean the interior and exterior.

Before you start cleaning, it’s a good idea to check the cleaning instructions in the user manual. You don’t want to do or use anything that might damage the unit and possibly void the warranty.

But, generally, you can clean any portable ice maker the same way. We’ll give you two techniques: the quick option and a deep cleaning option.

How to Quickly Clean a Portable Ice Maker

If you only have a few minutes to clean a portable ice maker, focus on cleaning the areas you can reach.

  1. The first step is to use the appropriate cleaning solution. Warm water and dish soap are safe for most portable ice makers. But check the user manual in case the manufacturer requires a specific cleaner.
  2. Drain any water left in the ice maker’s reservoir. There should be a drain plug somewhere at the bottom of the ice maker. If the ice maker is in the middle of an ice-making cycle, wait for it to finish before draining the reservoir.
  3. Take out any removable parts. In most models, the ice bin comes out easily, and you can wash and rinse it under the tap. Taking out the ice bin also lets you access the water reservoir below it.
  4. Dip a cloth in the soap and water solution and use it to wipe down the interior of the ice maker, including the water reservoir. Use a soft brush to clean hard-to-reach areas such as the ice molds or tines.
  5. Also, wipe down the exterior of the ice maker. 
  6. Add fresh water to a container and wipe the interior and exterior again to rinse away any soap residue.
  7. Put back the ice bin and close the drain plug. Your portable ice maker is ready to use again.

A good alternative to dish soap and water is a lemon juice or vinegar and water solution. This is especially ideal if you notice some scale or stains in the ice maker.

Mix 10 parts water and 1 part vinegar or lemon juice. Wipe down the interior and exterior. Finish by wiping the ice maker with a cloth dipped in freshwater to rinse off the cleaning solution.

You can also add the vinegar solution to a spray bottle, which is great for reaching hidden areas and components.

How to Deep Clean and Sanitize a Portable Ice Maker

snow cone machine

A quick clean is alright for weekly or fortnightly cleans. But once a month, you should do a deep clean that includes the ice-making system. You should also sanitize the ice maker to get rid of any mold, mildew, or bacteria that may be developing.

  1. To deep clean, a portable ice maker, start with a quick clean. Using a dish soap and water solution, or vinegar and water, wipe down all areas you can reach.
  2. Next, close the drain plug and add a sanitizing solution to the reservoir. Some portable ice maker manufacturers sell sanitizer specifically for their products. You can also buy a general ice maker sanitizer online or make your own by mixing 2 quarts of warm water with a tablespoon of bleach.
  3. If your ice maker has a self-clean function, press the right button to activate a self-clean cycle. The unit will run the sanitizer solution through the ice-making system, ensuring the entire unit is clean.
  4. If your ice maker is not self-cleaning, run an ice-making cycle. As the water passes through the ice-making system, it’ll clean and sanitize it. Discard the ice that’s made.
  5. Run a rinsing cycle by adding fresh water to the reservoir, pressing the self-clean button, or running an ice-making cycle (discard the ice). Rinse the ice maker 2-3 times to ensure your ice doesn’t have any unusual tastes.

That’s it; you’ve deep cleaned and sanitized your portable ice maker.

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Portable Ice Maker?

If you use the ice maker daily, we recommend doing a quick clean every week or every two weeks. If you only occasionally use the ice maker, you can clean it once a month.

As for deep cleaning/sanitizing, do it every 1-3 months depending on how often you use the ice maker and the water quality in your home (if you use hard water, clean more often to prevent scale build-up).

How Do I Remove Mold From a Portable Ice Maker?

frigidaire countertop ice maker efic

Make a strong vinegar solution, then wipe down the inside of the ice maker with it. Leave the ice maker for 10 minutes, then wipe it clean with a towel dipped in clean water. This should remove all visible mold stains.

For particularly tough stains, apply pure vinegar directly on a cloth and scrub down the stain.

Finish by sanitizing the entire ice maker. There could be mold hiding out of sight. Add a vinegar and water solution to the reservoir (or use the manufacturer-recommended sanitizer), then run a self-cleaning or ice-making cycle.

Run 2-3 other cycles with clean water to rinse the system.

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