Your ice maker is there to make your life easier; it’s not supposed to be difficult to clean or fill up with moldy buildup. That’s why so many people ignore their ice makers entirely, which results in a less-than-fresh batch of ice cubes, and more often than not, an incredibly frustrating experience trying to fix your problem yourself.
Before you give up and buy a new refrigerator, follow this guide and learn how to clean your ice maker so that you can enjoy fresh, bubbly ice from now on!
Step 1: Empty The Machine
This step requires you turn off your refrigerator and unplug it. Also, make sure that you have cleaned out all of the water from inside of it before proceeding. Cleaning an ice maker can be done most easily if there’s no water left inside.
Once empty, remove any large chunks of debris from inside of it and set them aside. While there are some detergents that are safe for use in cleaning an ice machine, for best results use vinegar or white vinegar because it’s excellent at breaking down hard water deposits.
Another option is baking soda which also works well but may require a bit more elbow grease than using vinegar or white vinegar would require.
Step 2: Replace Filter in Water Line
If you have a water line filter attached to your refrigerator, you will want to remove it and discard it. These filters need to be replaced every six months or else they will restrict how much water comes out of your refrigerator’s line.
If you aren’t sure how old your filter is, check now before moving on with cleaning your refrigerator’s water line. After removing and replacing the filter, leave water running from a faucet for about 30 seconds in order for any old impurities in the faucet itself to get flushed out.
Step 3: Unclog Water Lines
Caked-on ice and water can collect in your refrigerator’s tubing. Over time, that can lead to a clog or even corrosion. Cleaning out those water lines may sound like something you don’t have time for, but it can improve efficiency and can even save you money on utility bills!
Just run a hot cycle with equal parts vinegar and water through all of your refrigerator’s dispensers (ice, water and soda). Close up any doors for 15 minutes to allow everything to loosen up; then open them again and let things drip out naturally. Finish off by cleaning out all drains with warm, soapy water.
Step 4: Wash the Storage Basket and Trays
Depending on how dirty they are, you might want to soak them in warm, soapy water for a few minutes first. Then scrub them down with a brush. This can be a chore if there’s really stuck-on debris or mold inside, but it should be relatively easy if you work carefully and rinse things often.
If there’s any lingering odor, try spraying everything with a bleach solution (or lemon juice) and then rinsing well. Let everything dry completely before putting it back into your refrigerator.
Step 5: Remove and Sanitize the Inner Pans
Take out both pans and fill them with white vinegar. Let them soak for 10 minutes and then wash thoroughly in hot, soapy water.
Dry with a lint-free cloth or paper towel before replacing in machine. Once you’ve cleaned both pans, add distilled water back into each one. If you’re only cleaning one pan, empty it completely before filling it with distilled water again.
Step 6: Wash the Condenser Coil
It’s important to wash down anything in your fridge or freezer that comes into contact with your food. Cleaning down all surfaces, especially items like condenser coils, will ensure that mold and bacteria do not get a foothold on surfaces that they could contaminate your food.
If you’re lucky enough to have a stainless steel refrigerator, use stainless steel cleaner; otherwise, white vinegar should be used on glass and mirrors (be sure to test it first on an inconspicuous spot).
The best advice here is prevention. If you can keep food particles out of these crevices and prevent them from getting dirty in the first place, you’ll save yourself hours upon hours of cleaning time over time.
Step 7: Disinfect the Walls of the Freezer Compartment
If you can see mold, wipe it away with a chlorine bleach solution. If you cannot see any visible mold, spray a chlorine bleach solution over all surfaces of both freezer walls. Let stand for at least five minutes then wipe dry with a clean cloth.
The best way to do that is by filling a spray bottle with water and adding 1/2 cup of non-scented household chlorine bleach (you can buy it at most grocery stores).
Just make sure not to get any on food or in food areas; be sure it gets into cracks and crevices where mold might be lurking. Wipe dry with a soft cloth after letting sit for five minutes or so.
Step 8: Store with a Clean Sponge
To keep your freezer tidy, store your reusable sponges in a zip-top bag in the freezer. When it’s time to wash them, let them sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes. This helps prevent condensation from forming inside and makes it easier for excess water and debris to be flushed away.
When you’re done cleaning up, just throw that sponge back into its bag and stick it back in the freezer until next time. Wash regularly with warm water and soap or detergent.
Step 9: Use Only Fresh Water
Use bottled or filtered water when filling up your icemaker. Using soft water will keep build-up in check, meaning you’ll have a better chance of extracting that crystal clear ice. If you have a special kind of filter on your faucet, try using it. But make sure you know how often they need changing and replace them regularly!
Ice Maker Cleaning Is Easier Than You Think! Here’s How: 1. Inspect your fridge-ice dispenser lever. Make sure there are no tiny, hard-to-see crumbs or other bits that have clogged it up. (If you can’t see inside, wipe it down with a damp cloth.)
2. Make sure the filter in front of your icemaker has been replaced or cleaned regularly. If you don’t know how long it’s been since you last changed it, do so now—they’re easy to access and affordable!
3. Run an empty cycle on your icemaker with vinegar in place of water–this will loosen any hard buildup and leave it sparkling clean for weeks to come!