When you’re dealing with ice maker issues, you don’t want to have to worry about the quality of the ice that’s being produced.
If you have an issue with your ice maker, though, it can be difficult to know where to begin fixing it, especially if it’s just producing small amounts of not-so-good-quality ice that are hard to remove from the ice maker itself.
But if you know how to keep ice from sticking in ice maker, you can fix any issues quickly and effectively without having to worry about replacing your entire appliance because of one small issue.
Step 1: Know When Maintenance Is Needed
It’s important to know when your ice maker needs maintenance. As it turns out, there are several tell-tale signs that your ice maker is malfunctioning. Common issues include not making enough or any ice at all, as well as a strange odor coming from your machine.
You should also schedule maintenance if you notice white pieces of residue on your ice cubes. If you ever experience these issues, then it’s time for a professional inspection by an expert. Your local appliance repair shop can help get your ice maker back up and running again.
Step 2: Clean the Ice Maker With Vinegar
Vinegar is an inexpensive, natural and non-toxic way to keep your ice maker clean. Every couple of months, pour vinegar into a pitcher or bowl, and place it in your freezer overnight. In the morning, remove it and let it sit on your counter until completely thawed (this will take several hours).
Then use a sponge or rag dipped in vinegar to wipe down all parts of your ice maker. Make sure you get any drips off before placing your appliance back into operation. Check out my other post on How To Keep A Fresh Smelling Fridge for more tips on keeping appliances smelling fresh too!
Step 3: Consider Adding Detergent/Descaler
If your ice maker is still building up scale, even after descaling and cleaning, you may want to consider adding a water softener or laundry detergent. Some people recommend a half-dose of detergent as opposed to a full dose; you can experiment with different amounts and see what works best for your situation.
Detergents like Calgon also contain surfactants (detergents that reduce surface tension) that help clean surfaces better than straight water alone. Using Calgon on an ongoing basis will have a cumulative effect of reducing hard-water buildup in your machine over time; it’s not going to happen overnight, but it might be worth looking into if ice build-up remains an issue.
Step 4: Flush Out the Lines With Water
To clean out any build-up and sediment, you’ll need to first flush out all of your water lines. If you don’t do so, your ice cubes will be full of impurities that can lead to cloudy ice or worse yet, clogs.
To flush out your system, remove any removable parts from inside your freezer and run them under some hot water for 5 minutes. For example, on Whirlpool models, there are three separate water tubes that go into each cube compartment; they unscrew easily by hand.
You should also remove any filters (such as those found on top of some Kenmore and Frigidaire models) and rinse them thoroughly under warm water.
Step 5: Sanitize With Bleach
While many people try scrubbing with baking soda, it won’t kill germs. You can, however, sanitize them by adding a small amount of bleach to a pot of water and letting your ice maker’s trays soak for five minutes.
After you remove them from the water, be sure to thoroughly rinse everything with clean water (and if you have a self-dispensing machine that includes an icemaker as well as an ice bucket, remember that bleach could damage your bucket). Note: Do not use vinegar.
It is a mild acid and can cause deterioration. Also avoid using cleaners containing ammonia or lime scale removers because they may leave behind residue that will prevent your ice maker from properly freezing ice cubes.
Step 6: Check Water Pressure
Once you have cleaned all parts thoroughly, it is time to enjoy your ice maker again. There is no point of keeping a machine that does not function properly when there are a lot of other things that need to be done.
The next time you go for shopping, do not forget to buy new ice trays. Even if your current ones are still usable, it can help if you just switch them out with newer ones.
This way, you are sure that your ice maker will function properly once again and produce great cubes of ice which could be used for any frozen drink or snack treat.
Step 7: Change Filters if Necessary
If your ice maker is struggling with a clogged filter, you can clear out any gunk using a needle or toothpick. Before you begin, be sure your hands are dry so that you don’t transfer any bacteria into your water supply. Then grab a tool and gently poke at any built-up grime until it dislodges.
Pay special attention to anything that looks like mold—if necessary, use hot soapy water to remove stubborn residue. Next, pull out your filters and wash them by hand under warm running water with mild dish soap before returning them to their proper spots.
Consider keeping an extra set on hand so that they’re ready if/when one set needs more than just a good scrubbing.
Step 8: Add Salt or Calcium Chloride (if recommended)
If your ice maker recommends adding salt or calcium chloride, add it now. We added 1/2 tsp of each when we needed to fix our freezer. Be sure to check with your owners manual before making any changes!
Be careful with these, though – too much can ruin your appliance. The crystals and residue they leave behind can clog up your ice maker and make it unable to produce ice at all, so use as little as possible.
If you need more information on what type of food grade additive is right for you and how much is needed per batch of ice cubes, talk with an owner’s manual or check out an online forum.
Step 9. Enjoy your ice maker again!
All you need is a plastic bag and some water. Place your ice maker’s ice tray into a Ziploc bag, and fill it with water up to about half way. Seal the bag (remove as much air as possible) and place it back into your freezer.
Now wait 24 hours and observe what happens! The excess water freezes on top of your ice cubes, making them slippery so they can easily slide out when released by your refrigerator’s ice dispenser. And that my friends, is how you keep ice from sticking in an icemaker!
If your ice maker produces mostly small, slushy cubes that quickly dissolve into water, it’s possible you have hard water. There are several additives you can use to soften water, but it’s a better idea to just use filtered or bottled water if you’re able to instead.
Softened water may increase your risk of getting cavities and other dental problems. If none of these techniques work for you, consider calling an appliance repair technician for help. They’ll be able to tell whether or not there’s an issue with your ice maker—and then either fix it or replace it if needed.