How to Clean a Portable Ice Maker with Natural Ingredients?

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Portable ice makers have changed the way many individuals make ice for numerous reasons; the convenience and their ability to make ice instantly are two of the top benefits. If you, too, have an ice maker at home and use it often, it is important that you keep it clean so that the ice it produces is clean and hygienic and the machine continues to work smoothly. 

However, using the right cleaning solution and tools is important, as using flammable liquids or caustic or abrasive solutions can damage the ice maker. It is why the use of natural ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice is considered to be an effective way to clean a portable ice maker in a safe manner with successful results. 

While you may find specific cleaning instructions for your model in the user manual, this article offers a helpful guide comprising basic steps that you can follow to clean your portable ice maker with natural ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice.

How to clean a portable ice maker with vinegar?

Vinegar is a good choice for cleaning ice makers, as it is a safe and natural ingredient, works effectively in removing grime, and can disinfect the surface where it is applied. 

The process of cleaning the ice maker with vinegar is fairly simple, and you can easily do it on your own every month or so. All you need is vinegar, a bowl or pitcher, warm water, a soft cloth, a measuring cup, and a spoon for mixing. Depending on how dirty the ice maker is, you may also need baking soda, a toothbrush, and some paper. Here are step-by-step cleaning instructions for better understanding.

Prepping the ice maker

Before you proceed with the cleaning, unplug the ice maker and remove the ice from it. If there is any fluid in the appliance, drain it by removing the plug and emptying the liquid into a bucket or the sink. Now remove the accessories, including the ice basket, scoop, and ice pick. If your ice maker is equipped with water filters, remove them as well. If you find any ice attached to the coils once the parts have been dislodged, give the appliance time to defrost or run hot water to quicken the process of removing the residual ice.

Make the cleaning mix

Take one part vinegar and ten parts warm water to create a cleaning solution. Now pour the solution into the ice maker like you would pour normal water in it to make ice. However, if you have a strong buildup of dirt or scale, you can apply the solution with a spray bottle and use a sponge to scrub the targeted areas. 

You can also use dish soap, but if the soap-based cleaning solution is not removed from the ice maker properly, it will affect the taste of the ice. 

Clean the removable components

Dip the dishcloth in the cleaning solution to clean the accessories. You can also use a spray bottle for the purpose. If there are any tough spots or stains, make a paste from water and baking soda and use a toothbrush to clean those areas. If the ice maker has filters, you may need a Q-tip or toothbrush to clean them properly. If there is considerable buildup clogging the filters, soak them in the vinegar solution for some time and rinse them with clean water when done.

Cleaning the inner part

Once you are done with the removable parts, use the cloth dipped in a cleaning solution to clean the inside of the ice maker. You can also use the spray bottle to spray the inner surface with the cleaning liquid and use the cloth to wipe down the area. If there is a grime buildup or scale and lime deposits, dip the cloth in pure vinegar and apply it to those areas. You can also use baking soda and a cleaning brush to clean all the nooks and crannies.

Apply deep cleaning cycle

As a final step, you can make wash ice in the ice maker. For this purpose, plug the ice maker back in, and replace the drain plug as well. Now start the machine to make ice from the cleaning liquid. This will help clean all the parts of the ice maker with vinegar. Once the machine makes ice, remove the plug, discard the ice, remove the extra liquid from the reservoir, and dispose of it as well.

Cleanse the ice maker

Once the vinegar solution has removed the last of scale, lime, or grime, fill the reservoir with clean tap water and rinse it to clear the coils and water lines to remove the vinegar. Repeat the process two or three times to ensure all the vinegar solution is removed.

In any case, white vinegar may have a strong smell, but it is neutral, and the smell does not linger. So, once the cleaning process is complete and you rinse out its remnants, the ice maker will not retain the vinegar’s smell or taste,

Assemble the ice maker

Now that your ice maker is thoroughly clean, it is time to put the accessories back into the appliance so it is ready for use. If you have left the accessories to air dry, they may have some water spots on them.

To avoid this from happening, use a dry rag or paper towel to remove excess water when the accessories have been washed. You can use a paper towel to dry out the inside of the ice maker too.

Now plug your machine back in to use it to make ice instantly. 

How to clean a portable ice maker with lemon juice?

Like vinegar, lemon juice can also be used to make a cleaning solution for periodic cleaning of the ice maker to ensure it operates efficiently and performs well.

Lemon juice is considered to be a powerful natural cleaning agent as it has citric acid, which is antiseptic and antibacterial.

Hence it can effectively cut through grease, kill bacteria and remove mold as well.

  • To clean a portable ice maker with a solution made of lemon juice, take ten parts of water and mix one part of lemon juice in it to create a cleaning solution. Here is what you need to do. 
  • Unplug the ice maker, remove the ice from it, and let it defrost. Discard or store the ice and drain the water by removing the drain plug, usually located at the back of the ice maker. 
  • Remove the accessories that can be dislodged from the main machinery, including the ice scoop, bucket, and filters, if any. Clean these items with the cleaning liquid and a soft cloth. You can use a spray bottle to cover the items with the cleaning liquid. 
  • Use a cloth to wipe the items or a brush to remove stubborn slime and scale; rinse with tap water and let them air dry, or use a paper towel to pat them dry.
  • Clean the outside surface of the ice maker with a cloth soaked in the lime solution. Now use the spray bottle or cloth dipped in a cleaning solution to clean the inner area of the ice maker. Rinse with tap water to remove the dislodged debris and mold. 
  • Now pour the lime and water mix into the ice maker and run it to make a few batches of ice. Discard this ice, drain the water, and rinse again with tap water to remove any residue.
  • Dry the interior and exterior with a cloth to store the ice maker or if you want to use it, add water up to the watermark, plug it in the power source, and make a fresh, clean batch of ice cubes to add to your beverages, juices, and smoothies.
Paul Wade
About the author

Paul Wade

I’m Paul, and I founded Ice Maker Basics with my friends. We are dedicated to good drinking with ice and great living.
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