Cleaning a Commercial Ice Maker
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Cleaning a Commercial Ice Maker

Keep Your Commercial Ice Maker Clean

While ice is necessary for frosty beverages, most bar and restaurant owners aren’t aware of the dangers that can hide away within commercial ice makers. When industrial ice makers are not regularly drained and cleaned, a biofilm can form which creates a feeding ground for bacteria such as the Norovirus. Several companies who produce various commercial ice makers have begun putting antimicrobial coatings within the equipment. However, this does not mean that cleaning is no longer required. Only with proper handling, cleaning, and maintaining can you reduce the risk of bacteria in your commercial ice bin.


One of the most important handling procedures is to NEVER put bare hands in a bar or restaurant ice maker. Bacteria thrives in a cold environment. Passing microorganisms from your hands into the ice bin is inevitable, meaning you will have to throw out the entire batch, clean, and wait for more ice to be produced. Another way to prevent bacteria contact within your commercial ice machine is to store the ice scoops outside of the bin so that dangerous microorganisms do not contact the ice from the scoop’s handle. Any employee who is scooping ice should also thoroughly wash their hands before touching the ice scoops and dipping out the ice they need.


The inside of a new or used ice machine should be cleaned at LEAST every two months. We suggest sooner if possible. When you clean the ice bin, you should first remove all of the ice and use a scale remover that will eliminate any scale that has formed within the bin. The next step is to administer a sanitizer to ensure that all bacteria and microorganisms are eradicated. With regular cleaning, you will not only reduce the risk of illness, but your ice will taste better, too!


While handling and cleaning are extremely important, proper maintenance will guarantee that your machine is running appropriately, as well as pumping out a safe product. By replacing filters frequently, your ice machine will filter out impurities as well as protect against possible contamination. There are even antimicrobial lights that you can place within your commercial ice machines that make it impossible for bacteria to thrive. If you choose to use one of these antimicrobial lights, make sure that you regularly test and replace the light as necessary.

As a restaurant, bar, nightclub, or other food service owner, it is critical to preserve the health and safety of your patrons. Any owner knows that one bad experience can result in terrible reviews and reputation for the establishment. By ensuring the proper handling, cleaning, and maintaining of your ice bin, you will protect your customers and esteem within the community. Do you have any other tips for cleaning restaurant ice makers? We would love to hear about them!

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