If not properly cleaned, ice machines can serve as the perfect breeding ground for slime and mold to form due to its damp and dark environment. As water flows over the ice making surface of the system, contaminants can spread through the ice machine and start to grow.
While many preventive steps can be taken to avoid large buildups of mold, slime, scale and sediment, restaurants often miss the warning signs due to a lack of proper ice machine education.
Cleaning Your Ice Machine and Bin
Restaurants can clean mold, slime, and other microbes from their ice machine with a few simple steps.
To clean both the interior of your bin or the exterior of the ice machine, mix a solution of 8 oz chlorine bleach per gallon water and transfer it to a spray bottle.
When cleaning the inside of an ice bin, shut down the ice machine and empty the bin. Next, spray any contaminated surfaces, and if needed, wipe the areas to remove the contaminants. After wiping the area, make sure to rinse the area with potable water.
Next, you should also sanitize the area. Mix a solution of two teaspoons of chlorine bleach per gallon of water and transfer it to a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the area and allow the mixture to air dry. Once dry, you can turn the ice machine back on.
Scale is the result of mineral concentration in the water. While it is not a health concern, it can cause significant damage to your ice machine, leading to costly repairs.
There are a few great ways to prevent scale, such as installing a water softener, adding a phosphate filter to the ice machine, or adding a reverse osmosis system.
These systems either treat the water or reduce the magnesium and calcium particles so they don’t combine to form scale.
Lastly, every water source contains sediment due to water traveling through a network of pipes before delivering it to the ice machine. Old pipes can flake and add unwanted material to the water which can damage the equipment inside of an ice machine.
Water filtration is your best line of defense to reduce particulates in your ice machine. A standard sediment filter is a must have for any ice machine. These filters need to be replaced every few months.
You may require additional water filtration methods, like a carbon block filter, depending on your water environment and your model of ice machine.
A reverse osmosis system is also a great way to reduce unwanted sediment.
Don’t Forget Professional Cleaning
While a routine cleaning schedule can help tremendously in keeping contaminants at bay, it’s not a replacement for a professional ice machine cleaning from a qualified technician.
Many factors can cause issue with your ice machines and it’s important to consistently monitor your system’s performance to look out for mold, slime, scale and sediment. In addition to taking the above precautions to clean your ice machine, a qualified ice machine service provider will routinely look for these warning signs.