If you’re making cocktails, you know the importance of proper dilution. There’s nothing worse than ice that tastes like a freezer or smells bad. Since I built my basement bar, I’ve had to learn how to clean a countertop ice maker. If you have one, you might want to follow a few of these tips to keep your ice as fresh as possible without having to waste any. Plus, keeping your ice machine clean will also ensure that it works properly and lasts for a long time. Let’s get going!
This is my ice maker. It’s reasonably priced and makes up to 40 pounds of clear ice in 24 hours. The ice maker is not a freezer, so it needs to be emptied regularly. It is filled from the top. I use a water pitcher for this.
How to Clean a Counter Top Ice Maker
1. Keep it Dry
The best thing you can do to keep your countertop ice machine clean is to keep it dry. When things are left wet, mold and mildew can grow. In order to minimize the scent and physical presence of mold, dry your machine well after use. Keeping your counter top ice maker dry will also limit any mineral deposits from building up inside.
Depending on what brand you have, you may find different features, but most come with a plug or a drain. Use this to remove as much of the standing water in your machine. I like to tilt my ice maker over the sink to let as much water out as I can before replacing the cap (or cover). Occasionally, I will leave it open to let the hose dry out completely but I also want to avoid anything climbing in. (I live in the Midwestern United States, and spiders are always looking for cool, dark places to hide.)
Once you have removed as much standing water, you’ll want to dry the inside of the machine as well. I like using flour sack towels for this. They are low dust and lint so they won’t leave anything behind in your ice maker. These towels are also absorbent and thin enough to get into all the nooks and angles of your machine. They also work well to slightly prop open the lid of your ice maker to let it dry further.
2. Keep it Clean (but Unscented)
After every fifth use, I like to wash the inside and outside of my countertop ice maker. It’s important to use either natural or unscented soap so you don’t taint the flavor of your ice. (My husband once used Mountain Fresh OxiClean to clean bottles for beer and that batch was ruined.) I like Dawn Free & Clear Powerwash for cleaning my machine. I spray a little onto a damp flour sack cloth and wash the machine and then use a damp cloth to rinse off the soap.
If you want something completely natural, a mixture of a half cup of baking soda and one quart of warm water can be used. This works well because baking soda naturally absorbs odors and is gentle enough not to scratch your machine.
3. Keep it Shiny
If you have a stainless steel machine, I would highly recommend using a microfiber cloth for stainless steel. It keeps it shiny and fingerprint free. I’ve had the same one for a long time and it still works really well.
4. Use the Best Water
This may go without saying, but to make delicious ice, you have to start with good water. If you love your tap water, use that in your ice maker. For even more consistent ice, try using filtered or bottled water. Most ice makers don’t have built in filters, so this step is important but easy!
5. Store Your Ice Properly
Finally, to keep your ice tasting fresh, you need to store it properly. Leaving it uncovered in a bowl or bin subjects it to the other scents in your freezer. Using plastic bags is slightly better but they can also give off a plastic taste/odor. I like using these reusable, silicone bags that are easy to clean and use. They come in a variety of sizes to, so you can make as much or as little ice as you like and store it.
And that’s how to clean a counter top ice maker. It’s not hard to do but it’s important to make the time to do it. If you keep up with it, you should have a clean ice maker making delicious ice for years to come. And, if you are in the cleaning and organizing spirit, check out my organizing your home bar post. Cheers!