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If you were not aware that you need to clean your ice maker regularly, rest assured that you are in good company. Many people do not think twice about their ice maker as long as the ice continues to taste normal and produce ice cubes, but your ice maker could still require attention even if it is not showing signs of issues. In fact, this small appliance should receive your full attention at least twice each year.
Why You Need to Clean Your Ice Maker Regularly
Your ice maker will show several signs that it is overdue for a cleaning, such as by making foul-smelling, cloud, and bad-tasting ice cubes. If your home has hard water, the minerals in the water will gradually accumulate on the ice maker’s coils. When this happens, the appliance may take longer to make ice or may no longer be able to freeze the water. This problem can also impact the longevity of your ice maker and could lead to the premature need for a replacement.
Keep in mind that mold and mildew growth can be problematic in dirty ice makers. In addition to affecting the taste of your ice cubes, this can cause a wide range of health issues for everyone in the home. Luckily, cleaning your ice maker is a relatively easy process.
Easy Steps to Clean Your Ice Maker
Before you start cleaning the ice maker, you should remove all of the items in the freezer as well as the fridge. This will give you ample working room and will prevent food from getting soaked. Generally, the cleaning process will take about 20 minutes or less. Because of this, there is no reason to transfer the food into an ice chest while you work.
When the fridge and freezer are bare, wipe them down thoroughly. This step is important because smells can transfer to your ice cubes. Then, unplug the fridge to prevent an electric shock. Remove the tray or bin as well as all other removable components on the actual ice maker.
You can wash these parts by hand in the sink, or you can use a washcloth and some baking soda to scrub them down. All parts should be rinsed and dried thoroughly before they are put back in the freezer. Never use bleach or other chemical cleaning products to clean any part of your ice maker.
The next step is to clean the built-in tray that forms the freezing cubes. After removing all ice and water from the tray, prepare a concoction of equal parts water and white vinegar. Dip a towel in this cleaning agent, and wipe down the tray as much as you can. Then, use a small toothbrush or another similar tool to continue scrubbing down the tray. When the grime is removed, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any remaining residue and vinegar.
The final step in the cleaning process is to replace the ice maker’s water filter. This important component impacts the lifespan of your ice maker as well as the clarity, taste, and smell of the cubes. Many people do not realize that their ice maker has a water filter or that it needs to be replaced. Because of this, it reasonably could have been years since the last time that the filter was replaced.
After you have plugged the fridge in and returned all of the food to the fridge and freezer, you should allow the ice maker to run through several rounds. Simply dump the next three or four batches of cubes into the sink. This will allow any remaining grime as well as vinegar to filter through the system.
When to Clean Your Ice Maker
The best time to clean your ice maker and to replace the filter is twice each year. This may be at the same time as you clean out your fridge and complete other major seasonal housecleaning chores. If you have trouble remembering to do this, consider adding a reminder through your smartphone’s calendar. It is also a good idea to keep a few extra water filters on-hand in case you feel that the filter needs to be replaced in between major cleaning sessions.
When is the last time you gave your ice maker the full attention that it needs? You can prepare for this project by purchasing a replacement water filter. Then, carve out about 20 minutes of your time to walk through these easy steps. While this can be a messy project, the end result is well worth the effort.