Ice makers make it easy to cool down any summer drink.

Unless it is dirty or tastes funny.

As with any home appliance, cleaning your unit is a must.

There are a number of harmful chemicals and particles that can make home in your ice maker unit and cause health risk to you.


A dirty unit carries the risk of disease as mold can easily gather inside of your unit.

  • Slime may build up
  • Bacteria could grow

All which end in your ice becoming contaminated. Experts agree that ice maker water can be more harmful than water from the toilet depending on how contaminated it gets.

One of the dangers that exist with a dirty unit, is the attraction of biofilm. The contraction of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is also possible. This is a free-living bacteria that can cause chronic infection within the human body and compromise the immune system of its host.

There are too many dangers associated with an unclean unit and it are not worth the risk.


Many people cannot stand the sight of bugs. They are small, pesky, and can find their way into even the tiniest and coldest places.

With that being said they can find their way into your portable unit through these paths:

  • The condensate drain
  • Plug line
  • Tubing
  • Filter holes
  • Drain holes

Many people utilize portable ice machines. If left outside overnight, bugs like spiders and ants can get into your water reservoir or other parts of your system.

It is important to note there are many different ice machines on the market, and you need to familiarize yourself with all the small parts.

Pay attention to detail when cleaning, and ensure you check the drains and pipes for bugs that may be infiltrating your system. If you are utilizing a portable machine outside be sure to check the pipes and drains before each usage.


Bacterial products aren’t the only thing that can find its way into your machine.

Like bacteria, dust can play home in your ice machine as well.

Many units come with condensers. These condensers often attract dust particles.

  • Dust buildup is mostly on the condenser coils and can cause many problems.
  • Dust buildup is responsible for inhibiting heat transfer away from the ice machine.
  • The upshot about dust build up, is that it can easily be cleaned away. Just a moist towel is all you need in order to clean the dust away.
  • If buildup is on the unit, a deeper cleansing may be needed.

Health Risk

Many health risks are associated with these sorts of problems.

Commercial restaurants typically have a problem with their units containing high levels of bacteria, making them a hygiene risk to consumers.

Another common problem exists with contamination. Alongside contamination, exist foodborne illnesses.

A dirty machine can also carry what is known as brown slime. This slime is occurs naturally in airborne yeast. Contamination of this substance can cause symptoms to include nasal congestion, bloating, and vomiting.

As stated before it is also possible to contract Pseudomonas. If this is protected in a layer of biofilm, it can be damaging to ice production, causing eye infections, endocarditis, pneumonia, and even meningitis.

Combating The Issues

If you are concerned with cross contamination there are a few things you can do:

  • Install an ice scoop and holder. Be sure that people do not scoop ice out by hand. Ask that everyone who utilizes the appliance wash their hands beforehand.
  • To sanitize the unit, be sure to clean it regularly. You can utilize vinegar or lemon water solutions, among usage of commercial grade cleaners for the best results.
  • When cleaning your machine, be sure to read the owner’s manual for the best practices.
  • Also, if you noticed brown slime use commercial grade sanitizers to help rid you of the issue.
  • Scrub every part of the machine and make sure you hook up your unit to a water line, to ensure optimal cleaning of the ice machine lines.

As you clean, ensure that you are checking for mold and other bacterial particles and ensure your water filter is cleaned properly.

Be sure to get the exterior of the machine and most importantly the interior.

One of the most forgotten secrets is hand washing. Washing your hands can ensure little contamination. It can ensure that most of the bacteria and germs contained on your palms, will be washed away if one decides to scoop out the ice with their bare hands.

Again, an unclean machine can be susceptible to mold, dust, bacteria, and other harmful agents that can pose health risk to you.

Ice makers can help cool down the summer months. If you want your ice machine to stay in prime condition you must clean it.

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