These days, ice makers are a necessities, especially during the summer. At the touch of a button, you can get ice to fuel your icy cold drinks. All you need to do is plug in your ice maker and make sure you have a healthy water supply for your home. However, everything can go wrong when your ice maker is not maintained properly. No one wants old, foul tasting ice cubes. The worst situation is when your ice cubes smell bad and emit a bad taste.
Here are a few maintenance tips and easy fixes you can follow to avoid bad tasting ice.
Check Your Water Supply
Before we get to any ice maker maintenance tips, it’s important to first check your water supply. Does your water taste bad? Chances are, it’s not the ice maker‘s fault and that you just have an unhealthy or bad water supply. Check and call your water provider or make sure to regularly replace your water filtration system (you can also consider purchasing a water filter kit).
Another culprit could be hard water, which can change the taste of your water due to it’s high mineral content. In this case, use water test strips to test for hardness and consider purchasing a water softening system to reduce hardness in the water.
Properly Store Your Ice Maker
One of the biggest mistakes people make when maintaining an ice maker relates to proper storage. If you’re the type ice dispensers are not used all that often. They usually come in handy when you’re going out for a camping trip or when there is a party. This is why it remains in storage most of the time. Storing the ice maker properly is extremely important.
If it is stored in an incorrect manner, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong with it such as:
- • You can have dirty ice
- • Your ice can smell bad
- • Bad tasting ice
- • Mold and mildew from stale ice
Let’s look at how you should properly store your ice maker:
Emptying the Ice Maker
The first thing you must do after using your ice maker is to empty it.
- Remove the water from the reservoir and any ice stored inside the ice bin.
- Make sure to unplug your ice maker before you empty it completely. Most ice makers have a drain plug that will allow you to empty it without much hassle. If your ice maker is connected to a supply line, disconnect that as well.
- Once you are done draining your ice maker, you may move on to the next step.
Cleaning Internal Components
Cleaning the ice maker from within is the most important step. Performing this step properly will ensure that you get the best quality ice throughout the useful life of the ice maker.
- Once the ice maker has drained and the ice removed, remove all it’s internal components such as the ice cube trays. Do keep in mind that there are certain components that are removable, while others are not.
- After the components, like the tray, are removed, you should clean them thoroughly, especially the water filter. If the component does not have any electronic sensors on it, you can wash it with warm soapy water. This will remove any grit and dust from the components. The dust that accumulates on these components is the cause for the weird taste in water.
Keep in mind: Certain portable ice makers do not have an air tight seal on the lid, so dust, debris, and even bugs can get into your unit if it is not checked regularly.
- If a particular component of the ice maker cannot be removed, this does not mean you don’t have to clean it.
- The non-removable components should be cleaned with a damp cloth thoroughly. Even the water reservoir has to be cleaned. For more stubborn stains, make a paste out of baking soda and water for more scrubbing power, but make sure to rinse off thoroughly.
- If you want to remove any funny smell that has already developed, in the reservoir, use some vinegar.
Using Vinegar to Clean Your Ice Maker
- Run the vinegar through the water line a couple of times.
- Once done, run fresh warm water through those lines. Tap water will do. This will eliminate the vinegar odor as well. Especially watch out for brand new ice makers. Brand new ice makers have a strong plastic smell. This smell can be carried along into the ice.
- Once you run vinegar and water though the lines, the ice will taste fresh.
Clean the Exterior of the Ice Maker
Cleaning the exterior of the ice maker is as important as cleaning the interior. Although it may not affect the taste of the ice, it has a profound effect on hygiene. If you are using an ice maker which is dirty on the outside, you will need to touch the ice on the inside at some point. Eventually, when you add ice to your drink, the germs you caught from the exterior of the ice maker will be transferred to your drink.
Note: Some ice makers come with accessories like little ice scoopers so that you don’t have to use your hands when getting ice for your drink.
In addition, you should also clean the ice maker to make sure the buttons are working properly. At times, dirt gets stuck inside the buttons. This can cause the buttons to fail and you will then need to have the ice maker repaired.
Cleaning the exterior does not require much hard work. Simply dampen a cloth with warm water and wipe the exterior. Just be sure to get in between the nooks and corners.
Storing It in a Clean Space
One of the most important aspects of keeping your icemaker functioning properly is storing it. No matter how well the icemaker is cleaned, it can malfunction if it is not stored in a clean space.
To make sure the icemaker does not get dirty while in storage:
- Retain its original packaging. The original packaging is designed to keep the dust from affecting the unit.
- If possible, you should put a plastic bag over the packaging as well. The best thing to do would be to use a large garbage bag to protect the unit from dust.
- You can repackage the unit in its original packaging and then insert the box into the large garbage bag. These bags are durable and won’t tear while in storage.
- Once you remove the icemaker, it will be as good as when you first got it.
Ice Quality Troubleshooting Guide
Here are a few things that can go wrong, even with the best ice makers. These problems do not occur just because you have a bad quality ice maker. It is simply a matter of maintenance. Let’s look at some of the most common issues people face with ice makers and how they can be fixed:
When Your Ice Cubes Taste Like Plastic
In some cases, there is a distinct plastic-like taste in the ice. This can be a common problem especially with new ice makers. The main cause of this issue is that the ice maker is unused. The taste does go away eventually the more you use your ice maker.
When you purchase a new ice maker, make sure to clean it thoroughly:
- Clean the reservoir and all internal components with vinegar and warm water. This will eliminate the plastic taste.
- If you do not want to use vinegar, you can perform the same cleaning procedure with lemon juice.
- Simply add lemon juice to water and rinse the icemaker thoroughly.
- Make sure you rinse your ice maker with fresh warm water afterwards to eliminate the lemon smell.
When Your Ice Cubes Taste Like Copper
It is a good idea to clean your ice maker on a regular basis, however, you must make sure you are using the right cleaning materials. Many people tend to clean their ice makers with strong cleaners. However, these cleaners may have a high acid content, which causes the chrome coating on the ice maker prongs to wear down, exposing the copper underneath. Once the coating is worn, the ice and water you retrieve from the ice maker will have the taste of copper.
The coating can also be removed if you use soda to make soda-flavored ice. Even if you use juice, the chrome coating will get worn down. Liquids with high acid or sugar content can eat away at the chrome coating on the prongs. To make sure your ice does not taste like copper, be sure to clean it with proper aids like vinegar or lemon juice and use the ice maker properly.
When Your Ice Cubes Taste Like Dust
There are several issues that can cause this problem. The first and foremost issue is dirty water. If the water is dirty, your ice cubes will taste bad.
- Use filtered water for making ice to eliminate the taste of dust.
- If water is left in the reservoir for too long, you should change it.
- Using stored water will result in a dusty taste in the ice cubes.
If you use these methods down to the last detail, not only will you be able to maintain your ice maker the right way, but will also be able to prevent damage to it.