Learn How To Clean a Dirty Ice Maker

Did you know you should be cleaning the ice maker in your fridge or freezer pretty regularly? It turns out, if you're using an ice maker and its dispenser to make batches of ice rather than using ice cubes from a tray and throwing them in an ice bin in the freezer, you should be going through a whole cleaning process with the system pretty regularly to have clean, delicious ice — especially if you have hard water or other water issues.

You can check your owner's manual to figure out exactly how to go through an ice machine cleaning, but if you've lost it or want another guide, we're here to help.

How to Clean - Ice Maker

According to Cooking Light, the first thing you should do to clean the machine that is responsible for ice production in your freezer is clear out old food from your fridge and freezer. Apparently, it can cause ice cubes that smell or have a funny taste.

Next, you're going to unplug your whole fridge/freezer. That's because you don't want the machine to be making ice and trying to drop it into the ice tray or ice storage bin while you're working. Also, electrocution is always a possibility, and it's obviously best to avoid that.

Then, you should be able to pull or lift out the bin to clean it. Dump the ice in the removed part, being careful to pry off any that might be stuck. Handwash the bin with "a washcloth and warm soapy water, or a couple of tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water," Cooking Light suggests. The dish soap concoction should wash away scale buildup and possible mineral deposits. Let it dry while you move onto the next steps.

Next, you need to clean the interior of the machine. "Use a soft cloth and a toothbrush absorbed in dishwashing detergent to reach inside the ice mold and drive away scaly water deposits," Healthy Kitchen 101 advises. Diluted bleach in your cleaning solution might also be needed if you haven't cleaned the ice-making device in awhile (or...ever!). Cooking Light says you could use a solution of half water and half distilled white vinegar as well.

Tip: If there's ice stuck to the inner parts of the machine, use a washcloth with warm water or a spray bottle of it to unstick the stubborn cubes!

Use a dry washcloth to make sure all the parts are dry before you try to reassemble the unit. If your system has a water filter, check it or replace it.

Finally, put back the removable parts, plug the unit back in, then try to run it for a few cycles of making ice to check if the machine is working. It's a good idea to discard the ice from those first few rounds, but then you should be good to go!

Watch: Use a little science lesson to put this eye-popping bar trick on ice