Close up of a refrigerator ice maker

How to Clean Ice Makers in Refrigerators and Freezers

Fresh, clean ice is essential for your favorite frosty cocktails, smoothies and other iced recipes. To make sure all your iced recipes come out delicious, a clean ice maker is essential. Learn how to clean the ice maker in your refrigerator and freezer with these easy tips for consistently tasty drinks.

Ice maker in a freezer

Ice Maker Cleaning Instructions

If your ice maker is dirty or if you've simply gone a while without cleaning it, you can achieve spotless results with a few simple steps and some cleaning products that you most likely already have in your home.

SUPPLIES 

  • Two clean dish towels 

  • Bowl

  • Water

  • Mild soap 

  • Vinegar (optional) 

  • Baking soda (optional)

TOOLS 

  • Clean sponge

  • Toothbrush

Step 1: Clean out freezer and refrigerator compartments

Since odors transfer as the air circulates from the freezer to the fridge and vice versa, you'll first want to clean out your refrigerator. 

  • Throw out any expired items. 

  • Wipe the surfaces with warm soapy water. 

Step 2: Power off the refrigerator

It'll be easier to clean your ice maker if you power off or unplug your refrigerator so that the ice maker doesn't turn on as you're cleaning. You can also turn off your ice maker if it has a latch or switch. The refrigerator won't be powered off for very long, but you can transfer your food into coolers if you prefer.

Ice maker with ice in a freezer

Step 3: Take out any removable ice maker parts to clean

Generally, ice makers have a bin that works like a drawer that you have to pull up and out. Other types of ice makers may be a little different depending on if it's an in-door ice maker, pull out drawer or a top freezer ice maker. Consult with your owner's manual for specific information on how to remove the ice maker bin. 

  • Take out any removable parts for cleaning. 

  • Hand wash removable parts with warm water, mild soap and a washcloth or sponge. Do not place any of the items in the dishwasher.

Step 4: Clean exterior of the ice maker

Use mild soap and warm water to clean any exposed parts of the ice maker. If ice is frozen over parts of the ice maker, you can use the wash cloth and warm water to dislodge any of the ice. 

  • Use a toothbrush if areas are particularly dirty or if you can't reach certain spots with the washcloth. 

  • Consult your owner's manual for guidance on if you can use vinegar or vinegar-based products.

Step 5: Replace the water filter

A new and clean water filter will also be crucial for great-tasting ice cubes and water. Over time, minerals can accumulate and clog the filter, affecting the ice maker's performance. As a general rule of thumb, a water filter should be replaced every six months. Since ice makers should also be cleaned every six months or so, replace the filter during the ice maker cleaning process.

Person pressing the ice dispenser button on a refrigerator

Step 6: Plug refrigerator back into outlet and run a few cycles

After you've finished cleaning the ice maker, replace all the parts you removed like the bin and the drip tray (if present). 

  • Run the ice maker and throw out the first 2-3 batches to make sure there is no lingering taste or odors.

Ice Maker Cleaning FAQs

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions for cleaning an ice maker.

How Often Should Ice Makers be Cleaned?

Keep your ice tasting fresh by cleaning your ice maker every six months or so, however it may need to be cleaned more frequently if you use you ice maker and dispenser more often. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your ice maker at the same time you clean your refrigerator and/or replace the water filter.

What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Ice Machine?

Your ice maker will perform best and provide fresh ice cubes if it's clean. Odors from the fridge and freezer can transfer taste to the ice cubes, so you can avoid this with regular cleaning.

Can I run vinegar through my ice maker?

While typically a natural cleaning agent, some refrigerators should not be cleaned with vinegar or vinegar-based products. To see if you can use vinegar on your refrigerator, consult your owner's manual.

How do you disinfect an ice maker in a refrigerator?

To disinfect your ice maker, mix ½ cup of bleach with one gallon of water. Dampen a clean cloth with the mixture and wipe the interior. Wipe once again with clean water before completely drying the ice maker.

Discover KitchenAid® Refrigerators with Ice Makers

Keep ingredients fresh and ready for any culinary adventure with KitchenAid® refrigerators. A bold blend of high design and functionality, you can find the ideal refrigerator for your needs in the style you want.

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