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Cleaning your Portable Ice Machine

An open stainless steel portable ice maker

If you like to entertain, then chances are you've thrown a fancy dinner or a summer barbeque or two. If so, then you've probably already realized just how much ice you need to successfully put on one of these events. Parties and picnics all use a huge amount of ice. Unfortunately, that can be either very expensive, or very time consuming.

However, if you're the proud owner of a portable ice maker, then ice is no longer your concern! Portable ice makers are a quick and efficient way to make ice, making the home ice machine perfect for entertaining both large and small groups at home or in the office.

Not only are ice machines incredibly quick in making high quality ice, they also have many different stylish options available, making them a great addition to your kitchen or office space prior to your next big party.

Portable ice makers are also quite simple to operate and maintain. Simply plug the unit in and fill the water reservoir and you're ready to start making high quality ice. Best of all, these ice machines are easy to clean. In fact, cleaning your ice maker is the only piece of regular maintenance you need to do to ensure your portable ice maker continues running efficiently for as long as possible. By simply cleaning your unit periodically, you can ensure you're getting the best tasting ice possible all the time.

Read on to learn the proper way to clean your portable ice maker:

1. Empty and unplug. Remove any ice that may be left in your ice machine and unplug it from the wall. Its important that the unit is empty before starting the cleaning process. Obviously, unplugging the unit from the wall will help keep any safety issues at bay.

2. Remove the ice tray. Pull the portable ice maker's ice tray out from the inside and put it off to the side. For most units, you should be able to just unhook it remove the tray. Put the tray on a clean surface off to the side. We'll return to it in a few minutes.

3. Wipe it down. Wipe off the interior of the unit using a soft cloth. Make sure to hit all the walls, as this is a target area for build up among many different ice machines. If your ice maker is especially dirty, put two tablespoons of vinegar on the cloth to help further clean an impurities and buildup that has worked its way into your icemaker. This can also help to remove excess calcium build-up caused by running hard water through the machine.

4. Clean the tray. See, you knew we'd come back to the ice tray. Wipe down the tray in the same manner as the interior of the portable ice maker. Be sure to scrub it well to ensure any build up is removed. As with the interior, you're welcome to use a small bit of vinegar to ensure proper cleaning.

5. Rebuild it. Rebuilding might be a bit of an overstatement, but at this point you should simply replace the ice tray within the ice machine. Then, plug the unit back into the wall.

6. Run a cleaning cycle. Run the portable ice maker for a couple of cycles with a small amount of vinegar. Just a capful will do - you can also use a mixture of lemon juice and water if you used up all your vinegar earlier. This will ensure that any and all calcium build up and impurities are removed completely from the ice machine.

On a side note - this is a great tip if you have a new unit. Running a cleaning cycle like this can help to remove any plastic taste leftover from the manufacturing process in brand new machines.

7. Run a normal cycle. Empty all the water from the portable ice makers reservoir and run a cycle or two with clean, warm water. This will ensure that any leftover vinegar or impurities have been completely removed from the machine. This can also help remove that plastic taste you might find in newer units, just like the vinegar trick above.

8. Clean the exterior. Using a soft cloth, wipe down the exterior of the machine. Use some warm water if available, and scrub any dirt or dust that might have latched on to the portable ice maker. This will give your ice machine a clean and healthy look.       

For more on portable ice makers, be sure to see our other guides: