I’ll Clean The Ice Machine…. Tomorrow

manitowoc_qm_45aSome of the most overlooked items in the kitchen are the spaces in the ice machine that we cannot see. Bacteria in an ice machine can cause the production of a biofilm. In turn, that biofilm causes visible mold. Even in the cold section of the ice machine, bacteria can survive. That bacterial can secrete a film and as that film increases, it gets harder and harder to remove.

I’ve been in the foodservice equipment business for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen some scary things on-site. I’ve even closed a few establishments for the day as a means to reclaim the cleanliness of the facility. I have sold thousands of ice machines and have seen thousands more. I know that cleaning the ice machine thoroughly is inconvenient. If you have a 24/7 facility, you can’t do without a constant flow of ice from your machine. Regardless, you will lose ice production unexpectedly if the machine becomes so dirty it can’t function!

The ice machines of today have come a long way. Machines like those by Scotsman and Manitowoc provide on-board cleaning functions to help disinfect the ice machine. Add-on items like Manitowoc’s LuminIce Growth Inhibitor® keep your machine in top working order in a high-yeast environment (think bakeries) and the i-AuCS is an optional automatic cleaning system. Keep in mind, this won’t replace a periodic deep clean, but it will make them easier and less frequent.  Scotsman’s Prodigy Ice Machine line and water filtration systems come built with AquaArmor®, an antimicrobial compound that is molded onto key components of the ice machine to protect against bacterial growth. Filtration of the water coming into the machine can also help in keeping the machine running safe and efficiently.

Even though many of today’s ice machines come with cleaning functions, it’s still no substitute for a regularly scheduled manual cleaning of the machine.  Keep in mind that bacteria can thrive in the bin space as well.  Many bins have an antimicrobial surface to help in the cleanliness cause, but it’s still no substitute for manually cleaning and disinfecting the bin regularly.

Will you lose ice in the cleaning process? Maybe.

Will you help prevent customer illness, ensure the proper ice production and remove health department scrutiny by cleaning the machine regularly? Definitely.

It’s often overlooked, but it’s critical. Be the one that does it, not the one that has to buy ice when you machine goes down or is red-tagged as a result of bacteria.

Tags: cleaing ice machines, commercial ice machines, ice machines, Manitowoc, scotsman

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