Ice Machine Slime: Is Your Ice Machine Dishing Slime?

Ice Machine Slime Is An Important Maintenance Issue

Ice machine owners may be getting slimed without knowing it.

Ice machine slime is more than a funny-sounding phrase that evokes fond memories of watching Bill Murray in Ghostbusters at the matinee. For restaurant equipment owners, ice machine slime is a real health hazard that can run a kitchen afoul of the health inspector and possibly shut down a thriving foodservice business.

The Gory Details on Ice Machine Slime

Ice machine slime is such a prevalent hazard that muckraking Houston newsman Marvin Zindler made the sentence “Slime in the ice machine!” a household phrase along the Texas coastline. Ice machine slime isn’t deadly to healthy adults, but still, it can be harmful. It also has a distinctive taste and smell, and can be visually disgusting to your customers. Here’s what the City of Houston says:

It is a type of mold or fungus that accumulates from bacterial growth on surfaces that are constantly exposed to clinging water droplets and warm temperatures. Water residuals may be present on these surfaces due to machine construction or the presence of scouring utensils such as steel wool or scouring pads. If the residuals are left exposed and not wiped clean or the machine is not sanitized regularly, you will then see bacteria and mold growths in the moist, cool environment of your ice machine. Most times, slime will take on a pinkish tone; if left untreated, the pink will turn to red, green, brown and even black ropes of slime hanging from the freezer panels inside the machine after a while. Pretty picture, isn’t it?

Green and pink ropes of slime hanging in your ice machine and dropping in customers’ drinks… it may not be fatal, but it could soon be sending your once-healthy clients to the lab for some health tests.

The Ice Machine Slime Answer

If for example you’ve got ice machine slime in your favorite Manitowoc ice machine model SD-0852A, how do you handle the problem?

The Houston health inspectors recommend using quarternary ammonium (QAC), which kills the mold/fungus and also inhibits additional growth for a period of time after the slime has been removed. This chemical won’t react with the stainless steel of your SD-0852A, and it’s also handy for keeping slime out of other restaurant equipment like your soda machine or the nozzles and hoses of your direct draw systems.

For other ice machine buying tips and maintenance advice, check out our ice machine buyers guide!

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