Ice Machine Maintenance Means Regular Cleaning and Sanitizing

Extra cleaning may be needed if equipment is idle for a prolonged period of time, Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants have either closed entirely or shifted to curbside/takeout only service. For restaurants that have closed, some have not properly shut down refrigeration equipment and ice machines, while those that are only offering takeout service tend to put off scheduled maintenance.

Once restaurants begin to reopen, smart owners will ask contractors to clean and sanitize these ice machines before returning them to service. However, in this segment, even under the best of circumstances, ice machines tend not to be cleaned regularly. Now, with profit margins tighter than ever, there's concern that some restaurant owners and managers may further cut back on ice machine maintenance.

SNOWMAN recommends detailed cleaning, including descaling and disinfection, at least twice a year; however, the frequency of ice machine cleaning depends on the environment and location of the ice machine, “If the water source is rich in minerals (or total dissolved solids), descaling may be necessary more frequently,” he says. “If there is yeast, sugar and/or flour in the air in the environment, the machine may need to be sanitized more frequently.”

As disinfection awareness continues to grow in hotel and foodservice operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SNOWMAN is emphasizing the importance of following its existing recommended cleaning steps and procedures for proper descaling and disinfection.

“In busy workplaces, recommended cleaning steps are often not followed, or not done as often as needed,”, “Operators are now more focused on cleaning machines properly and are looking for automated solutions that can save time and money.” Of course, the frequency of cleaning depends on where the ice machine is located, as in some areas water conditions are poorer or the ice machine may come into contact with grease or flour,"

"We would be happy if owners would only do a minimum number of cleanings, but unfortunately some customers just don't do preventive maintenance," he said. “The concern with COVID-19 is that everyone is on a tight budget, so preventative maintenance may be even more neglected. But ice machines need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly, especially if they are shut down for an extended period of time.”