While countertop ice makers admittedly do take up a lot of kitchen real estate, they can freeze a lot more ice in a lot less time than the kind built into a refrigerator door, not to mention they can be a lot cheaper to buy than a new fridge if the one you have doesn't come equipped with all the bells and whistles. In order to keep portable ice makers operating at peak efficiency, however, not to mention producing ice cubes that come out looking all pretty and stuff, you do have to clean them every once in a while. (Also, mold is icky. And potentially dangerous. But you already knew that, so 'nuff said.)
How often should you clean your ice maker? The general recommendation seems to be every three to six months, but some people choose to err on the side of caution and go with monthly cleanings. If you're not great at remembering when you last cleaned a thing, though, you'll definitely know the ice maker needs cleaning if it looks dirty inside or the ice that comes out looks, smells, or tastes weird. As for the cleaning solution, there are a number of commercially available one on the market, but a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water will also do the trick for a fraction of the cost. You can also use dish soap on any of the parts that can be detached from the ice maker as these can be thoroughly rinsed before re-insertion.
Read more: Bottled Water Brands, Ranked Worst To Best
Clean The Ice Maker Outside And In
The very first step in cleaning an ice maker, or any appliance, is to unplug it since electricity + cleaning solutions don't mix. If there is any water inside it, drain it out (there should be a drain plug somewhere), then remove any parts that are meant to come out: typically the basket, ice bin, scoop, and tray. Let these soak in dish soap and water while you mix up your vinegar and water solution and pour it into a spray bottle. Give the inside of the machine a thorough spritzing and then let the vinegar work on any mineral deposits or mold while you spray the outside of the machine and wipe it down with a rag or sponge. That same rag or a toothbrush can then be used to scrub out the inside to wipe off any gunk that the vinegar has managed to loosen.
Now's the time to scrub and rinse the removable parts that have been soaking in the sink. Once they're soap-free, re-attach them to the ice maker, then fill it up with water and let it run. The ice it makes this first time around may be kind of nasty and vinegary, so dump it into the sink. Run yet another ice cycle, then dump out this ice, as well. The third time's a charm, though — the ice you make on this cycle should be as clear as your conscience after confession.
Read the original article on Mashed.