How to Clean an Ice Maker Of Mold and Slime?

How to clean ice maker of mold and slime

Be it a newly installed sink or a large bathtub, everything is susceptible to mold. Often we may have noticed a ton of mold build up in the majority of our household appliances. Given their gross and extremely shabby appearance, mold slime buildups are hard to miss. Thanks to such mold buildups, it takes no time for appliances or utensils to turn into a bacteria feeding ground. For those unaware, slime mold is a fungus of sorts that feeds on decaying matter

You will primarily find these slime molds growing on surfaces that are exposed to water for long. Similarly, an ice maker is no different than this. Although it may seem shocking and surprising at first, ice-making machines are quite prone to slime and mold. If you have a dirty ice machine in your vicinity, know that mold and slime are to be blamed here. 

If you have a dirty ice machine in your vicinity, it is a cause of concern. Therefore, this article will walk you through the different ways using which you can clean ice machine mold. But before we get started, we will walk you through the probable causes as to what causes mold and slime build-up in ice machines.

What Causes Mold And Slime Build Ups In An Ice Machine?

As we mentioned above, ice machines are common to develop mold and slime buildup. From the cheaper ones to more higher-end sonic style ice makers. all are susceptible to mold build-up. Mold and slime generally tend to appear in every place and electronic appliances. Slime is nothing but a composition of yeast mold and biofilm that is fuelled by organic growth and biological pollution. These slime molds tend to form on surfaces that are exposed to water. And despite its cool, cozy, and breezy interior, an ice machine offers the perfect conditions for a mold and slime build-up. An ice machine has a temperature between 41°F to 145°F and has enough moisture present to provide sufficient nourishment to slime mold. All this offers the perfect setup for ice machine mold and slime to form and turn the overall thing into a dirty ice machine.

In addition to all this, there are other factors as well that can lead to mold and slime build-ups in an ice machine. Since mold is nothing but bacteria, particulates such as dust, pollen, human contact, and other contaminants contribute significantly towards its growth. All these can cause an extremely unsanitary environment within your ice machine. More importantly, slime molds come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. So, if you open your ice machine and see a pink build on your interior walls, know that it slime and implement the same procedure you normally do when cleaning your ice machine. 

Some of the common reasons that cause mold and slime build up in an ice machine are

  • Dirty Hands
  • Not Replacing The Water At Regular Intervals
  • Not Removing The Older Ice
  • Not Subjecting The Machine’s Interior To A Thorough Cleanse
  • Allowing Dirty water build-up within the machine

Does Mold And Slime In An Ice Machine Cause Health Hazards?

Yes!!! Every time you see slime mold within your ice machine, it is a cause of concern that needs to be taken seriously. This is because mold and slime have a knack to grow in places we least expect it. In a dirty ice machine, these bacteria can often grow into your machine’s drop zone and land in someone’s ice every time the machine dispenses it. Although mold and slime aren’t too harmful to people, it is never a good idea to have any landing in your ice. This is because a dirty ice machine has a long lost history of making people sick. Your ice can be contaminated with salmonella, E.coli, shigella, and so on. Not just a dirty ice machine, but you can get sick by consuming old ice cubes since they are riddled with bacteria. Just because it’s ice doesn’t mean it cannot be contaminated. 

A study conducted by the University of Texas found that dirty ice when mixed with hard liquor or soda has the ability to make very very sick. The effects of consuming ice from a dirty ice machine can be as mild as a cold or as severe as death. This is because slimes and mold grow eventually grow into harmful bacteria that can tamper with your body in ways unimaginable. In simple words, consuming ice from a dirty ice machine can put you at risk of the following diseases –

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Salmonella
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Legionella
  • Shigella
  • Hepatitis A
  • Norovirus
  • Severe Vomiting

Can You Prevent Mold And Ice Accumulation In Ice Machines?

As we mentioned at the start of the article, an ice machine offers the perfect environment for mold and slime build-up. Similarly, keeping the ice machine closed for prolonged periods makes it subjective to ice machine mold. But just as there are different routes for mold and slime accumulation, there are various ways using which you can prevent this scenario. The first thing to do in the prevention process is to implement the cleaning process at the very first sign of mold build up. This is a proven way to LIMIT growth. Here’s a thorough guide to cleaning countertop ice makers if you’re looking for one.

Yet another proven and highly effective method of preventing mold accumulation is by installing an ozone generator. Ozone is a proven way to get rid of mold and slime build up in your ice machine. Although ozone cannot penetrate walls, it is very much capable of slipping through nooks and crannies to tackle mold and slime riddled surfaces. Ozone completely removes the mold spores and also penetrates deep down and attacks the growing materials. However, note that using ozone to get rid of mold does not correct the conditions which allowed the mold in the first place. 

NOTE: It takes a huge amount of ozone to kill mold in an ice machine. Therefore, you will need to stay out for your house for a few days post ozone treatment

How To Clean An Ice Machine Of Mold And Slime?

Now that we have discussed everything that contributes to ice machine mold, it is time to move on to the fixes to resolve this issue. Surprisingly, you won’t need that many tools to get this done. Here’s the list

What You’ll Need?

  • Washcloth
  • EPA Approved Cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Detergent/Vinegar
  • Water
  • Tiny Scrubber
  • Pipe Cleaner

Procedure

  • To begin with, unplug the device from the power socket
  • Put on your safety gloves
  • Gently remove all the ice from the machine
  • Now, drain the machine of any excess water present
  • Slowly remove the parts from the ice machine
  • Spray the EPA Approved cleaner on the contaminated areas
  • Make sure you spray enough cleaner to saturate the area
  • Using the scrubber, gently wipe the areas to remove the contaminants
  • Now, spray the cleaner on the contaminated areas
  • Wait 10 minutes for the cleaner to settle in
  • Rinse the area thoroughly using water
  • Leave the parts to dry
  • Once the parts are dry, reassemble the parts

The Bottom Line

As we mentioned at the beginning, an ice machine too is susceptible to mold and ice build-up. This is because an ice machine possesses the necessary environment required for mold and slime growth. It is never a good idea to leave mold unattended as mold and slime build-up can cause significant health hazards to those who use the machine. We hope our guide was able to walk you through the different causes, hazards, and methods using which you can easily clean a dirty ice machine.

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