Friday, June 2, 2023


Your ice maker could be growing mold. Make sure you clean it!

Ah, spring has arrived. We pulled the RV out of storage for this year’s maiden voyage. As I went through the spring checklist, I came across “Check the ice maker.” I pulled it out of the box, opened it up, and found black mold around the inside edges. Whoa. Let’s clean that portable ice maker.

Why clean it?

Your ice maker can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mildew, and mold. What’s more, this happens regardless of the water filter that you use. Also, you may find scale and mineral deposits inside. To be safe, clean it twice a year at least, especially during the summer. Afterward, you can enjoy clear ice with a clean taste.

How you do it

Here is a simple 12-step cleaning process for your portable ice maker. Note: DO NOT PLUG IT IN! Seems pretty obvious, but some of us need reminding that water and electricity do not mix.

  1. Pull the drain plug and drain the water, if any.
  2. Remove the basket. Place it in hot, soapy water to soak while you start on the ice maker itself. If you use a scoop, throw it in there, too.
  3. Make a cleaning solution. 
    1. You can do this by adding one part white vinegar to 10 parts water. I use this as it is a food ingredient, so no chemical concerns. Some suggest a 1:1 mixture. Just remember, the stronger the vinegar solution, the more likely you are to have vinegary-tasting ice for a while.
    2. Alternatively, you can buy Affresh ice machine cleaner. Follow the directions. You can use it to clean your home ice maker as well.
  4. Dip a soft washcloth into the solution, wring it out, and wipe down all parts of the ice maker interior. For those edges and corners, use a toothbrush or cotton-tipped swab. Your goal is to remove anything that should not be there. Do not forget to swab the drain hole.
  5. Dry off the interior with a clean, soft cloth.
  6. Wash the basket and rinse well.
  7. Plug in your ice maker. Pour the rest of the solution into the well. Replace the basket. Set to the small cube setting and let it go until empty.
  8. Drain the balance of the solution.
  9. Replace the drain plug, add clean water to the fill line, and start it up again. When the “add water” light comes on, open the drain plug, and drain until empty.
  10. Repeat Step 9 at least once, although I do it twice.
  11. While the ice is making, take your cloth and wipe down the exterior.
  12. Put that last batch of ice cubes in a tall glass, fill it with clear water, and have a drink. If it tastes good and clean, congrats. You did it!

Keep it cool and happy travels!



Dale Wade
Dale Wade
Dale Wade is a Master Naturalist and a Master Gardener. He participates in many citizen science projects pertaining to learning and preserving all things nature.


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18 days ago

The longest straight spell we spend in our MH is 3.5 months. For that reason, we do not use the ice maker. We are thrilled to have a residential refrigerator and this allows us room to make our ice with fresh filtered water as needed. Someone else mentioned the coffee maker every day we open top, place the empty basket in so the lid doesn’t close, to allow it to dry out, till tomorrow. Bacteria LOVES to grow in dark damp places.

19 days ago

Great advice. Same is true of coffeemakers. so be sure to put those on the regular maintenance list as well.

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