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How to Clean an Ice Maker the Right Way: Sub-Zero Ice Makers and Scotsman Ice Machines

how to clean a sub zero undercounter ice maker

It’s hard to remember to clean the refrigerator regularly, let alone an undercounter ice maker. But actually, your ice maker needs to be cleaned just as often (if not more) than your refrigerator for it to function optimally and produce clean, high-quality ice. We’ll review how to clean an ice maker with a step-by-step guide to using its clean and sanitize features.

How to Clean an Ice Maker: A Step-By-Step Guide

A dirty ice maker can not only lessen the life of your machine but could allow harmful mold and bacteria to contaminate ice. Fortunately, learning how to clean an ice maker can be straightforward with the self-cleaning and sanitizing functions.

scotsman ice maker cleaning
Image Source: Scotsman

Ice Machine Cleaning: How Do I Clean the Inside of My Ice Maker?

Cleaning an ice maker or ice machine is important for a number of reasons. Ice machine cleaning helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and other harmful contaminants that can affect the quality and safety of the ice produced. 

If an ice maker or machine is not cleaned regularly, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms, which can then be transmitted to the ice and consumed by people. 

In addition to the potential health risks, a dirty ice maker or ice machine can also produce ice that tastes or smells bad, which can be off-putting to customers or guests. Regular cleaning also helps extend an ice maker’s lifespan by removing dirt, grime, and other substances that can wear down the appliance over time.

By regularly cleaning your ice maker or ice machine, you can help ensure that the ice produced is safe, high quality, and free of any unpleasant odors or tastes.

Is Your Ice Contaminated with Bacteria & Mold?

The answer may surprise and disturb you. Your home is your sparkling clean sanctuary, but the unpleasant truth is that mold, bacteria (Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Shigella), deadly viruses, feces, and mineral build-up could be growing in your ice machine. Disgusting, right?
When not cleaned thoroughly dirty ice (even from a high-end maker like Scotsman, U-line, or Sub-Zero*) can make you sick. Even those of us who do occasionally wipe down or clean our ice maker, aren’t taking one thing into consideration: Biofilm.

What Is Biofilm?

Biofilm or “slime” buildup from ongoing microbial growth can and does occur in commercial and in-home ice-makers. Biofilm is a collection of microorganisms, mainly bacteria, that grow together to form a shielding effect on the bacteria held within them, preventing the normal cleaning process from doing its job to eradicate these bacteria and viruses. For instance, Listeria, a disease-causing bacteria, can be 1Kx times harder to eliminate under a biofilm.

In one recent fast-food chain restaurant study, ice was found to contain feces. And in another jaw-dropping study, ice machines from several national fast-food chains were found to contain more bacteria than what’s typically found in a toilet. Like your scotch on the rocks? The truth is, even drowning your ice in hard alcohol isn’t enough to kill some deadly bacteria or viruses, according to a study done at the University of Texas where Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella all survived being submerged in scotch and 85 proof tequila. Plus, viruses such as the Norwalk virus actually thrive in frozen crystalline structures!

To clean an ice maker and ice machine, you will need the following items:

  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • A vinegar solution specifically designed for cleaning appliances
  • A small brush (optional)
  • A bucket

Follow these steps for how to clean an ice maker:

  1. Unplug the ice maker or turn off the power to the ice machine.
  2. Remove any ice that is in the ice bin and discard it.
  3. Wipe down the exterior of the ice maker or ice machine with a soft cloth or sponge and a vinegar solution.
  4. Use a small brush to gently scrub away any stubborn stains or dirt.
  5. Wipe down the interior of the ice bin.
  6. If your ice maker or ice machine has a removable ice tray or ice mold, remove it and wash it with a vinegar solution. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it before returning it to the ice maker or ice machine.
  7. Fill a bucket with a vinegar solution and use it to scrub the inside of the ice maker or ice machine.
  8. Rinse the interior thoroughly with clean water.
  9. Wipe down the interior and exterior of the ice maker or ice machine again with a clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  10. Plug the ice maker or turn the power back on to the ice machine.
  11. Allow the ice maker or ice machine to run for a few minutes to ensure that it is fully drained and to flush out any remaining cleaning solution.
  12. Discard any ice that is produced during this process, then refill the ice bin and resume normal use.


  1. how to clean a sub-zero ice maker
    Image Source: Sub-Zero

How Often Should an Ice Maker Be Cleaned?

If you’re wondering how to clean an ice maker, you’ll want to know how often it needs to be cleaned. We recommend cleaning an ice maker at least once every three to six months, depending on the specific model and how frequently it is used. However, some ice makers may need to be cleaned more frequently if used heavily or located in a particularly dirty or dusty environment. 

If you notice any changes in the quality or taste of the ice being produced, it may be a good idea to clean the ice maker more often. Also, make sure to clean an ice maker before storing it for an extended period of time or after it has been in storage. Additionally, if you notice any visible dirt or grime buildup on the exterior or interior of the ice maker, it is a good idea to clean it as soon as possible to prevent any potential problems or poor ice production.

How Do You Clean a Sub-Zero Undercounter Ice Maker?

How do you clean a Sub-Zero ice maker? Sub Zero UC-15I cleaning and sanitizing cycles take an hour to complete. We suggest you stay at home during this time, as your intervention will be needed at various points. In addition, make sure you have the correct Sub Zero ice cleaner on hand, and this is the only solution recommended for properly cleaning your ice machine.

sub-zero under counter ice maker cleaning
Image Source: Sub-Zero

Here’s how to clean a Sub Zero undercounter ice maker step-by-step:

  1. Press the Clean button
  2. Dispose of all ice in the storage bin and remove the bin from the ice maker
  3. Pour 4 ounces of ice maker cleaner into a small cup
  4. When the Clean light flashes, pour the cleaning solution into the spray area
  5. The clean light will turn off when the 30-minute cleaning cycle is complete

Sub-Zero Ice Maker Cleaning & Sanitizing

Knowing how to clean a Sub-Zero ice maker also involves a sanitizing cycle to rid your machine of germs and bacteria. Follow these steps immediately after cleaning to sanitize your ice maker:

  1. Press the Clean button again
  2. Pour 1 Tbsp. of ice maker sanitizer into a small cup
  3. When the Clean light flashes, pour the sanitizing solution into the spray area
  4. The clean light will turn off when the 30-minute sanitizing process is complete
  5. While the ice maker is being sanitized, spray the ice bin with a solution of 1 Tbsp. sanitizer and 1 gallon of water. Allow the solution to sit and air dry without rinsing.

How Often to Clean an Ice Machine

We suggest regular cleaning of your Sub-Zero ice maker every six months. This will prevent a buildup of mold or bacteria and maintain your machine’s function. It’s also recommended that you change your ice maker water filter with each cleaning to ensure high-quality ice production.

How Do I Clean a Scotsman Ice Machine?

how often to clean scotsman ice machine
Image Source: Scotsman

Scotsman home ice machines are known to be one of the highest quality ice machines on the market. With ice machines that boast gourmet ice with extraordinary taste and clarity, Scotsman residential has upped the bar for ice-cold beverages. 

Scotsman Ice Maker Cleaning: A Step-By-Step Guide

In addition to its reputation for quality ice, the Scotsman brand is also known for excellent ice production with very little maintenance. However, all ice makers need some maintenance from time to time, especially if a home’s water source is considered to have hard water. Keep your ice maker producing pristine ice with a bi-annual Scotsman Ice Maker cleaning.

How Often Should I Clean My Scotsman Ice Machine?

Are you searching for the answer to “How often to clean Scotsman Ice Machine?” We recommend that your Scotsman residential ice machine is cleaned twice a year. The filters within Scotsman home ice machines adequately remove mineral build-up from accumulating and affecting the ice production, but they need a bit of help to keep issues from arising. Scotsman ice maker descaling bi-annually will also ensure that extra minerals within your water supply do not damage your ice maker’s internal parts.

Supplies You’ll Need to Clean a Scotsman Home Ice Machine:

Your Scotsman ice maker descaling needs to be completed because your ice’s taste and clarity have dropped from their original quality. Is your ice production lower than normal, or are flecks of impurities frozen into the ice? That is mineral deposits that are quite normal in general ice but not ideal for gourmet ice.

For Scotsman Ice Maker cleaning, you’ll need to gather a few select supplies:

  • Scotsman Brand Ice Machine Cleaner Solution
  • A small jug of basic Clorox Bleach (unscented, normal viscosity)
  • A bucket to mix the sanitizing solution, 3-gallon minimum
  • A soft cloth
  • A gentle scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
scotsman home ice machine
Image Source: Scotsman

How to Clean Scotsman Ice Machine

After gathering the above items, follow the below steps for how to clean Scotsman ice machine and Scotsman ice machine cleaning:

  1. Press & release the power button. The green light should begin to blink, indicating it will finish making and dispensing the last batch of ice.
  2. Once the ice is dispensed and the green light has stopped blinking, remove all ice from inside the bin of your Scotsman residential ice machine.
  3. Press hold for 5 seconds and simultaneously release the power and “clean reset” buttons. A yellow light should begin to blink, indicating a cleaning mode.
  4. Pour the specified amount of Scotsman Cleaner Solution into the reservoir (generally, 8 ounces, depending on the model)
  5. Wait approximately 30 minutes for the unit to run the cleaner solution through its system. It can be normal to see slight foaming in your unit during this step.
  6. Press & release the power button to begin the flushing process of the cleaner solution. The yellow light will stop blinking and will show a constant solid yellow light.
  7. Wait another 30 minutes or so to allow the flushing process to complete.
  8. Press & release the power button once more. This will stop the flushing process. All lights on the unit should shut off at this point.
  9. Using the soft cloth and gentle scrub brush, thoroughly clean the ice bin with the cleaner solution, removing any scale deposits.
  10. Rinse the entire bin using 1 gallon of hot water, making sure to rid the unit of any remaining deposits.
  11. Mix 1 ounce of bleach in the bucket with 2 gallons of hot water. Using your rubber gloves, apply the hot bleach solution to the entire bin to thoroughly sanitize it.
  12. Finally, press & rerelease the power button to restart your Scotsman residential ice maker.

For more specific details on your Scotsman ice maker cleaning, visit the below PDFs for the model of your Scotsman residential ice maker for a quick guide to cleaning and descaling your model.

Scotsman Residential Ice Maker SCC50

Scotsman Residential Ice Maker SCN60

Scotsman Residential Ice Maker DCE33

Scotsman Residential Ice Maker SCC30

Your ice maker and ice machine cleaning and descaling process is a relatively simple but necessary task to keep your ice clear, pure, and gourmet. If your Scotsman or Sub-Zero ice maker produces ice that tastes weird, or your ice maker descaling process hasn’t solved your ice production issues, consider contacting our professional ice maker repair technicians at DeserTech Appliance Service. We service and repair all Scotsman appliances, including Scotsman Ice Makers, Scotsman Bar Refrigerators, and Scotsman Wine Cooler units. We also are proud to service Sub-Zero products, including Sub-Zero ice makers and machines.

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