How to Keep Your Portable Ice Maker Clean

Portable ice makers are great to have on the road.  This little machine can pay for itself rather quickly when you aren't purchasing bags of ice.  I use our portable ice maker for drinks and filling up our cooler while we travel.  But, it can also get moldy and gross really quickly if you aren't careful.  How do I keep our portable ice maker clean and odor-free?

How to Keep Your Portable Ice Maker Clean

We received an Igloo Portable Ice Maker for Christmas about 3 years ago as a gift.  It has been something we have used on every single trip since.  I can't imagine life on the road without it.  A few simple tools will keep everything mold and mildew free.

These bottle brushes will work well to scrub the inside of your icemaker.

3 Tools to Keep Your Ice Maker Clean

Most people have baking soda and vinegar at home.  If you don't, just pick up the items at a local grocery store.  The bottle brushes will allow you to get into small places and scrub easily.

Baking soda will act as a mild abrasive to get everything sparkling clean.  The vinegar will kill any bacteria.  These two ingredients will also help get rid of odors.  

Be sure to remove the drain filter and clean thoroughly around it.

Cleaning Your Ice Maker

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bottom of the ice maker.  Remove any little parts like the drainage cover.  Use your brushes to work the baking soda into the little holes and spaces.  You can spray a little water onto the baking soda to make a paste and help scrub.  

Next, begin to pour 1 cup of vinegar into the spots where you have worked the baking soda.  Everything will bubble and foam like a 4th-grade science project.  Continue to use your brushes to work the paste into the spaces.  

Once everything stops bubbling, you can rinse everything thoroughly with hot water.  Leave the top and drain spout open to dry completely.  It is also wise to scrub the ice basket and space where the ice makes at the top.  Scrub all the little parts and pieces thoroughly and rinse thoroughly.

Remove all of the little pieces and allow them to air dry once everything is cleaned.

Regular Maintenance After Trips

One thing that is really important with a portable ice maker is keeping everything clean and dry.  Any moisture will attract and grow mold and mildew.  When we are packing up from the campground, I drain the ice maker completely.  I stow the ice maker in a cabinet while traveling.

Once we are home, I open the top of the ice maker and the drain hole.  I also remove any pieces and parts.  I leave everything out and open to fully dry for several days before packing up completely.  

Since we got our ice maker, Igloo has released a self-cleaning model.  However, I think it is a good idea to have a backup cleaning plan.  And, if you don't already have an ice maker, you might want to check out that self-cleaning model.  

Until next time...

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  1. How do I get the musty smell out of my ice maker?

    1. Use baking soda and vinegar and clean it well. Let it dry thoroughly and always keep it dry after using it. You could also line it with newspaper after you dry it and add some charcoal to absorb the smell. But keeping it clean and dry between uses is key! Thanks for a great question!


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