Inside of an ice maker filled with ice

How to clean an ice maker in 5 steps

Cleaning your ice maker regularly can help ensure your family has clean, fresh ice for their favorite drinks, and can assist in maintaining your appliance’s performance. If you find that your ice cubes have been coming out looking cloudy, it may be time to clean the unit. The following steps will outline how to clean a freestanding and refrigerator ice maker properly.

An undercounter ice maker beneath a counter with beverages placed on it

How to clean a freestanding ice machine

  • Approved ice maker cleaner. Affresh® Ice Machine Cleaner1 is recommended for Whirlpool® Ice Makers.
  • Use and Care Guide for your ice maker model 
Ice cube icon

Step 1: Remove ice from the bin

Be sure to turn off the unit before cleaning your ice maker. Once the appliance is off, wait ten minutes for any ice that may be stuck to the cutter grid to drop and empty all of the ice from the bottom of the bin.

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Step 2: Drain out the water

Remove the drain cap from the bottom of the water pan located in back of the unit and wait for the water to completely drain out. Once the water has drained, replace the cap, ensuring that it is completely secure.

Ice maker cleaner icon

Step 3: Add ice maker cleaner

Pour a 16 ounce bottle of an approved ice maker cleaner into the water pan. Once applied, fill the same bottle twice with water and add it into the pan along with the cleaner.

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Step 4: Start the cleaning cycle

Push the “Clean” button in the settings to start the cleaning cycle. The light will blink to indicate that the cleaning cycle is running and will illuminate when the cycle is complete. Consult your appliance’s Use and Care Guide for instructions specific to your model.

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Step 5: Empty the water pan

Once the cycle is finished, remove the drain cap on the bottom of the pan to empty out the water and cleaning solution. When the water has drained, replace the drain cap, ensuring that it is securely fastened into place.

An open ice maker filled with ice

How to clean a refrigerator ice machine


Ice bin icon

Step 1: Remove ice bin from freezer

Before cleaning your ice maker, be sure to turn off the unit and disconnect the refrigerator’s power supply. Remove the ice bin from the freezer by placing your fingers into the hole at the base of the bin and squeezing the latch to release it. Once released, lift the bin up and pull it straight out.

Ice cube icon

Step 2: Remove ice from the bin

Empty the remaining ice into a bucket or sink and check to make sure that there isn’t any leftover ice frozen onto the bin. If there is, use warm water and a washcloth to melt the ice and remove it.

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Step 3: Clean the ice dispenser chute

If ice is not being dispensed regularly by the ice maker, it may be necessary to clean out the ice dispenser chute located beneath the ice storage bin. Using a warm washcloth, wipe down the chute to melt and dislodge the built up ice particles, making sure to dry it thoroughly once you’re through.

Ice maker cleaner icon

Step 4: Clean the ice bin

Using a warm washcloth and an approved ice machine cleaner, wipe down the ice bin until it is free from all residue. Be sure to thoroughly dry the bin before placing it back into the freezer.

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Step 5: Run a few cycles

Once you have finished cleaning and replacing the ice maker bin, run and discard a few cycles of ice to ensure all solution has been removed from the system.

A hand scooping ice from an open ice maker

Can you clean an ice machine with vinegar?

Vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it very effective in getting rid of mold, mildew, and germs. While an approved ice machine cleaner is most recommended for Whirlpool® refrigerator and freestanding models, a homemade half and half solution of water and distilled white vinegar can be used as a substitute when cleaning your ice maker at home.

What is the best way to descale or remove other build-up from an ice maker?

If your ice maker bin has acquired a build-up of mold or residue over time, you can remove the bin from the unit and use a washcloth and approved ice machine cleaner or homemade water and vinegar solution to wipe away the residue. For more stubborn areas or hard to reach places, use a toothbrush to scrub the surface clean.

Shop for Whirlpool® Ice Makers and Refrigerators

If you’re ready to purchase a new Whirlpool® Freestanding Ice Maker or Refrigerator, you can choose from several efficient and long-lasting options.

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1. Affresh® and the recommending brand products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation