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How to Defrost and Clean an Ice Maker

How to Defrost and Clean an Ice Maker

Ice makers always supply you with clean, fresh ice effortlessly. However, things can go wrong and interrupt the ice supply. For example, the tube that provides fresh water for the ice-making process can freeze, resulting in no ice.

Therefore, before you make any expenses on repair, it’s best to consider defrosting the ice maker. Below are guidelines on how you can defrost an ice maker.

Defrosting a Frigidaire Ice Maker

Defrosting your ice maker is necessary once in a while to reduce the ice thickness. However, frozen walls inside your maker and water tubes reduce its efficiency in making ice.

In addition, while your maker may have a self-defrosting feature like the Samsung ice maker, other models may not have. Therefore, you should learn other defrosting methods.

Here’s what to do if an ice maker freezes up;  

  1. Unplug your freezer and allow the ice to melt naturally. Next, prop open the freezer door to enable the ice to thaw overnight.
  2. Finally, pack some towels in the freezer to soak up the water that melts from the ice maker.
  3. Though this is the simplest method, it takes more time, especially when living in cold areas.
  • The second way is using a blow dryer.  Find the water refill tube that connects the ice maker.
  • Check if any metal clip holds the line, remove it, and pull down the pipe.
  • Switch on the hairdryer on a low-speed setting, focus it on the tube to defrost.
  • Remember to be careful not to melt any plastic parts in the icemaker or freezer.  
  • Keep drying the water that melts with a towel.  

After defrosting the ice maker, replace the metal clip and connect the tube back to the ice maker. Always be careful to prevent the dryer’s end from getting too close to the coils and causing damage. Consider using a plastic scraper to clear out ice from the walls gently.

NB: You should blow the dryer carefully while aiming it at the ice. Again, to avoid electric shock, ensure the dripping water doesn’t contact the dryer.

  • The third way of defrosting is using a bowl of hot water—place bowls of hot water inside the freezer and close to the ice maker.
  • The steam from the boiled water will loosen the ice and make it melt. Later you can remove the ice using a plastic scraper.

To avoid damaging the freezer, make sure you place a thick towel under the hot bowl. Again, for this method to be efficient, ensure you replace boiling water every ten minutes until all the ice melts.

  • Use a hot metal spatula, though it’s a hazardous method. Instead, wear an oven mitt and carefully hold the spatula over the flame.
  • Later press the spatula into the ice blocks in the icemaker to loosen and break it.

Check this too: Igloo Ice Maker Troubleshooting and How to Guide

This method is very effective and faster.  But you have to do it with caution to avoid burning yourself. However, you should consider this method as a last resort.

  • Use a hot cloth and rubbing alcohol. Dip a cloth in boiling water and pour rubbing alcohol onto it. Place the fabric onto the ice to loosen it.
  • Kindly focus on the loose areas of the ice to remove it. The technique works best when only a thin layer of frost covers the ice maker.
  • You can still use a fan to circulate warm air in the maker. Kindly prop the freezer door open and set the fan outside.
  • The fan may require some time to work, depending on the thickness of ice in the ice maker. However, this process is more efficient in a home with warm air for the fan to melt the ice.
  • Use a wet or dry vacuum. It’s a safer method to use than a blow-dryer and eliminates the risk of electrocution.
  • Set the vacuum to start blowing using the smallest nozzle. Keep blowing to loosen the ice, then switch the vacuum to start sucking up water and ice.

Continue with the blowing and sucking procedure until you clear all the ice from the maker and ensure it’s dry. When the maker is free of ice, you should start cleaning it.

How Do You Clean a Frozen Ice Maker?

Before cleaning an ice maker, you should clear all the food in the freezer. A clean ice maker should produce the best-tasting ice. If you find your maker smelly and ice-cubes tasting weird, the leftovers in the freeze might have contaminated the ice.

 Therefore, you must clean your ice maker often.  Again, hard water deposits may form on the coil and affect the ice-making process. Here’s how to do the cleaning;

Items Required

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Washing cloth


  • Unplug the fridge as the safest option. However, some ice makers may have a lever for shutting off.
  • Remove the ice maker from the freezer.  Pour hot water into the frozen solid ice maker to loosen the ice. Additionally, you can carefully use an ice pick to break the ice without damaging the unit.  Later dump the ice and remove any hardware in the maker like the drip tray.
  • Clean all the plastic parts with warm soapy water and washing cloth.  You can also use dissolved baking soda in warm water to remove the stubborn stains. Finally, rinse all the parts well and set them aside to air dry.
  • Use a washcloth and warm soapy water or distilled vinegar solution to wipe down the interior and exterior surface of the unit. Later use a toothbrush to access the hard-to-reach areas and corners of the maker. Finally, use a dry towel to wipe any moisture residue and dry the ice maker.
  • Check the filter if it’s clogged and clear the deposits. Also, an old water filter can affect your ice taste and the ice-making process.  If it’s damaged, ensure you replace it.
  • Run a few cycles. Reassemble the ice maker and place it inside the freezer.  Plugin the refrigerator and turn on the ice maker- let the unit run for a few cycles, and then discard the ice cubes to absorb all the odors in the freezer.

How do you deep clean an ice maker?

There are three ways you can apply to clean your machine. Though you can use the same procedure for any ice maker, it’s best to check your manual for guidance.  However, below are some basic steps;

Ice Maker Cleaning Solution and Wash Cycle

  • Switch off the machine, remove all the ice in the dispenser and allow the remaining to melt.
  • Later turn on the unit and locate the CLEAN and WASH buttons. Wait until the maker indicates you add the cleaning solution.
  • Add the recommend amount of the solution and start the cleaning cycle.
  • When the cycle completes, disconnect the machine from power. Then, take out the ice maker and clean it.
  • Prepare an ice maker cleaning solution or use dish soap and water. Use a cloth or sponge and clean all the removable components. Later rinse them with clean water to remove the solution residues and dry them.

Ice Maker Without Wash Cycle  

  • Switch off the ice maker and empty the remaining ice.  
  • Spray the cleaning solution into the unit and allow it to settle for some minutes.
  • Later rinse off the solution with clean water.
  • Switch on your unit and run it through 3 cycles as you dispose of the ice. Your fourth cycle will have sparkling clean ice.

Cleaning an Ice Maker with Vinegar

Before the cleaning procedure, ensure you plug out the ice maker. Then, drain all the fluid in the unit and remove the interior parts like the ice pick, scoop, and ice basket.

What You Require

  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Soft cloth/ sponge
  • Measuring cup
  • Toothbrush  


  1. Prepare the cleaning solution to use for descaling and disinfecting the ice maker. For this reason, it’s best to use food-safe ingredients like vinegar.  Mix warm water and vinegar in the ratio of 10:1 and fill up the ice maker.
  2. Start cleaning the accessories by dipping a cloth in the solution and wiping the components.  Clean them thoroughly to remove the rough stains or any scale build-up. If you notice clogged filters, soak them up in the vinegar solution.  Rinse the components and wipe them dry.
  3. Clean the ice maker interior section. Rub the surfaces with a cloth as you spray the vinegar. You can still use pure vinegar for stubborn lime deposits. Use a soft brush to brush the corners and hard-to-reach areas.
  4.  Later reassemble the ice maker and replace the water filters. Next, run the machine and make ice to allow the solution to clean the interior parts. Keep the process going as you discard the ice produced.
  5. Later fill the reservoir with water and run the machine to rinse the vinegar remains. Finally, throw away the ice and drain the reservoir to ensure there is no more cleanser.
  6. Switch off your ice maker; it’s now clean for future use.

Check this too: Igloo Ice Maker Troubleshooting and How to Guide

How to Clean an Ice Dispenser Chute

Clean the ice chute with mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth. Wipe it well with the fabric to get rid of dirt and later rinse it. Make sure to dry the chute thoroughly to prevent the building up of ice and block ice flow down the chute.


Defrosting an ice maker is an important task you should know. I hope from the above-explained techniques you can now defrost your ice maker. Remember, after defrosting, it’s best to clean up your unit to remove any foul odors and have fresh ice.