Freezing water in ice trays may not seem like a lot of work, but once you experience the convenience of a stand-alone ice maker, you’ll never look back. The GE ice maker instantly gives you access to a soothing cold beverage, and it’s not that hard to maintain.
Here are 10 easy steps to cleaning your GE ice maker:
- Unplug the ice maker.
- Drain the ice maker.
- Prepare a cleaning solution.
- Wash the side tank, drip tray, and ice bin in soapy water.
- Wipe the exterior surface with soapy water.
- Dislodge any hardened minerals from the ice chute.
- Descale the ice maker if necessary.
- Use the built-in cleaning function.
- Rinse the reservoir.
- Dry the ice maker and put everything back.
The GE ice maker provides so much convenience that it’s sometimes easy to neglect cleaning it. A dirty machine can end up performing poorly or producing unsanitary ice. For a more detailed discussion of the above cleaning steps, keep reading.
1. Unplug the Ice Maker
Make sure to turn your ice maker off and unplug your ice maker before cleaning. The last thing you want to do is clean it while making ice: turning the ice maker off and unplugging it is a sure-fire way to prevent a short circuit.
Ice makers use water, and cleaning involves getting it wet. If water makes its way to the circuits, it could lead to severe damage. Ice makers are well insulated, but you can never be too careful.
You’ll also need to move the ice maker around as you clean it, and keeping it plugged in will restrict movement.
The manufacturer recommends letting the appliance set for an hour after unplugging it before you begin cleaning.
2. Drain the Ice Maker
Before draining your ice maker, move it next to a bucket or sink that sits below the ice maker.
Next, unplug the drain hoses from the top corner of the ice maker and detach them from the holder on the other side. The hoses will remain connected to the bottom of the ice maker, but you should be able to let the water drip into the sink.
Wait for the water to stop dripping before reconnecting the drain hoses. If you’re using a filter, replace the intake cap.
3. Prepare a Cleaning Solution
Prepare separate cleaning solutions for the exterior and interior of your ice maker. Don’t use soap to clean the water reservoir. You can use household bleach or vinegar for the interior components and mild soapy water for the exterior.
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If you’re using bleach, dilute one teaspoon in five cups of water. Bleach is not toxic or corrosive, so any residue left in the ice maker will not be harmful if ingested. However, exposure to bleach may irritate the eyes, skin, mouth, or lungs.
If you don’t want to use bleach, you can use vinegar since it contains acetic acid, an excellent cleaner and disinfectant. Dilute the vinegar in water using a 1:1 ratio: one cup of vinegar for every cup of water.
The advantage of using water with vinegar is the water neutralizes the vinegar’s sour taste, so it won’t affect your ice in case some residue is left in the ice maker. And since vinegar is mainly used for cooking, it’s completely safe when ingested.
To prevent corrosion and contamination of your ice, never use polish, solvents, wax, or chemicals to clean your ice maker.
You may use a stainless steel cleaner with no grit, strictly for the stainless steel surfaces.
4. Wash the Side Tank, Drip Tray, and Ice Bin in Soapy Water
After preparing your cleaning solutions, remove the side tank, drip tray, and ice bin from the ice maker.
If you see residual water in the side tank after draining it, flip the tank’s base to remove the water. Hand-wash the side tank, cap, and valve using mild dish soap and warm water. Let the tank soak in the vinegar cleaning solution you prepared earlier if you see mineral deposits.
Make sure to rinse the side tank thoroughly to remove any remaining soap or vinegar. To remove stubborn stains, you may have to repeatedly clean and soak the side tank.
You can clean the ice bin, drip tray, and scoop using soapy water. Just rinse them thoroughly and dry them using a soft cloth.
5. Wipe the Exterior Surface With Soapy Water
To clean the exterior surface of your ice maker, wipe it down using a soft cloth dampened with soapy water.
If you’re using a stainless steel cleaner for the stainless steel surfaces, apply it using a soft, damp sponge and rub it in the same direction as the brush lines.
Dry the exterior using another soft dry cloth.
6. Dislodge Any Hardened Minerals From the Ice Chute
Before cleaning the reservoir, inspect the top of the ice chute for any traces of minerals. Use a toothpick or a sharp, clean object to dislodge hardened minerals. These minerals – known as scale – are found in hard water and can affect the performance of your machine.
Tap water contains many soluble minerals like calcium and magnesium, to name a few. When water evaporates, it leaves behind these minerals that are hard and sometimes yellowish.
Scale deposits may not always be visible but can still impede your machine’s ability to make ice. You can dislodge hard water deposits from your ice chute using any sharp object, but it may also indicate that it’s time to descale your ice maker.
7. Descale the Ice Maker if Necessary
Descaling is the term used for eliminating minerals left in your ice maker. Neglecting the build-up of these minerals on your machine can restrict the movement of specific components and ultimately cause premature wear.
It’s best to descale your machine every six months, even if you don’t see traces of hard water, since the minerals aren’t always visible. Using distilled water can prevent the build-up of minerals in your ice maker. You’ll need to descale more frequently if you use tap water.
To descale your ice maker, follow these steps:
- Fill the reservoir to the maximum fill line with about two quarts (1.9 liters) of undiluted vinegar.
- Soak a sponge in vinegar and place it in the ice chute. You need to let the vinegar in the reservoir and the ice chute soak for 18 hours to dissolve hard water deposits.
- After 18 hours, remove the sponge from the chute and use a soft cloth or sponge with clean water to wipe it.
- Use a soft cloth dampened with vinegar to clean the sensors and then wipe them again using another cloth with clean water.
- Drain the vinegar by unplugging the drain hoses at the back of the ice maker.
Once the vinegar is completely drained, return the drain hoses and jump to step 9. However, if your ice maker doesn’t need to be descaled, proceed to step 8.
8. Use the Built-In Cleaning Function
Your GE ice maker has a built-in cleaning function. To use this feature, plug your ice maker back in, then move the switch at the back to the CLEAN position. You should see a pulsating yellow light around the display ring.
Fill the reservoir up with the cleaning solution you prepared during step 3.
Press the display button to initiate the cleaning process. The yellow light should stop pulsating and start spinning to indicate that cleaning has commenced. You should hear water flowing for the next three minutes.
The yellow light will start pulsating once the water stops circulating. At this point, you can drain the contents of the reservoir by repeating step 2. Make sure to reconnect the drain hoses afterward.
9. Rinse the Reservoir
After descaling or cleaning the reservoir, you can rinse it using the built-in cleaning function. Just add five cups of fresh water to the reservoir before pressing the button.
The rinsing process has four stages, which will be indicated by the ring light. Each stage is represented by a quarter of the ring light getting brighter.
When the machine stops, drain and refill the reservoir with fresh water. You should repeat the rinsing process at least three times.
10. Dry Your Ice Maker and Put Everything Back
Once completely satisfied with the rinse, you can dry your ice maker with a soft dry cloth. Reconnect the drain tubes, then return the side tank, ice bin, and drip tray to their places.
You should now have a clean, sanitized ice maker ready to chill your favorite beverages.
Keeping your GE ice maker running in top shape requires little effort. The built-in cleaning function makes cleaning and descaling a breeze. Besides, cleaning an ice maker still beats using ancient ice trays that take forever to produce ice.