Olivia MarcyIce Facts, Maintenance & Cleaning

Can Ice Get Moldy? 5 Dirty Secrets About Your Ice Machine

You’ve probably never thought about moldy ice, or whether the ice in your drink was clean. Until now, that is. Yep, new fear unlocked: dirty ice. 

If you’ve ever looked inside an ice machine, you know it’s pretty damp in there. And we all know moisture is mold’s best friend, so it’s terrifyingly clear that moldy ice is definitely a thing. Before you start freaking out and stop ordering your favorite iced coffees and cocktails, here are 5 dirty secrets about your ice machine that you should know.

5 Dirty Secrets About Your Ice Machine

1. Can Ice Get Moldy?

Here’s a gross fact: it’s entirely possible for ice to carry mold and contaminate your drink. Hey, we did warn you it was gross. This happens when ice machines aren’t regularly cleaned inside. The most common place for mold to grow in an ice machine is the drop zone where the formed cubes drop into the dispenser.

"If an ice machine doesn’t get routine cleaning and maintenance, mold and slime buildup can fall into the ice." 

Then, contaminated ice carries mold into that cocktail, glass of water, or smoothie you’re sipping. A lovely thought, right?

2. How Does Ice Get Dirty?

Dirty ice usually happens because of a dirty ice machine. But sometimes bacteria can be introduced to your ice supply from an external source.

Dirty Ice From Bacteria

A lot of people think that the internal temperature of an ice machine is too cold for bacteria or fungi to grow. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

While the cooler temperatures will slow the growth of bacteria, it won’t kill it. The upshot of this is that you have plenty of time to catch and clean your home ice machine or commercial ice maker before your equipment is overrun with bacteria. 

Bacteria is usually introduced when people use their hands instead of a scoop to serve ice. Any bacteria that is on your hands is transferred to the ice, and it slowly begins to spread. Using an ice scoop isn’t just convenient, it’s more sanitary than using your hands.

3. How Can You Tell If Ice Has Gone Bad?

Ice that has been contaminated with mold or bacteria will look, taste, and smell exactly like clean ice. It’s not until you take a peek inside your ice machine that you may see the telltale signs of black mold on your ice machine. 

If you’re super grossed out right now and wondering if you should order drinks without ice, here’s a bit of reassurance: most restaurant ice machines are inspected and cleaned regularly. The likelihood of being contaminated by dirty ice is actually pretty low as long as restaurants have a good health food score.

4. Can Mold In An Ice Machine Make You Sick?

For people with an average immune system, dirty ice won’t be a problem. The kind of bacteria or mold that could be in your ice isn’t likely to make you sick or disrupt your daily routines. In fact, most people won’t even know their body is tackling this kind of contamination. 

5. How To Clean Your Ice Machine

Whether you have a home ice maker, commercial ice machine, or even a refrigerator with an ice maker, it’s important to clean your equipment regularly. Routine cleaning and maintenance keeps mold, bacteria, and fungi from growing and contaminating your drinks. When you know how to clean an ice maker, you’ll be able to enjoy your drinks without worrying about what could be in your ice. 

To learn how to clean your ice machine and water dispenser, read our ice machine cleaning guide. 

If you’re a restaurant owner who doesn’t have an ice machine cleaning routine in place, check out our Preventative Maintenance Program. We’ll clean and inspect your commercial ice machines to ensure they’re free of slimy buildup, and you won’t have to worry about serving dirty ice.

Serve The Best Ice With Memphis Ice Machine Company

Here at Memphis Ice Machine Company, we make sure you’re supplied with the highest quality ice. That starts with choosing the right commercial ice machine or home ice maker for your needs, and ends with a commitment to make sure you’re equipped to serve the best ice. If you have questions about our commercial ice machine maintenance and cleaning services, renting an ice machine, or if you’d like a quote, schedule a call! 

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