Olivia Marcy Maintenance & Cleaning

How Dirty Is The Ice At Fast Food Restaurants?

Believe it or not, we’re not actively trying to give anyone the ick by talking about dirty ice again. 

The truth is that dirty ice, and specifically dirty ice machines, can cause serious problems for both restaurants and consumers. Think you aren’t at risk for serving up dirty ice? Ask yourself this question:

"When was the last time you cleaned your ice machine?"

If you don’t know or can’t remember, your ice probably isn’t as clean as you think. So let’s talk about dirty ice, shall we? And specifically the ice at fast food restaurants.

Is Ice At Fast Food Restaurants Clean?

If you’re like most people, you don’t hesitate to fill your cup with ice from the dispenser at a fast food restaurant. You’re preoccupied with the thought of burgers and fries—the last thing on your mind is the cleanliness of the ice. 

But just like other equipment in a fast food restaurant kitchen, a commercial ice machine can produce some nasty results without routine cleaning. 

So, is that ice in your cup clean?

Probably, Unless...

From the outside, ice machines don’t seem like they’d be a breeding ground for mineral buildup, mold, and slime. After all, it’s just turning water into ice, right? How dirty can that be? 

Most restaurant ice machines have some sort of water filter or filtration system for hard water. This should keep mineral buildup to a minimum as long as the filter is changed or cleaned regularly.  

But don’t forget that water is a prime suspect in the growth of mold (because dampness, right?) and can carry bacteria just like almost every other liquid. If fast food restaurants aren’t regularly cleaning their ice machine (and not just the machine, but the ice bin, dispenser, and scoop) they’re leaving the door open for bacteria growth. 

The good news is that if you’re a consumer, you don’t have to wonder whether the restaurant ice you’re consuming is clean. Government health codes and regulations apply to ice machines just like any other restaurant equipment. 

How To Tell If A Restaurant's Ice Is Safe

This part is actually super simple. If your ice is tasteless, odorless, and clear—it’s most likely clean. This is going to be true for almost all restaurants.

If you have the slightest suspicion that your ice is funky, all you have to do is look up the restaurant's health score. You can verify that there hasn’t been a health code violation. 

Some fast food restaurants bag and sell their own ice, which exposes your bagged ice to a lot more hands, surfaces, and opportunities for contamination. Health code policies have your back here, too, though, so as long as the staff and kitchen adhere to those standards, you’ll probably be fine.  

How To Keep A Clean Ice Machine

Restaurants can’t afford for their health score to take a hit due to dirty ice machines. But the problem is, a restaurant kitchen is a happening place—it’s almost impossible to stick to a cleaning schedule (and these days, not enough hands to get the job done). 

And it’s not just one part of the ice machine that needs a thorough going over! You’ve got to think about cleaning your ice machine filter, too.

We Keep Your Ice So Fresh And So Clean

We know restaurant owners have a lot on their plate. That’s why we offer routine cleaning service as part of our Preventative Maintenance Program! 

When you enroll in Memphis Ice’s Preventative Maintenance Program, you don’t have to worry about hidden fees or contracts. You choose the frequency that you want your ice machine cleaned (annually, biannually, or quarterly), and for a low, flat rate, our experts clean your ice machine. No stress, no uncertainty of whether your ice machine is clean—just peace of mind and freedom to run your business.

Advantages Of Routine Cleaning

Keeping a clean commercial ice machine isn’t just in the best interest of your restaurant’s health score. It can also extend the life of your equipment and prevent expensive repairs before they happen. A small investment in routine ice machine maintenance can save your business a long repair bill down the road. 

Note: Restaurants and commercial kitchens aren’t the only places at risk for dirty ice. When was the last time your home ice machine got a scrub?

Keep Your Ice Clean With Expertise From Memphis Ice

At Memphis Ice Machine Company, our experts can help you with your commercial ice machine and refrigeration needs from start to finish. Not only do we know the ins and outs of ice machine repair, maintenance, and cleaning, but we can also advise you on the best equipment for your unique needs. And when the time comes to dispose of old equipment, we can ensure your unwanted ice machines are discarded safely. Find out how we can support your business by scheduling a call today!

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