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michaelangelo Community, Ice Machine Care, Maintenance & Cleaning, Small Business

The Filthy, Grimy, and Natural Truth: How To Prevent Slime in an Ice Machine


Slime and mold growth, just like ice, is perfectly natural. But that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows in your ice machine. In fact, it could be dark, damp, and filled with bacteria. 

Nobody wants a dirty ice machine. And no customers want moldy, slimy ice in their drinks. We know it and so do you. That’s why in this blog we’re going to discuss why slime and mold build up in your ice machine and the steps you need to take to prevent it from happening.


What is the slime made of in your ice machine?


Slime, or biofilm, is bacteria that’s found a safe place to grow. Essentially, they’re living rent-free in your freezer. This bacteria is aggressive, reproduces fast, and is committed to sticking around for the long haul. 

Generally, the slime in your ice machine varies in color and source. Sometimes, slime is pink. Maybe yours isn’t. The origin of slime can be from your cooking environment, pollution, or just opportune growing conditions. 

No matter where it’s from, slime is unpleasant. No matter what color, it’s undesirable. Sadly, it’s inevitable without proper cleaning and maintenance. The Thanos of ice machines.


How often should I clean my ice machine?


So you’re dealing with slime. Trust us, we’ve been there. We know all of the problems around overproductive slime—common or otherwise—and how to solve them. 

Broadly speaking, manufacturers recommend cleaning commercial ice machines twice a year. But that’s not all there is to that answer. This common cleaning recommendation confuses most commercial ice machine owners—and for good reason. It’s because their recommendation only applies to descaling an ice machine, or routine maintenance. This process has nothing to do with bacteria growth. 

The answer to how often you should clean your ice machine is: as many times as you need to. Timing varies for each machine and it’s often dependent on the machine’s environment, usage habits, and water quality. For some, a handful of thorough cleanings is all it takes. For others, monthly or even weekly cleanings are necessary to ensure safety and proper function.


What are the risks of slime and mold?


It’s entirely possible for pink slime and mold to grow in your ice machine and contaminate your ice supply. Some molds are entirely safe for humans. Others? Not so much. Here are just some of the common risks associated with slime and mold growth in your ice machine:

  • Health risk to immunocompromised customers and employees
  • Developing a reputation as an unsanitary place to eat at or visit 
  • Health inspections that may result in a violation 
  • Reduced life and productivity of your ice machine 

It’s not worth the risk. You need to properly clean and sanitize your ice machine on a regular basis to curb slime and mold growth and keep customers safe. If you see mold or slime, take care of it immediately.


Three tips to prevent slime and mold in an ice machine


1. Thoroughly inspect your ice machine’s dim areas weekly


This is the simplest way to identify the problem before it blows up in your face. Don’t just look at the spots you can see every day. Inspect the areas you’d otherwise ignore. The dim, dark spots you never want to check. That’s where slime and mold thrive.

2. Increase basic cleaning frequency


This is a no-brainer. Every ice machine is a unique system due to its model and environment. Where is it located? How frequently is your machine used? This has a significant impact on bacterial growth. If you’re noticing new slime and mold growth more and more, then it’s time to increase how many times your ice machine is cleaned and sanitized.

3. Contact Memphis Ice to prevent slime and mold in your ice machine


We know how much work it is to clean and maintain ice machines. It’s cold, dirty, and complicated. But that’s why we do it. You have a business to run. Let Memphis Ice handle the dirty work for you. We offer comprehensive cleaning and maintenance services so that your ice machine is running at peak performance no matter what. If you’re experiencing slime and mold buildup, we’ll clean it up and keep it at bay. 


Click here for more information about our maintenance services.



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