Skip to content

Keeping the Ice in Your Business Clean and Sanitary

WDC Keeping Ice Clean Header Image

Did you know that ice that's being used for consumption in drinks or meal prep is considered food and must be treated as such? It's important that government regulations on ice are followed to avoid bacterial growth and customer illness. Therefore, keeping your ice machine and storage unit spotless must be a major consideration to ensure ice remains safe. 

The simplest way to make sure the ice in your foodservice business is sanitary? Regularly cleaning the machine and using the propper scoops and vessels to transport ice to where it's needed.

Why Ice Machines Need Cleaning

Ice within machines can easily become contaminated by incoming water, dirty ice bins, unsafe ice handling from employees, and airborne contaminants like those from open alcohol containers, yeast from baking, airborne algae, environmental contamination, or a dirty and dusty building. 

Cleaning should follow a regular schedule and focus on those surfaces exposed to human contact. It's also advised to perform the second deeper cleaning twice per year or as needed to ensure the more difficult areas of the machine and attached drains are adequately cleaned. 

Signs Ice Machines Need Attention

A properly functioning and well-maintained ice machine is crucial to regular foodservice operations and to comply with local health and safety codes. That means you want to avoid dealing with ice machine breakdowns during service operations by keeping an eye out for certain warning signs.

One obvious sign is that the machine doesn’t release ice properly. Also, watch out for poor ice quality and ice that produces an odor, tastes funny, or is cloudy. Additionally, finding that the machine produces incomplete or shallow cubes is a clear indicator of blockage.  An ice machine that regularly stops and restarts means maintenance is required. Beware of black specs in the ice or on the machine. This is an indication of black mold which means you need a deep ice machine cleaning and cannot use this ice.

Proper Transportation and Ice Delivery


Ensuring ice is properly transported from the ice machine to the unit where the ice is stored is critical in ensuring the quality of the product. When moving ice in bins, it must be completely covered to eliminate exposure. When moving ice using buckets, do not use buckets that were previously used for other products. Ice buckets should be specifically used only for ice transportation and stored so nothing can get in them. And it seems like it's something that doesn't need to be said, but never use a glass or bare hands to get ice out. Glass products can break while being used and bare hands can contaminate the ice particles.

San Jamar offers a variety of ice equipment products ranging from scoops and holders to ice totes and buckets. With features such as BPA-free plastic equipment, features for ergonomic scooping, and carts for easy ice transportation to different stations, San Jamar helps keep your ice clean and your customers safe.