How to Clean Your Icemaker and Change the Filter

by Mark Soto
Opening refrigerator ice maker to clean

Cleaning an Icemaker at a Glance

  • Step 1: Unplug fridge
  • Step 2: Turn off icemaker
  • Step 3: Clean ice bin
  • Step 4: Wipe components
  • Step 5: Dry

Changing an Icemaker Filter at a Glance

  • Step 1: Turn off icemaker and unplug fridge
  • Step 2: Locate and remove filter
  • Step 3: Add water and replace filter

You want the ice you put in your drinks and consume to be as clean and bacteria-free as possible. To ensure this, you need to routinely clean your icemaker and its components as well as change the filter.

This May Also Interest You: Defrosting, Demystified: Here’s How Often You Need to Defrost Your Freezer

If you’ve noticed a strange smell coming from the ice cubes or a weird taste in your iced drinks, there’s a good chance it’s time to do one or both of these things. Here’s a step-by-step guide on cleaning the icemaker and changing the filter, plus helpful tips you should know.

How Often Should You Clean an Icemaker?

You don’t have to wait until the ice cubes taste or smell funny before you clean the icemaker. Ideally, an icemaker should be cleaned at least once every six months. If you use hard water, then you need to clean it even more often. Hard water contains more mineral deposits and can have a negative effect on the icemaker coil. These mineral deposits can even prevent it from freezing the water.

How Often Should You Change the Filter?

A new filter is crucial to ensuring the ice you put in your drinks is as pure as possible. A filter is responsible for catching any minerals and particles you don’t want going into your ice cubes. Over time, as the filter builds up with this collected debris, it starts to work less efficiently. In other cases, it can cause your icemaker to completely stop working if it becomes clogged.

As such, you will want to change the filter at least every six months or so. While you can use this as a rule of thumb, you will want to do it either less or more often, depending on what the water’s like in your area. Different states have a differing amount of mineral buildup in their water. If you live in a state with water with a high concentration of minerals, you will want to change the filter more often, whereas if it’s the opposite, you might not need to do it as much. Luckily, some refrigerators will have an indicator light that tells you when you should switch out the filter.

How to Clean Your Icemaker

Step 1: Unplug the Refrigerator

The first step to take when cleaning the icemaker is to unplug the refrigerator. Cleaning and working on your icemaker while it still has running electricity is a bad idea and a possible hazard. Move your refrigerator out slowly so you can access the back portion of it if that’s where the power cord is located.

Step 2: Turn the Icemaker Off

An icemaker should have a leveler that prevents it from making ice. Other icemakers might just have a power-off button. If it’s currently turned to the on position, you should adjust it to the off position.

Step 3: Clean the Ice Bin

Remove the ice bin and get rid of anything that’s frozen. You might need to scrape off some of the existing ice in it. Wash the ice bin in the dishwasher. Once cleaned, you can use a solution of vinegar and hot water to wipe it with a soft cloth and then rinse it.

Step 4: Wipe Down Areas With Soft Cloth

Using the same cleaning solution of vinegar and hot water, soak the soft cloth and wash the areas around the ice dispenser. Make sure to wipe down all the components around the area and take off any removable parts. Your ice dispenser is often dirtier than you might think, so you will want to get it really clean. Scrub it with a toothbrush dipped in the cleaning solution to get everything as clean as possible.

Step 5: Dry Everything

Now take a dry towel and use it to dry everything. Make sure the ice bin is dry, as well as all the other components you cleaned with the soft cloth. Then just turn the refrigerator and icemaker back on.

More Related Articles:

Open panel in refrigerator to change ice maker water filter -------------------------------------------

How to Change the Filter

Step 1: Turn the Icemaker Off and Unplug the Refrigerator

The first two steps for changing a filter are the same as when you clean the icemaker. That’s why it’s easy to do both at the same time. Just like when cleaning it, disable the icemaker to prevent water from spilling out. Similarly, for your safety, you will also want to unplug the refrigerator from the wall.

Step 2: Remove Filter

The location of the filter will vary depending on the model of your refrigerator. For some models, the filter will be located on the front bottom of the fridge in the kickplate. For others, it will be inside the refrigerator. Some models will have it installed horizontally and others vertically.

To remove the filter, simply shift it slightly left or counterclockwise. When you hear a click, remove it. Be careful, since there might be some water that comes down after it’s removed. It’s a good idea to have a towel nearby to clean up any spills.

Step 3: Add a New Water Filter

Now get your new water filter and remove any protective seals. If you’re installing it vertically, fill it with water to help avoid any air bubbles. Once you add the water, face the filter toward you until you see an upwards arrow. Then, push it up the filter head and turn it to the right (clockwise) if you’re installing it horizontally. Turn until you hear a click. Some water filters will only require you to plug it in as opposed to turning it. If your refrigerator has a water filter alert button, reset it by holding it down for at least three seconds.