How Can Your Ice Become Dirty?

Why is dirty ice a problem

When you think of areas prime for mold, slime, bacteria, dust, dirt, or even insects, your first thought is never ice machines. You would think that these issues could not exist in a frozen environment. Sadly, you can get these sorts of issues in your residential and commercial ice machines. It is fact that dirty ice is a problem and can make you sick.

Let’s examine how ice can become contaminated and just how dangerous it can be for those that use ice that’s been improperly handled.

Improper Ice Handling can Kill

In 2006, a 15-year-old boy died after a golf tournament in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was discovered that several young men got sick from the ice used in coolers.  After an investigation, a staff member’s improper handling of the ice was named as the cause.  He spread norovirus as he filled coolers.  Improper handling, without using a clean scoop or ungloved hands, can spread bacteria and create a deadly situation.

One way to reduce improper ice handling is to order bagged ice delivery. Once your bags are delivered to your location, your staff can glove up, cut the bags open and empty your ice into your cooler.

Ice Machines and Leftovers Are a Dangerous Combination

Mold and slime can and do exist within ice machines.  All they need to thrive is moisture and a food source. Obviously, ice machines provide moisture, but the surrounding kitchen or dining area that provides the food.  Trace amounts of sugars, yeast, and grease enter the air when cooking or serving, eventually ending up in your ice machine.  They become food for the slime and mold.

Dirty Ice Machine Filters Create Contaminated Ice

Most ice machines are air-cooled. The cooling fan pulls in the surrounding air to keep the condenser cool.  That air has dust, dirt, and pollen.

Yes, there are filters in your machine, but no filter traps 100% of the dust and dander it collects.  Filters require regular cleaning.  If not cleaned, they allow more and more grime in.

All throughout this, that dirt, dust, and pollen are getting into your ice, causing dirty ice.  You may not see it, or even taste it in the beginning, but it is there.

Bacteria Can Stick to Your Ice Bin

Cooler temperatures hinder bacterial and viral growth, so you would think that they couldn’t grow in an ice machine.  They can. Unfortunately, the microorganisms can enter your ice bin and be challenging to eliminate. E-coli, salmonella, norovirus, or even fecal matter can contaminate your ice supply.  This can be a case of dirty hands, a dirty scoop or contact with contaminated food.

Pests Can Cause Dirty Ice

When it comes to pests like ants, cockroaches, and even rats, they like moisture but not the cold.  Still, there are warm areas within your ice machine. The compressor and housing are the most common hiding spots for pests.

Kitchen cleanliness and regular pest control practices are vital in keeping pests away. Keeping dishes clean throughout the day, food sealed, and floors are important in keeping pests at bay. If you have an infestation, stop using the machine immediately, unplug it and drain its contents.

Have an exterminator come in to treat the machine and surrounding areas.  Then, call a professional to clean and sanitize the machine. This may take a while and require you to purchase ice for your use.

Bagged Ice Delivery Helps Reduce Ice Contamination Risks

Clean ice should be a priority for anyone using cubes to cool down personal or a customer’s drinks. Dirty ice is a risk your organization should never take.

Keep your ice clean year-round with a commercial ice supplier like Emergency Ice in Dallas-Fort Worth area. If you’re concerned your machine can’t create clean ice, Emergency Ice can and will fill your ice needs.

Our bagged ice delivery services are on-demand and can be at your doorstep shortly after you’ve completed your order.

Contact us today to schedule your next order.



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