Ice cream is perfection.

Or, at least, it is on a hot summer day. It’s cool. It’s refreshing. It’s sweet. It can come in all sorts of flavors and with all kinds of toppings. It is customizable, adaptable to your particular tastes. It comes in lactose free versions too!

While ice cream is universally adored, there is one aspect of making ice cream that is less than appealing to most: cleaning your ice cream machine.

It’s not necessarily “dreaded” by all, but we would assume it is by most. It is time-consuming and must be completed often to meet health code standards.

In this post, we would like to help make this task a little less cumbersome by outlining the four steps that must be completed for a thorough clean and by providing a few tips we’ve picked up over the years to make it easier.

Step 1: Ice Cream, Be Gone

Before you can begin the cleaning process, you must completely empty the ice cream machine from its contents. This means removing any unused mix that has been left in the freezer section of the machine as well as cleaning out any ice cream that has been left behind by the scraper blades. Wipe off the walls of the freezer and scraper blades, making sure the machine is completely empty.

Step 2: Take it Apart

Once the machine has been flushed out and completely emptied, it is time to begin the disassembly process. This can be intimidating for those who have not performed the task before. But, for those of us who are veterans in the foodservice industry, we could probably complete this task in no time, maybe even with our eyes shut!


To start, remove any moving or non-moving parts that are detachable and that have come in contact with the ice cream. These components will need to be soaked later to ensure the ice cream machine is properly meeting sanitation requirements.

Once you have detached the moving and non-moving parts that directly come in contact with the product, consult your owner’s manual to see if any additional parts need to be removed. Which parts are recommended for detachment are model and brand specific so check your owner’s manual will help ensure you are removing all the parts that need to be taken out and only the parts that need to be removed. No need in causing yourself extra work!

Step 3: Roll Your Sleeves Up and Get Ready to Scrub!

The removable parts can be soaked at this time. This will remove the ice cream residue from the parts more quickly and make the cleaning process easier. To quicken the process and make sure that it is properly sanitized for commercial use, soak the parts in warm, soapy water.


After they have been soaked, go over them with a gentle scrub brush and wash clean the interior of the machine. Thoroughly rinse the parts and the interior of the machine so that soap residue is not left on the components (We don’t want soapy ice cream!).

Step 4: Put it Back Together

Once the components have been soaked, scrubbed, rinsed, and have been given time to dry, it’s time to reassemble the machine! As before, this step is brand and model specific, so please check with your owner’s manual to know exactly how the parts and components should be put back inside the machine.


Once the machine has been reassembled, it is ready to be used again. Completing this task once to twice a day during the busy season is recommended to ensure the machine stays clean, the product stays fresh, and customers do not pick up any nasty foodborne pathogens.

Additional Tips

One way to make this process easier is to create a cleaning schedule so employees will know when it needs to be done and who is responsible for completing the task.

Also, be sure to check all components, including belt drives and drains while the machine is disassembled. While they do not have to be maintained in the same way, it is a good idea to check them regularly to make sure every part of the machine is fully functional for operation. You can adjust the belt drives to the correct tension and align the drive pulleys as needed, following your owner’s manual.

Completing these steps will help ensure your customers' safety and the best tasting soft serve possible!


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