The Opal Nugget Ice Maker requires regular cleaning to ensure no bacteria or mold builds up affecting the taste (and health) of your ice. Regular descaling is also required to reduce limescale buildup that can occur over time due to mineral deposits from hard water.
Using a natural, non-toxic cleaning solution on your ice maker is great for the environment and is so easy to do so. Vinegar is an awesome alternative to bleach and is easy and cheap to get if you don't have a bottle on hand.
It also tackles the mineral deposit issues better than bleach. But how exactly do you clean your Opal Nugget Ice Maker with vinegar and what steps do you need to take?
There are four steps in cleaning the Opal Nugget Ice Maker with vinegar. The first step involves cleaning the outside of the ice maker with warm water and vinegar. You will then clean the accessories of the ice maker, like the ice bin and drip tray. The final step is running vinegar through the machine via the water reservoir.
In this article, I have provided you with a detailed step-by-step guide on cleaning the Opal ice maker with vinegar.
Opal Nugget ice makers are not cheap appliances, so you want to keep them clean and well-maintained to last a long time. Learn more about how Opal Nugget ice makers work here and why they need regular cleaning.
Things You Will Need To Get Started
To get started, you will need the following things to effectively clean your ice maker with vinegar.
- White Vinegar. Do not use brown vinegar as this has a stronger smell.
- Warm water
- Lemon juice
- Bucket or container
- Toothbrush (optional)
- Paper towel (anything you want to dry with)
- Spray bottle (optional)
Please note: It is recommended that you clean your Opal Nugget Ice Maker once per week and descale your Opal Nugget Ice Maker about once per month.
Step 1: Clean The Exterior Of The Ice Maker
It is always best to start working from the outside in. Before you begin cleaning the exterior of the ice maker I recommend unplugging the appliance from the electrical socket and dismantling the water supply line first.
How to clean the exterior of the ice maker with vinegar:
- Mix a solution of warm and vinegar using the ratio of one part vinegar and one part water.
- Using your soft cloth, gently wash the outside of the ice maker in circular motions until it is clean
- You can rinse off the outside with clean water
- Once the vinegar solution has all been removed, you can dry the outside with a paper towel or cloth. A paper towel is the best way to avoid any streaks.
The great thing about vinegar is it is a natural mold killer. So it's a great way to keep mold from growing on your Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
Step 2: Clean The Ice Bin
Once you have cleaned the outside, it is time to dismantle the ice maker. For this step, you will need to remove the ice bin from the maker to clean it.
How to clean the ice bin with vinegar:
- First, you will need to remove all the ice from the ice bin until it is completely empty
- Using the solution of warm water and vinegar, gently clean the ice bin
- Rinse off the solution with clean water
- Dry the ice bin with a paper towel or cloth, or leave it out to dry on the counter
Step 3: Clean The Drip Tray
Like step 2, you will need to remove the drip tray from the ice maker so that you can clean it individually.
How to clean the drip tray with vinegar:
- Using the water and vinegar solution, gently clean the drip tray with a cloth. To get between the hard-to-reach places, you can even use an old toothbrush.
- Rinse the drip tray once clean
- Dry with a paper towel, cloth or leave out to air-dry
Step 4: Clean The Water Reservoir Of The Ice Maker
The final step in the cleaning process is to clean the water reservoir, and luckily the machine will do all the hard work for you.
The water reservoir is the most important part that needs to be cleaned as this is where the most bacteria is collected and the Opal has a self cleaning setting that will run vinegar through the machine – killing mold and descaling your machine.
Here you want to use undiluted white vinegar (about 2-quarts)
How to clean the water reservoir with vinegar:
- Remove the water filter from the water reservoir and replace it with the provided intake cap
- Drain all the water out of the reservoir by hooking the drain hoses to the back of the machine and opening their end plugs. You can drain the water into the sink or into a bucket by placing the hoses into the sink or the bucket.
- Once all the water has been drained, you must re attach the drain hoses
- Pour the vinegar into the reservoir, stopping before the fill line in the reservoir
- Plug the ice maker back in
- To start the automatic cleaning process, you will need to hold down the “Clean” button for 3 seconds.
- The machine will circulate the vinegar cleaning solution around the reservoir, cleaning itself while you wait
- For descaling you'll need to leave the vinegar in the machine for up to 18 hours to remove any buildup of limescale
- Otherwise for a quick clean the cleaning light will go off once the process is complete
- To drain the water, you will need to detach the drain hoses and remove the end plugs
- Place the hoses into the sink or bucket
- Once the reservoir has finished draining, you can close the end plugs and re-attach the drain hoses
How to rinse the reservoir:
- Add 5 cups of clean water to the reservoir and press the “Clean” button again.
- Drain the water using the method mentioned above
You can rinse the machine at least two times to ensure that all the vinegar has been removed before adding more water to make ice.
You may also want to make and discard the first batch or 2 of ice to ensure all vinegar is gone and your ice maker isn't making bad smelling/tasting ice.
To learn more, you can read my other guide on how to clean an Opal ice maker with bleach.
Watch Instructional Videos:
Below you can see videos from GE themselves and well as an Opal owner who shows you step-by-step exactly how to clean your opal nugget ice maker with vinegar.
There is a focus on descaling:
Can I use brown vinegar instead of white?
It is highly recommended that you use white vinegar as brown vinegar has a stronger smell that is difficult to neutralize.
White vinegar does not leave that strong vinegar smell and is an overall great cleaning product.
Can I descale my Opal Nugget Ice Maker with vinegar instead of bleach?
Mineral deposits build up in the reservoir from water that has not been distilled.
You can easily descale your ice maker by pouring vinegar into the reservoir and running the cleaning cycle at least two times.
Commercial descalers may work even better than vinegar but I am yet to test this out or see anyone who has done similar.
What other natural cleaners can I use on my Opal Nugget Ice Maker?
Vinegar is a great alternative to bleach, and so is a mixture of vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.
This can help get rid of stubborn stains and dirt in your ice maker.
For a quick clean warm water and detergent can also do a good job.