7 Best Ways To Clean The Opal Nugget Ice Maker

So you have invested in an Opal Nugget Ice Maker and are unsure how to clean it properly?

There are many different parts that need to be maintained including the sensors, exterior, ice bin, drip tray, side tank and the system itself.

This article gives you a detailed breakdown of how to clean each section properly so you can ensure that your Opal continues to perform optimally. 

Manufacturers guidelines state that you must clean the Opal system weekly, unless you use distilled water in which case it can be reduced to monthly. You need to run a ‘cleaning cycle’ with a mix of bleach and water, then rinse the inside thoroughly afterwards. Once every six months the Opal will need descaling which can be achieved using white vinegar and leaving it overnight. There are many different elements to the Opal, such as the sensors, exterior, ice bin, drip tray and side tank which require different cleaning methods. 

If you invested in an Opal Nugget Ice Maker you need to maintain it properly to ensure it continues to run smoothly. Cleaning isn't expensive and it isn't too difficult to do.

Follow our easy seven step guide to ensure that your Opal stays in top condition. Tip number three is especially important!

Before Cleaning

The Opal will indicate when it is time to clean the system using the display ring around the circular button on the front. 

If the display ring is solid yellow, it is time to get cleaning! 

Cleaning instructions vary depending on which model you own, if you own a different system that does not have a display ring then please clean according to the user manual. 

  1. One hour before you plan to clean your system, turn it off and unplug it. This allows time for all the parts to return to room temperature.
  2. If you are using the filter, remove it and replace the reservoir screen. The cleaning cycle will not work if you miss these crucial steps.
  3. If you notice a large buildup of minerals, see if you can dislodge any debris that is stuck at the top of the ice chute.

    Note: Hard water residue may not always be visible, but it will negatively impact ice production. Want to know more problems with the Opal Nugget Ice Maker?
  4. Ensure the Opal is fully emptied via the drain tubes.

Cleaning the Opal With Bleach or Opal Cleaning Solution

Manufacturers recommended cleaning the Opal weekly. However, if you have only used distilled water in your Opal this can be reduced to monthly cleaning. 

Nugget ice makers are expensive and if you don't clean them properly this can lead to mold or limescale buildup and can cause the ice from your ice maker to taste bad.

Once you have completed the pre-clean steps follow these simple instructions to get your Opal in tip top condition. 

  • Plug in the Opal and slide the rear switch to “Clean” mode, the display ring will light up yellow and flash.
  • Create a mixture of five cups of water and one teaspoon of household bleach or Opal cleaning solution. Opal manufacturers do not recommend using soap to clean the reservoir so please avoid using soap.
  • Pour the mixture into the water reservoir and touch the display button to start the cleaning process. You can check the cleaning process is working by listening for the water circulating and checking that the yellow light is rotating.
  • After three minutes the water will stop circulating and the yellow light will start to pulse again.
  • Now we need to drain the Opal, simply unhook the top of the drain hoses at the back of the Opal and put them into a sink or bucket below your ice maker.
  • Your Opal will now need rinsing. You need to add five cups of fresh water to the water reservoir and touch the button. The light ring is divided into four sections to indicate each rinsing stage. Each quarter of the ring will become brighter after each rinse cycle so you can check it has been rinsed thoroughly.
  • Rinse a minimum of three times adding fresh water to the reservoir each time.
  • You are finished! Replace the drain tubes on the back then slide the rear switch back to “Ice” mode.

Removing Mineral Deposits (Descaling)

Manufacturers recommend descaling the Opal at least every 1-6 months – but this should be done more frequently if you live in an area with hard water.

NOTE: Using distilled water does increase the operating costs of running the Opal (distilled water is more expensive) but if you have been using only distilled water, you will most likely not need to remove mineral deposits at all. 

  • Using white vinegar (do not dilute) fill to the max fill line and run up to three cleaning cycles.
  • Place a towel soaked in vinegar over the ice chute to dissolve any extra mineral build-up and leave the vinegar in the unit for 18 hours.
  • Clean the sensors with vinegar then wipe away with freshwater.
  • After draining the vinegar, run three rinse cycles using fresh water for each rinse to remove the vinegar residue. 

Alternatively you can purchase an Opal Cleaning Kit and follow the instructions inside. These are available on Amazon for under $30.

Below is an indepth video showing you exactly how to descale your Opal Nugget Ice Maker with vinegar:

Cleaning the Sensors

Manufacturers recommended cleaning the sensors at least every 6 months. If the sensors are dirty this can stop the Opal from producing ice as efficiently. This is one of the reasons your Opal nugget ice maker can stop making ice.

The Opal has two sensors, they are small and look like small glass beads that have been sliced in half. The sensors are located at the entrance of the ice chute. One sensor is small and clear, while the other is very dark in color but similar in size.

  • Using a cotton swab soaked with a little white vinegar gently rub the surface of the sensors. Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners.
  • Once the sensor is clean, repeat with fresh water and then dry each sensor with a soft cloth.

Cleaning the Exterior

You can clean the exterior of the Opal whenever you feel it needs it. 

Simply unplug the ice maker and wipe with a soft cloth soaked in a little soapy water. 

Do not use appliance wax, polish, solvents or chemicals on the stainless steel. You can use a stainless steel cleaner to clean the outside of your Opal if you like.

Finish by gently drying with a soft cloth for a lovely shiny finish. 

Cleaning the Ice Bin

The ice bin can be cleaned whenever required and is super simple to do.

Remove the ice bin from the ice maker and empty any contents. Using a soft cloth dampened with soapy water give the inside a good wipe down. 

I recommend hand-washing only, don't be tempted to place it in the dishwasher as this may damage the bin. Also avoid solvents or chemicals as this may taint future ice. 

Rinse thoroughly and then dry with a soft cloth.

Cleaning the Drip Tray and Scoop

Sometimes mineral deposits form on the surfaces which are in contact with water, like your drip tray and scoop. These deposits can be removed by using distilled vinegar. 

When cleaning white residue or marks on the drip tray, pour vinegar directly into the tray and let it soak overnight.

It is easy to prevent calcium or mineral deposits by wiping dry your drip tray after each use.

Again, I recommend hand-washing the drip tray and scoop, do not place it in the dishwasher to avoid breakage.  Also avoid solvents or chemicals as you would not want any of this to be accidentally ingested. 

Cleaning the Side Tank

Before cleaning the side tank you must drain it fully.

I recommend giving it a hand wash with mild dish soap and warm water. Don't forget to remove and wash the side tank's cap and valve with warm, soapy water too as this can get mucky. 

Disconnect the drain tubes from the Opal and side tank near a sink or bucket to drain water so you don't soak the floor or countertops.

The base can be washed by disconnecting the hose and adding a small amount of soapy water to it. Be sure to rinse the soap from all components before replacing the side tank and re-connecting the drain tubes.

Again do not wash any of the Opal's components in the dishwasher.

If you're noticing any mold, mildew or algae growth or slime on the inner walls of your side tank or in the tubes leading into your Opal Nugget Ice Maker check out the video below for instructions on how to give these parts a deep clean:

There your system is totally clean, want to know how long it will take before the Opal starts to make ice?

Cleaning The Upper Fill Tank

The upper fill tank isn't something you want to clean every week but over time it will build up some mold or mildew and you'll want to clean it to ensure you have the best tasting ice possible.

This process does require you unscrew some parts so it's more difficult than other cleaning methods, but with care you should be able to do this fairly easily.

  • Unplug the side tank and drain the water out of your Opal
  • Unscrew and remove the top cover from the Opal (you'll need to remove rubber guards to access the screws). Make sure to remove the top carefully as there are wires connected to the top that you don't want to damage.
  • Remove 2 side screws to gain access to the upper water fill tank
  • Remove 3 screws from the ice chute cover and remove this cover and place to the side. It is also worth giving this item a good clean while you are at it.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose particles and debris
  • Remove the upper water tank cover making sure to be mindful of the sharp thin edge along the backside panel
  • Plug the water tank with a small cloth and pour in distilled white vinegar and leave to soak for a white
  • Use this time to clean around the hard to reach edges of the ice chute with a q-tip soaked in vinegar as well as cleaning the top of the ice chute.
  • After soaking drain the fill tank and use a paper towel or cloth to wipe away any leftover residue in the upper tank. It can be tricky to clean effectively as the upper fill tank is quite small.
  • Now replace everything in reverse order and flush the system, rinsing it 3 times before using it to make ice again.


The system itself requires weekly cleaning which can be achieved using a mixture of bleach and water and running a cleaning cycle. This mixture will need to be thoroughly rinsed from the machine before use. 

More intense descaling needs to be carried out every six months if you have not used distilled water to produce ice. Descaling requires the system to be soaked in white vinegar for 18 hours to remove the mineral deposit buildup effectively. 

Most of the cleaning can be achieved with a soft cloth and soapy water, such as the exterior, ice bin and scoop. Though any tough white deposits may need to be doused with vinegar too. 

With so much maintenance required, is the Opal Nugget Ice Maker worth the money