How To Properly Clean Your Ice Cream Maker

Making homemade ice cream can be a great way to completely customize your frozen desserts. For smaller batches, you can shake up some sugar, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla in a mason jar, then freeze. Then, you can fold in any of your desired mix-ins, like chocolate chunks or nuts, and sprinkle on your favorite toppings. But if you find yourself making a lot of ice cream at home, an ice cream maker may be a worthwhile investment. 

To make every batch taste fresh and delicious, you must thoroughly clean the ice cream machine after every use. While a quick rinse with warm water may make your machine appear clean, a thorough cleansing is what's needed to make sure your sweet treats will be safely prepared in the future.

Before you begin cleaning, start by draining as much leftover liquid as you can from the freezing chamber. You can even reach in to grab some of the ice cream by hand to pull it out, so long as you take caution to avoid the churning blades.

Clean the machine's pieces separately

Once you've removed as much of the leftover ice cream as you can, you'll first want to flush the entire machine out with water. Use cold water to start, running it through continuously until the water is completely clear as it comes out. Then, use hot water to melt down any hidden ice cream.

After the machine has been flushed out, mix more hot water and dish soap together, and pour it into the machine. A food-safe cleaning solution can also be used. Many home ice cream makers have a wash cycle, which should be run while this soapy water mix is in.

Though the machine can be washed as a whole, individual pieces should be taken apart and cleaned, too. You can use a scrub brush and the soapy solution to thoroughly cleanse every part of the ice cream maker that comes in contact with the ice cream inside. Rinse them clean and allow them to fully air dry. 

A clean machine is a safe machine

Once your machine is clean, you should use a food-safe lubricant on the machine's components, ensuring that they can all move smoothly while the machine is in use.  Cleaning your ice cream maker will potentially prolong its lifespan, ensuring no buildup wears down the machine over time.

Keeping your ice cream machine clean is an important way to prevent bacteria from building up inside, too. Leftover dairy products hiding inside the machine could grow some harmful bacteria after just two hours, according to Undeniably Dairy, and even less time is required in warmer temperatures. TIME reports that because ice cream base goes into the machine before it's frozen, it's just the right temperature for listeria to cultivate. Even plant-based milks can cause issues. Careful sanitization of your machine can prevent the presence of the bacteria.

The next time you decide to make some homemade ice cream, don't be afraid to pull out that machine and mix up your own. Just be sure to carefully clean out your machine once you're done to ensure that all future batches are both sweet and safe to eat.