How to Properly Clean and Sanitize a Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine

As a result of bad or worn seals, ice cream and yogurt contain a bacterial by-product that has an uncanny tendency to find its way into the bottom of the ice cream machine. This easily produces an unpleasant odour, and if the machinery is not properly maintained, the sludge will clog mechanical parts or spill on controls and relays, resulting in machine break-downs.

Cleaning a soft serve machine is tedious, but it is essential. Food safety should be a top priority for any ice cream-serving restaurant, both for the sake of consumer safety and profitability.


Tips for Cleaning a Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine

  • Specific cleaning and sanitizing materials designed for commercial ice cream machines should be used.

  • Develop a routine for cleaning ice cream machines – it can be as often as once a day!

  • Consider utilizing automatic commercial ice cream cleaning systems, which can help you avoid heavy lifting and save money on labour and water usage.

  • Employees should be well-trained and closely monitored to ensure that the machine is properly cleaned.

  • To avoid voiding your warranty, always obey the manufacturer's instructions and records.


Step-by-Step Cleaning Procedure

Most soft-serve machines have general cleaning procedures.


  1. To begin, you’ll need a pair of clean hands. Wash your hands thoroughly, while waiting for the existing ice cream mix to soften in the machine. Drain the product into a clean bucket using the draw valves.

  2. When the ice cream machine is clean, fill the hoppers with cool water and thoroughly rinse them. Drain the water and wipe the hoppers clean of any residue.

  3. To prevent running the scrapers without any kind of liquid lubrication when in wash mode, make sure to stop the machine between steps (such as between rinsing the machine with water and then following up with sanitizer). If your machine doesn't have a wash feature, consult your operator's manual for instructions on how to clean it properly.

  4. To sanitize the machine, follow the manufacturer's instructions and use a sanitizing agent that is approved by the manufacturer. Fill the hoppers with sanitizer, then run the system in wash mode for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the sanitizer from the unit and drain it. Wash the sanitizer out of the unit with water until it's been drained. Repeat the flushing procedure two or three times more.

  5. Tiny sections that can still harbour bacteria, such as star caps and cylinders, should be disassembled, washed, and sanitized. To get into the nooks and crannies, use brushes. Allow for a 10-minute soak time. Enable to air dry after rinsing with cool water.

  6. Since the machine can't distribute hot air, a clogged condenser filter may cause the refrigeration system to overwork in the process of controlling temperatures. Hence, it is important to keep the machine clean so as to prolong its lifespan.

Reassembling, Restocking Take a few minutes to lubricate some sections of a soft-serve machine before reassembling it. Any moving parts inside the unit, as well as the handles and pins that hold them in place, are usually included.


No cleaning Required with Swirl.GO



The Swirl.GO soft serve ice cream machine is a “nespresso-like” machine that features zero food contact, hence omits the tedious cleaning procedure of a usual commercial soft serve ice cream machine. Aside from the convenience that it provides, the Swirl.GO machine is able to dispense a full range of exciting flavours to satisfy the most discerning dessert-lover. Restaurant and café owners can unleash their creativity to create an enticing dessert menu for their customers.


Book a demo with us now! 😊