You can note general procedures for cleaning and operating most soft-serve devices, but for information on your model, refer to your user manual.

Wash your hands thoroughly to start. Switch off the machine and wait for the softening of the existing product. Engage a clean bucket with the draw valves and drain product. (You might be able to put it back in if the product is still fresh; check local health codes for specifications. Throw it out if in doubt.) When the machine is empty, pour cool water into the hoppers and clean thoroughly. Drain the water and clean out the hoppers with the entire residue.


Leakage of ice cream or other dairy products create a bacterium that has the uncanny ability to find its way into the back of units. It adds to an unforgiving odor. This sludge will gum up mechanical parts or spill on controls and relays without routine maintenance of the machinery, eventually leading to the machine breaking down and losing revenue. Avoid this problem by periodically sanitizing the machine properly.

To stop food contamination, health codes require the sanitization of soft-serve devices. During the entire month, some states require you to test for bacteria. Usually, sanitizing these devices requires an extra rinsing phase with a sanitizing agent approved by the manufacturer. Requirements review local health codes.

Restocking & reassembling

Take a few minutes before reassembling a soft-serve system to lubricate those components. This usually involves any moving components within the unit and the handles and pins that hold them in place. The user manual will instruct you about the proper lubricant and where it should be applied. Be sure to use a sanitary, food-grade lubricant. To ensure the parts move and seal properly, this is a crucial step.

Some mistakes you should Avoid

Service technicians tell us that when it comes to soft-serve system fixes, they experience the same ‘issues’ repeatedly. Some are easy to prevent. A few to be mindful of are the following:

Losing parts while reassembling the device, such as gaskets or O-rings. Train the workers to collect all the parts either in the manufacturer’s supplied parts mold or in a plastic tub of some kind.

Not going through the phase to prime the piece. It induces freeze-ups in the barrels and prevents the flow of the soft-serve.

Not providing enough space for the machine to ventilate. The compressor needs to work harder to sustain temperature if the system does not distribute its hot air, and it will wear out sooner.