Frozen Dessert Success

The In's & Out's Of Cleaning Your Pressurized Frozen Dessert Machine

Posted by Doug Lang

Dec 18, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Every machine needs to be maintained and cleaned.  That’s why one of the largest parts of most manuals is ‘Cleaning & Maintenance’.  Simple steps keep machines running at optimal performance and help you avoid costly repairs.  Your car needs its oil changed, filters replaced, etc….  Power tools need to be kept clean and lubricated. There’s a “Clean” setting on your oven for a reason – you should be using it regularly.  The same is true for your Frozen Dessert Equipment, even more so when you consider it’s also a source of revenue.  Proper cleaning and maintenance will save you money in product, the life of your machine, and the embarrassment of your machine clogging up when you’re trying to serve your customers.  So, setting aside a little time each week is well worth your while - consider it an investment.


The cleaning process for your pressurized frozen dessert machine can be broken down into 3 main steps:

  1. Flushing – The breakdown of all removable parts, and flushing the machine with water and sanitizer.
  2. Cleaning of Parts – The separate cleaning of all removed parts in the sink ALWAYS using proper “Wash, Rinse, Sanitize” procedure.
  3. Reassembly & Priming – The reassembling of removable parts and putting product back in the machine.

Following these steps once a week can ensure a long, productive life for your equipment.

NIGHTTIME mode is the easiest and quickest way to clean your machine as the product in the machine is merely being refrigerated and liquefies.  So, when you first get in in the morning is the ideal time to clean your machine(s).  During the day the ice cream product is frozen, and it will require more time to clean.  If you do clean during the day, the excess product in the machine should be saved and used for such novelty products as ice cream sandwiches.


The better you initially flush the machine, the easier the rest of the cleaning process with be.  Start by removing the mix tanks from the refrigerated cabinet.  Pour ice cream product into clean containers and place into walk-in or separate refrigerator.  If the product has the same day code, you can use it to prime/startup the machine later.  The tanks, lids and mix probe should be cleaned in a sink (Wash, Rinse, Sanitize) and set aside to air dry.  At this point place an empty “slop” bucket under your nozzle, set the machine to CLEAN, and remove the air relief valve to release pressure with mix pump on to help flush the system with air.  Remove the plunger and pull handle to release all remaining product from the machine – you are now ready to flush.

Flushing is basically the process of filling your machine with water instead of ice cream and then “flushing” it out to remove any excess product left behind.  So where you would have your ice cream in the cabinet, place a bucket of warm/cool water (never hot as the machine is cold).  Keep your slop bucket under the nozzle, open the air relief valve, and turn mix pump on.  The water will fill the dispensing head.  When water starts coming out, close the relief valve and allow pump to continue filling (approximately 30 sec – 1 min.).  If you don’t hear the pump running, check underneath – if the pump cover is off it won’t run, this is one of the safety features of the machine.

The pump will automatically shut off due to pressure.  Manually turn the mix pump off, turn machine to CLEAN, and allow the machine to run in this mode for a couple of minutes.  Open the air relief valve to release air and then pull handle to drain water.  Initially it will be cloudy with product – allow liquid to drain until water runs clear.  Remove the water bucket from the cabinet, and continue draining the remainder.  While draining, you can mix up your sanitizer which will help remove any remaining milk stone or product in your machine.  Be sure to use a food grade sanitizer that’s also a milk stone remover to ensure the removal of any butterfat and product from your parts, making cleaning them in the sink easier.  It is very important to use the appropriate quantities of water and sanitizer, and to mix them well – otherwise you’ll just be flushing with water again.

Your machine should now be completely drained.  Return handle to upright position, close air relief valve, and return switch to NIGHTTIME.  The initial flush is complete.  You will now repeat the steps using your sanitizer in place of the water to finish the Flushing process.  Once the sanitizing flush is complete, remember to start at the beginning for the other side, and go through both the water and sanitizing processes

Cleaning of Parts

In order to clean your parts, you’re going to have to remove them first.  There are 3 main groups of parts that need to be removed, cleaned, and air dried:

  1. Dispensing Head – The black unit that sits on the front of the unit with the handles and air valves.
  2. Cylinder Parts – Located behind the dispensing head, includes bushing, beater shaft, and beater blades.
  3. Pump Assemblies – From the refrigerated cabinet, includes mix cane, pump cover and hoses.

When removing parts, be sure to set all parts aside in an organized, logical order to make it easier to clean and reassemble.  All of these parts need to be cleaned in the sink by washing, rinsing, and sanitizing.

Dispensing Head

First remove the push rods above the handles by pushing up and letting fall.  There are four knobs that hold the head in place, unscrew them one at a time, and then gently rock the unit until loose and pull it straight out.  Then remove the handle pin to release the handles.  Remove the plungers, the air relief valves, and the star caps.  Remove the O-rings from the plungers and valves using the O-Ring tool provided with the machine.  Any petroleum jelly needs to be wiped off any pieces with a paper towel.

Cylinder Parts

There are two cylinder located behind the dispensing head.  Remove the bushing at the end of the each cylinder (looks like a Mercedes symbol).  At this point you’ll be able to peer into the cylinders, and see how well your flushing went.  Pull the beater shaft out one at a time and remove the beater blades.  You’ll also need to remove the shaft seal from the end of the each shaft.  Be sure to remove any petroleum jelly from the beater shafts and shaft seals using a paper towel before cleaning.  

Pump Assembly

Place an empty bucket in the bottom of the cabinet and place the mix cane in it.  Remove the pump cover and place in the bucket.  Open the swing arm and remove the transfer hose.  Unscrew the clamp on the braided hose and remove from mix transfer line – allow any water/residue to pour into bucket.  Finally, remove the air hose and take entire pump assembly to the sink.  Repeat these steps for other side.  Pump assemblies must be broken down, and each piece & hose washed individually.

Clean all disassembled parts in your sink always utilizing the brushes that came with the machine.  These brushes were designed to fit in the hoses and to optimally clean the various parts and their different openings & grooves.  Wash all parts IN the soap water, not above, to ensure the removal of all product residue.  All parts should now be removed, disassembled, cleaned, and air drying.

It’s time to clean and dry the machine itself with a bucket of mild soapy water, clean sponge, and dry towel.  Start with the outer rim of the cylinders to remove any petroleum jelly that may be left behind.  Using the large cylinder brush provided, go in and out of each cylinder 3 times, rinsing in soapy water each time.  When cleaning with brushes, 3 runs - rinsing the brush each time - is the standard procedure we recommend.  Go below with the long narrow brush, and run it through the mix tube from the top of the cabinet up into the cylinder.  Return to the sponge, and wipe down the entire machine top to bottom.  Wipe down the refrigerated cabinet inside-out:  Back wall; mix pump and rollers; side walls; top and bottom; and finally the door, including the gasket pleats.  Your frozen dessert pressurized machine should be spic and span clean, dry, and ready for reassembly!!


If you listened, and kept all of your parts logically organized, reassembly is fairly easy.  For reference, use your manual with reassembly instructions and diagrams.  Also, use the included O-ring chart for proper positioning.  Once O-rings are in place, be sure to lubricate each with petroleum jelly – ALL O-RINGS MUST BE REMOVED, CLEANED, REPLACED & LUBRICATED EVERY TIME!

Cylinder Parts - Beater Shaft, Seal, & Blades

Apply approximately an inch of petroleum jelly at the back of the beater shaft and spread with finger.  Use excess to lubricate the inside of the cup seal.  Place seal on back end of shaft facing out, and remove any excess jelly.  Put the scraper blades on, flat sides out – the blades are non-reversible, so they won’t fit otherwise.  Also, try to reverse the blade ends each time to provide even wear and tear on each.  Insert shaft & blades straight into the cylinder, cup seal first, until it reaches the back, then turn it like your house key until you feel it lock into place.  Push the bushing into place in front of the barrel (to center the shaft) with an opening at the bottom.  Repeat for other cylinder.

Using same brush from mixing tubes, run it through the tube located under the dispensing head.

Dispensing Head

3 Head Plungers & 2 Air Relief Valves – There are two identical plungers, each with two O-rings – these are the outside plungers.  The third plunger has four O-Rings and is the center plunger.  Apply petroleum jelly the size of a pea to each O-Ring and spread with finger.  Insert each plunger into their respective slots in the dispensing head – they should move smoothly and easily up and down (if not, the O-Rings need to be replaced).  Use remaining jelly on fingers to lubricate the air relief valve O-Rings, and make sure they move smoothly in place as well.

Handles – Again there are two identical, outside pieces and one center.  Place each handle in their corresponding plunger opening, and push the plungers down.  Once all are in position, push the handle pin horizontally through the 3 holes until the spring loaded ball clicks into place.

Back of Head – Before placement there are two, large O-Rings on the back of the dispensing head.  Apply petroleum jelly the size of a pea on top and bottom of each.  Run your finger around each O-Ring until evenly applied, and there’s a sheen around each entire O-Ring.

Place the entire Dispensing Head squarely on the four posts, and screw on evenly.  A good rule of thumb is to criss-cross top and bottom knobs, 3 turns at a time until snug.  Replace the star caps, and three push rods (all same) by pushing up & into place – the handles should move freely.

Pump Assemblies

Starting with the mix cane, slide the air valve over the short curved end of the cane and hook it into place.  From there, the air line pushes over the horizontal end, and the air meter (#16) fits into place at the end.  The transfer hose aligns – red line to ‘I’ – on the vertical end of the valve and is clamped into place.  Place clamp on bottom of transfer hose, insert the braided hose nozzle and tighten.  Insert the black, duck-bill valve into the bottom of the mix pickup tube. And, finally, place the last piece clamp on the braided hose - to be tightened on the machine.  When laid flat the assembly should resemble the #2 with clamps facing outward for adjustments.

For installation, simply follow the diagram instructions on the back wall of the refrigerated cabinet.  With clamps above the mix pump and facing out, and the transfer hose red line facing out, push the braided hose onto the mix tube and tighten the final clamp.  Screw the pump cover into place, and repeat for the other side.

When all the parts are put back together, and your pressurized machine is whole again, run through the Sanitizing process again, leaving it on the CLEAN cycle for approximately 5 minutes.  As always, repeat for other side.  You are now in the homestretch. The light at the end of the tunnel should be visible and bearing down….


Place your removed product back into the clean mix tank, and into the cabinet.  Insert mix cane and place lid on top.  Put the mix probe in and plug into the back of the cabinet like a speaker jack.  The next part is the most important.  Be sure you have your slop bucket in place, open the handle and the air relief valve, and turn the mix pump on.  Remember your ice cream product is thicker than water, so it will push out any remaining sanitizer as it runs through the hoses to fill the dispensing head.  Allow the pump to run until pure ice cream is running into your bucket.  Shut the handle and allow product to fill until it comes out of the air valve.  Close the valve.  Repeat for other side.  Switch to DAY/AUTO mode and in about 10 minutes you should be good to go!

Now I realize this is all a lot to take in, and even harder to visualize, but I didn’t want to leave anything out.  This is just one reference point you can/should use as your cleaning guide.  Refer to your Manual, refer to the video series online, refer to your Sentry representative….  All are readily available and at your disposal.  Don’t hesitate to contact Sentry Equipment, we’re here to help.


 Sentry Equipment 800.853.8026

Click Here  for HELP with Cleaning Equipment

Topics: Soft Serve Equipment, Ice Cream Equipment, Cleaning, Electro Freeze, Washing