Metal ice cube trays are making a resurgence as people try to move away from plastic as much as possible and find eco-friendly and healthier options for food storage.
While metal ice cube trays have been around for years they have only recently become popular and so it's normal to have questions or concerns about these products. What are they made from? Are they safe to use and how do they work?
I recently bought a metal ice cube tray myself and I love it. Here are some answers to people's common questions about metal ice cube trays.
Metal ice cube trays are usually made from stainless steel, and they are entirely food safe. They are durable and safer than plastic or silicone ice cube trays, but they are much more expensive. Metal ice cube trays are very safe to use, but they can be more difficult to use.
Metal ice cube trays are becoming increasingly popular, but they are more challenging to use as well as being more expensive than basic plastic ice cube trays. Is the extra effort and expense worthwhile? Are metal ice cube trays better than other varieties? Are metal ice cube trays safe to use? Let’s find out!
What Are Metal Ice Cube Trays Made From?
The most commonly used ice cube trays are those that are made from silicone or plastic, but metal is an alternative ice cube tray material that is becoming increasingly popular. Which metals are used to make this type of ice cube tray?
Almost all metal ice cube trays are constructed from kitchen-grade, 18-8 food-safe stainless steel. This material is 100% toxin-free and is an excellent material for this application.
There are metal ice cube trays that are made from other metals, such as aluminum, but they are far less common and it would be clearly stated in the product description if they were made from aluminum.
There are several varieties of metal ice cube trays on the market, but most seem to be the exact same product just with different branding.
For this reason I recommend the Vintage Kitchen Metal Ice Cube Tray (at Amazon) as it's the most affordable metal ice cube tray option but looks identical to other brands. Alternatively the Ecozoi Dual Pack with stand is the best option to have 2 metal ice cube trays stack on top of each other.
Are Metal Ice Cube Trays Safe?
Metal ice cube trays are typically made from kitchen grade 18-8 stainless steel, and some people may be concerned that storing ice that will be consumed by humans in a metal like this can be harmful to their health. This leads us to wonder if using metal ice cube trays is safe?
The truth is that there is always a risk of some minerals or compounds leaching into food or drinks that are stored in metal containers, and the same risk is present in metal ice cube trays.
However, the good news here is that the chance of these minerals and compounds leaching into food or drink stored within stainless steel is very, very small. Plus even if they do the risks to your health is EXTREMELY SLIM.
I personally researched into whether or not Hydro Flask stainless steel bottles cause cancer or other issues and from my research stainless steel seems like a very safe material to use for ice cube trays. Certainly safer than plastic.
If you're placing hot or boiling water into your ice cubes trays (maybe as a way to make ice faster) then plastic will almost certainly leach harmful chemicals into your ice. However, under the same circumstances stainless steel ice cube trays aren't likely to leach.
Remember stainless steel is used in everything from cook pots to fry pans to kitchen utensils, all of which are exposed to extremely high heats and we have no problems using them.
Using stainless steel in the freezer will always cool the metal down rather than heat it up. Water used for ice is not reactive with stainless steel, and so long as the metal is not rusted or damaged, the water or ice are not likely to cause any damage to occur naturally.
Even if the conditions are established for the metal to leach into the ice cubes in a metal ice cube tray, the materials that leach in are in such minute quantities that they are not harmful to humans at all.
All of this means that metal ice cube trays are safe to use for making ice and pose no possible threat to human health.
Are Metal Ice Cube Trays Better Than Plastic Or Silicone?
Metal ice cube trays are only one of the ice cube tray options on the market right now. Plastic and silicone versions remain the dominant ice cube tray type, but should they remain the most commonly used ice cube trays? Are metal ice cube trays better than plastic and silicone versions?
Metal ice cube trays are far less likely to leach chemicals into the ice that is made within them. These ice cube trays are also better for the environment as they are fully recyclable, and they generally do not find their way into landfills. However, these trays are significantly more expensive than plastic or silicone versions.
It is a well-known fact that plastic can leach chemicals into food and drink stored within it. Even plastics that are food-safe and BPA-free are susceptible to this issue, and this is why food should not be stored directly in plastic over long periods of time.
However, this effect mainly occurs when plastic is heated or when food or drink is stored within plastic for a very long time. Heating the plastic or long-term storage causes the plastic to be to break down, which is when the leaching of chemicals occurs.
This means that using plastic and silicone ice cube trays is safe to do so long as you use the ice soon after it is made and do not leave the ice stored in the trays for extended periods of time.
Metal trays are more durable and will last significantly longer as well, which usually justifies the cost of buying them.
All of this means that metal ice cube trays are better in some ways compared to plastic and silicone versions, but they are more expensive. These trays are less harmful to the environment, they last much longer, and they are more food-safe, but they do cost much more, and they are much more challenging to use.
Are Stainless Steel Ice Cube Trays Safe?
Stainless steel is the most commonly and widely used metal for metal ice cube trays, but this metal is not naturally occurring, and many fear that using it in applications such as making ice may be harmful.
It is true that stainless steel is made from materials that include chromium, nickel, and carbon, all of which can be dangerous, but stainless steel is also among the most stable and toughest of all metals, which means that it will take much more than water and ice to break it down into something can be harmful to humans.
Using stainless steel ice cube trays is perfectly safe and toxin-free, especially when used correctly. This article outlines some of the possible dangers of stainless steel but also proves that this metal is safe to use for this application.
What Is The Safest Material For Ice Cube Trays?
Ice cube trays are made from many various materials, but are there any materials that stand out as the safest to use for this application?
The safest materials that ice cube trays can be made from are silicone and stainless steel. Both of these materials are food-safe and toxin-free, and they are highly unlikely to leach any chemicals or compounds into the ice if used correctly.
The downside of silicone ice cube trays is that some silicone ice cube trays actually contain plastics that aren't disclosed and also they can get a white residue on them from dissolved salts in the water.
Plastic is regarded as not ideal for ice cube trays, as ice is often stored for a long time within a freezer, which may present an opportunity for the plastic to leach chemicals into the ice. However, if you're using cold water in plastic ice cube trays and not leaving the ice cubes in there for extremely long periods of time (or using extremely old plastic trays) then they shouldn't pose a big health risk.
Metal ice cube trays are among the safest and most effective ice cube trays on the market. They can be cumbersome, expensive, and sometimes difficult to use, but they are completely food-safe, highly durable, better for the environment, and they last for a very long time.
If you make a lot of ice, or if you make ice and store it for a long time, then consider using metal ice cube trays rather than other varieties. You will notice the difference, and your ice cube trays are very unlikely to break over time, which means you will be much more use from them as well.