What To Do If Your Ice Tastes Bad But The Water Is Fine

Everyone loves chilling during the summer with a cool drink. But this can quickly be ruined if the ice has a bad flavor.  This is exactly surprisingly common and something I've personally experienced.

It always sucks to have your drink completely ruined by weird tasting ice. But why does this happen and what are some of the best ways to solve this problem? 

If your ice tastes bad it is because it's absorbing flavors from the smelly food in your freezer OR FRIDGE or from flavors in the mold itself. Try cleaning the ice maker with vinegar and water, give your fridge/freezer walls and shelves a good scrub and remove or wrap foods in plastic. If ice is going to be in your freezer for a long time put it in an airtight plastic bag.

You don’t need to put up with foul-tasting ice. There are lots of simple things you can do to help you solve this issue. To find out what these are, read on. 

Why Might Your Ice Start Tasting Bad

One of the first things that spring to mind is that the water quality has been compromised. But this might not always be the case.

Sure in an ice maker the supply line could have some mold and that's definitely worth checking for but often we are making ice cubes with water directly from out tap which we know tastes fine.

If you’ve ruled out water quality as a potential source of the problem, here are some of the other causes to consider: 

  • Food odors. This is most common in ice that is formed in ice trays. 
  • The ice has gone stale. 
  • The ice maker is dirty. This can apply to anything that you use to make ice, including trays. 
  • Using the wrong cleaning materials.
  • Not cleaning the ice maker before you start using it. 

These are just some of the causes that you might want to consider exploring. Let’s take a closer look at some of the simple ways you can solve each of these problems. 

Getting Rid of Food Odors

This is one of the most common reasons why your ice has started to get a bad taste. Thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest problems to solve.  

As the ice is formed in the freezer, it can trap small molecules, like those that are present in the foods. This can be a problem in all types of freezers, though it will be most common for those that use single evaporator systems. These move the cool air from the fresh to frozen foods compartment, carrying the odors with it. 

This means that odors and flavors from smelly food in your fridge can move up into your freezer.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to solve this problem. If you use ice cube trays, you will can an option that comes with a lid. This will provide a barrier that the smell won’t be able to get through as easily.

Alternatively even if your ice trap doesn't have a lid you can make the ice cubes and then once made transfer them into a ziplock bag or other airtight plastic bag. This will keep out the foul odors if your ice sits in the freezer for some time.

Cleaning your fridge and freezer by removing any bad smelling foods and washing down the walls and shelves will also remove most bad odors and lead to better tasting ice.

If you are using an ice maker in the freezer, you will need to clean it out. We’ll discuss how you can do this a little later. Then, you’ll need to put a bag of bicarb soda in the fresh food section. While this sounds unusual, it will absorb the unpleasant odors, stopping them from interfering with the production of your ice. 

Stopping Stale Ice

Interestingly, ice can have an expiration date. If you leave it in the freezer for too long, there is the risk that it will attract mold and other bacteria. While you might not be able to see these small spores, you will be able to taste them. This isn’t just a bad flavor; it can damage your health. 

If you suspect that this might be the problem, there are some easy steps that you can use to solve this problem. This includes: 

  1. Remove the old ice and throw it away
  2. Wash the bin or tray
  3. Dry the bin thoroughly
  4. If the ice maker in your freezer was affected, you will need to run some vinegar through the water line. This will remove any traces of mold in the line. 
  5. Run the water until the taste of vinegar is removed
  6. Replace the bin and get back to making ice. 

Cleaning an Ice Tray

One of the most common reasons why you might have bad ice in your trays is that they aren’t clean. The good news is that this is a fairly simple problem to solve.

In most cases, you should be able to wash them in the dishwasher. If this isn’t possible, you will need to hand wash them. 

If you are using a silcone tray and feel it has absorbed bad smells and flavors then baking it in the oven for 30-60 minutes can actually cause many of the bad flavors to disappear.

Cleaning an Ice Machine

This is a more complex process. You’ll need to do it in a few steps. First, you’ll need to get the ice out of the machine. If you can, remove the bin and wash it in soapy water. If you can’t, wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

You should now be able to see the internal components. Some of these might be able to be removed. Take these parts out. How you should wash them will depend on the type of component it is. If it doesn’t have any electrical components, pop it into some soapy water and clean it with a soft cloth. 

If it does have electrical elements, carefully wipe it down with a damp cloth. Avoid getting any water near the electrical parts. If you are in doubt about how you should wash something, you can refer to the owner’s manual.

In most cases, this will improve the taste of the ice. Sometimes, dust and bacteria can build up on these elements. This is what is causing the ice to taste bad. Wait for everything to dry, then re-assemble the ice maker. If the ice still has an unpleasant taste, the issue is likely in the water supply line. Here’s how you can solve this issue: 

  1. Remove the water supply line, you might need to refer to the owner’s manual for tips on how to do this. 
  2. Flush the line with white vinegar. This will remove any bacteria. 
  3. Use warm water to remove the taste of the vinegar. 

It should be noted that you will need to do this when you get a new ice machine. This will remove the unpleasant plastic taste and smell that comes with these new devices. 

Once you have done this, you can clean the outside of the ice maker. This is a fairly simple task. All you need to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth. If it came with a scoop, wash this in soapy water. Depending on how often you use it, you’ll need to clean the ice maker once every six months. If the ice starts tasting bad, that’s your cue to start cleaning. 

Other Ways of Getting Better Tasting Ice

By now you should have a fairly good idea of how to get better tasting ice. Here are some of the things you can try if you are still having problems: 

  • Check the water reservoir. Sometimes, dust can get into the water container. This is an easy issue to change. All you need to do is replace the water. 
  • Check the filter. These will get clogged up with grime. Once this happens, it will no longer be able to filter it out and some of it might seep into the ice cubes. Generally, you should change the filter every six months. 
  • Avoid heavy-duty cleaning products. This can sometimes strip the copper off the wires. This can produce an unpleasant taste. If this has happened, there isn’t anything you can do to fix the problem. You’ll need to replace the machine. 

If the issue persists, you can check the warranty on the ice maker. If you are still covered, you can send it back to the manufacturer and get them to fix the defect. 

Final Thoughts

Getting funky-tasting ice is a sure-fire way to ruin your drink. While this is a fairly common problem, it is an easy one to solve. The issue might lie in the environment in which the ice is made. In this case, add some baking soda to the fridge to absorb any unpleasant smells. If not, the issue is with the ice machine itself. Cleaning it should remove the dust or bacteria that is making the ice taste bad.