Why Does My Freezer Ice Smell Funny?

Fred's Appliance
April 3, 2014

Do the ice cubes in your freezer posses a foul, pungent or otherwise unpleasant odor to them? It’s hard to enjoy a chilled beverage when it contains smelly ice. From the moment you first take a whiff, you’ll immediately be turned away from drinking it. And even if the beverage masks the foul odor, drinking it could lead to illness. Whether you have an ice maker or plastic trays, you must identify and eliminate the source of the odor.

When ice sits in the freezer for long periods of time, it can pick up and hold odors from surrounding food. If you have old meat, stews or other food stored in your freezer, there’s a good chance that it’s causing your ice to smell. This is especially true when the item is not stored in a sealed container, as the odors will escape and spread throughout the freezer.

A good rule of thumb is to use your ice within 3 days after it’s made. Allowing it to sit for any longer increases the risk of it catching odors from nearby food. In addition, you should also get into the habit of cleaning out both your freezer and refrigerator on a regular basis. This includes disposing of old food and beverages, and cleaning the shelves with an all-natural cleaning agent (avoid the use of harsh chemical-based products).

If you’re using a new freezer and/or new trays, you should wash the trays with mild soap and water. Some of the chemicals and materials used during the manufacturing process may still be lingering on the trays, creating an unusual odor in the ice. A quick hand wash in the sink will usually fix this problem, removing these elements from the cube compartments.

Ice makers should also be cleaned to ensure they aren’t harboring any chemicals, bacteria, mold, mineral buildups or other elements that could affect the odor of your ice. If your freezer has an ice maker, take it apart and wish it thoroughly using dish soap and water. Don’t just rinse the components, but actually scrub them down to ensure they are clean and free of mildew buildups.

Of course, the problem of smelly freezer ice could be directly related to your water line. Homeowners using well water may discover their ice smells like rotten eggs. This problem is typically due to the presence of sulfur gas running through the well. Homeowners on tap water systems may experience smelly ice from high concentrations of minerals and chemicals in the water. The easiest way to solve this problem is to create your ice from bottled water rather than well/tap water.

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