Ice from the refrigerator’s icemaker is supposed to be an easy way to freshen up a beverage. So what could it mean when your first sip reveals that your ice smells and tastes bad…and ruined your drink?

Why Your Ice Smells and Tastes Bad

When your refrigerator ice tastes bad there are several possible causes. We’ll troubleshoot them below so you can figure out why you have ice that smells and tastes bad and what you can do to fix it. Then we’ll review how to clean an ice maker so you can properly maintain it.

Food Odors

Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with your refrigerator’s ice maker or even the ice itself. It’s the food in the refrigerator or freezer that’s the problem. Old food, unknown spills, or open food containers emit odors that are absorbed by the ice. This creates a situation where ice smells and tastes bad.

Solve the problem by removing old food from the refrigerator or freezer, cleaning up spills, and making sure all food is properly sealed. Wipe down the refrigerator shelves and inside the freezer with a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water. Leaving a small open container of baking soda in the freezer or refrigerator can help absorb odor going forward.

ice smells and tastes bad

Image from One Fat Frog

Old Ice Cubes

If you don’t use the ice in your icemaker very often, it can actually grow old and taste stale. You may even notice that the ice maker smells like mildew, which happens when old, unused ice is exposed to food particles and develops mold.

In this case, the solution is to throw away all the old ice, remove the ice bin and wash it with soap and warm water, soaking it in the water if needed. When it is completely dry, reinstall the ice bin and test a fresh cycle of ice.

Water Filter Needs to Be Replaced

Another reason your refrigerator ice smells and tastes bad could be a clogged water filter. The refrigerator’s filter cleans its water of particles and even odors. An old, clogged filter can’t properly do its job and these particles and odors will transfer to your ice. Because the ice maker has separate mechanisms that are independent of the water system, the ice tastes bad but the water is fine.

Most manufacturers recommend changing the ice filter every six months. If it’s been this long, replace your filter. Our blog on the problems caused by clogged water filters has even more helpful info.

refrigerator ice tastes bad

How to Clean an Ice Maker

It’s always a good idea to clean your ice maker when you replace the filter or if your ice smells and tastes bad. This can be done in a few quick and easy steps:

  1. Clean each reachable part of your icemaker thoroughly with a clean cloth or sponge soaked in soap and warm water. Use a toothbrush dipped in the water to gently scrub hard-to-reach places.
  2. Remove your ice bin and wash it in the sink with warm soapy water.
  3. If you choose, disinfect the ice bin by wiping it down with a cloth soaked in a solution of water and bleach (2 teaspoons bleach/1 gallon water).
  4. Make sure the ice bin is completely dry before replacing it in the freezer to avoid freezing and cracking.
  5. Dispose of the first batch of ice after cleaning in case any cleaning solution remains.

Oak Valley Appliance has over 40 years of experience as Lancaster’s number one refrigerator repair service. We’re happy to help, so give us a call today!