Why Does My Ice Smell & Taste Bad?

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We hear this all the time, “why does my ice smell?”. If your refrigerator’s ice cube maker is producing ice that tastes bad or smells funny, here are possible causes and solutions:

Ice Tastes Bad Possible Cause 1: Dirty System Filter.


Replace the filter. Refrigerator water filtration system filters should be replaced at least every six months. Depending on usage, you may need to replace your refrigerator water filter more frequently. Read your refrigerator owner’s manual for instructions specific to your model.

It’s a good idea to stock up on filters to save time and money. Enter your refrigerator’s model number to find the manufacturer-recommended filter for your specific model.

Possible cause 2: Stale ice cubes

If you’re not often retrieving ice cubes, it could be that the old ice has absorbed odors from its food neighbors inside of your freezer or refrigerator. Food gases are easily transferred to water and ice. In fact, ice cubes can easily absorb odors from spoiled food inside your refrigerator’s interior compartment, which is why your ice smells bad.


Use ice cubes more frequently. Keep your refrigerator and freezer free of spoiled food.

Possible cause 3: Unhealthy water supply.

If your city or well-provided water is full of impurities, minerals, salt, or sulfur, your water, and in turn, your ice cubes, will have an unfavorable taste and odor. Here is what to do if you have salty ice cubes.


Make sure you regularly replace your refrigerator’s water filtration system’s filter.

If your refrigerator doesn’t have a built-in water filtration system or an in-line filter on the water line to your refrigerator, consider this easy-to-install refrigerator water filter kit. It will remove impurities and chemicals to improve water quality and taste.

Refrigerator water filtration kit

Hard Water Can Make Ice Cubes Taste Bad

Hard water may also be affecting the water quality. You can test for water hardness with these water test strips.  You may need a water-softening system. If you already have one in place, it may be using too much salt.  Consult your water softening system owner’s manual and adjust settings as needed.

Water quality test strips

Slight, but important tangent, since we’re on the subject of water filtration: Ever hear of reverse osmosis (a.k.a. hyperfiltration) water filtration? It’s the process that many water bottling companies use to reduce the amount of impurities and minerals in water. Today, there are such systems available on the market for residential use.  However, one should never connect a reverse osmosis filtration system to a refrigerator water supply – due to the possibility of reduced water pressure that can lead to refrigerator problems and expensive repairs.

Ice Tastes Bad

Possible cause 4: Improperly sealed food.

Fresh and old ice cubes alike will absorb food gases and odors, causing the ice to taste bad.


Regularly clean out your refrigerator and freezer, tossing out expired foods. Double wrap and bag products with weak packaging (this will also help prevent freezer burn). Use a freezer deodorizer that’s specifically designed to combat strong food odors and prevent ice from smelling bad.

Ice Cube and Freezer Deodorizer

We also use a refrigerator deodorizer in our refrigerator compartments, too.  According to the manufacturer, this refrigerator deodorizer  is 50 times more powerful than baking soda in keeping refrigerators smelling fresh. It lasts up to six months and keeps highly-perishable food like fruits and vegetables fresher longer. Check out additional freezer and refrigerator deodorizers and refrigerator deodorizers and cleaners.

Possible cause 5: Food spill / mildew growth.


Thoroughly clean the inside of the freezer and refrigerator using a solution of warm water and baking soda. The solution should be about one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water. Avoid using cleaning products with harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, as they may damage your refrigerator’s interior walls. Check your refrigerator owner’s manual for specific instructions related to cleaning and mold removal.

Related info

How to speed up your ice maker & get ice faster

How to fix an ice maker

What causes freezer burn?

Something broken? RepairClinic has free troubleshooting and repair help information for refrigerators and ice makers. Please enter your model number here for model-specific repair help and troubleshooting information.

If your ice tastes bad or smells, we have the right refrigerator parts and accessories to keep your fridge fresh.


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