It’s true that water comes with no expiration date. But what about ice? Ice is just the solid state of water, but does ice go bad?
We know what you’re probably thinking: As long as the ice is kept in the freezer, it’ll probably never go bad. Well, guess what? Ice can definitely go bad!
This article will tell you everything you need to know about how ice can go bad, as well as how you can prevent ice in your freezer from getting spoiled.
How Does Ice Go Bad?
Water doesn’t really spoil or come with a shelf life, but as soon as it gets contaminated with germs or other harmful pathogens or contaminants, it will end up getting spoiled. There are various instances where this can happen.
Stale Air in the Freezer
Stale air can be a result of food that has been in your freezer for a long time, food spoilage, mold, or moisture buildup. If you store ice in a freezer that has stale air, you can expect that the ice will go bad and will eventually become contaminated.
Another reason why ice becomes spoiled is due to the water that has been used to make the ice. Chances are that the water you are using to make ice is already contaminated with bacteria and germs. So, if the water has contaminants or pollutants present in it, this will result in contaminated ice as well.
Dirty Ice Makers
It is true that a cold environment doesn’t really promote the growth of pathogens and other bacteria, but if contaminated and unhygienic ice makers are used to make ice, this will definitely result in bad ice.
Plus, if there are other substances present in the air, such as sugar, grease, or yeast, these food particles can easily accumulate in the ice maker, which will lead to mold and slime.
Most ice makers feature plastic tubes. If these tubes get clogged, it will result in bacterial growth, leading to stale ice over some period of time.
Can Ice That Has Gone Bad Make You Sick?
Yes, it’s a scary thought.
But, let’s get one fact straight: Having spoiled or contaminated ice will certainly make you sick. The main reason people get sick from ice is because of the presence of harmful bacteria, contaminants, and other viruses.
Such contaminated ice can be affected by bacteria and viruses such as salmonella, E. coli, and shigella, which can survive and grow in freezing temperatures. This can result in food poisoning and many other food-borne illnesses.
Because of these reasons, it is incredibly crucial to ensure you don’t have spoiled ice lying around in your freezer.
How to Keep Ice From Going Bad
The good news is that there are various ways you can prevent the ice in your freezer from going bad or getting spoiled.
Regularly Clean Your Ice Makers
It is always a wise idea to clean your kitchen often. This includes your ice maker as well.
Regularly cleaning your ice makers can hinder the growth of bacteria or other pathogens that might be present.
The easiest way to clean your ice maker is to use equal parts of water and vinegar. Thoroughly wash the walls of the ice maker until no residue is left.
It’s ideal to clean your ice maker twice a year, but if there is any presence of dust or other food particles in the air, then cleaning the ice maker more frequently is encouraged.
Seal Ice in a Resealable Bag
Another top tip to ensure the ice in your freezer does not go bad is to seal the ice cubes in a resealable bag, and then put them in your freezer.
If you want to make the extra effort, remove any excess air from this resealable bag. You can do this with the help of a vacuum sealer if necessary.
Clean the Ice Trays
If you are making ice at home by simply freezing water in ice trays, you must make sure to clean these ice trays often enough to hinder bacterial growth.
Remove Odors From the Freezer
Discard any old or questionable food you might have in your fridge or freezer. The second step is to remove the odor from such foods.
To remove odors, detach and remove the shelves and ice trays from your freezer and thoroughly wash them under hot running water and soap. Then, dissolve a sizable amount of baking soda in hot water, and use the solution to clean the interior of your refrigerator or freezer. Leave the door open for several minutes to allow air circulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if ice has gone bad?
The first indicator of bad ice is that the taste may seem off. There will also be an unpleasant odor.
How can I keep the air in the freezer fresh at all times?
The best trick to keep the air fresh and clean in your freezer is to place trays of activated charcoal or baking soda on the shelves of the freezer. This will help absorb any odor that may be present in your freezer.
When should I discard unused ice cubes from my freezer?
We highly recommend discarding ice cubes that have been lying around in your freezer for more than a month. This will eliminate the risks of bacterial contamination that might make their way into the ice cubes.
So, does ice go bad? Yes, but only if it is exposed to external contaminants or germs that it can get from stale air, dirty ice makers or ice trays, the presence of mold or mildew in your freezer, and so on. But, by following the steps we mentioned above, you will never have to worry about contaminated ice again.