Integrated ice machines in most refrigerator/freezer combinations are convenient and easy to use. Unfortunately, they can also be vulnerable to some issues that may make your ice unpleasant to use. If your ice cubes have developed an odd taste or a strange odor, there are many potential sources. Here's a look at a few of the things you can check to identify the culprit.
Check The Water Filtration
Most refrigerators that dispense water or ice are equipped with a filter on the water line to keep the water clean. If the filter is dirty, it will lead to odors and odd flavors in the ice. You'll have to replace the water filter every few months to keep the water clean and tasting fresh. The filter is usually a small cartridge that attaches directly to the water line on the back side of the unit. You might need a small open-end wrench to remove the old one and install the new one.
You may also notice flavor and odor problems that arise due to contamination in your primary water supply. Whether it's a high level of sulfur, minerals, salt or other contaminants, if you're on public water, it can happen. Sometimes, refrigerator filters aren't enough to deal with this type of issue. A whole-house water filtration system is a good solution. If you have hard water, it can cause mineral flavors in the ice, so add a water softener to the system as well if your water tests positive for high mineral content.
Consider Contamination, Spills and Age
If the ice cubes in your freezer have been hanging out for a while, they can actually become stale. The longer exposed ice cubes sit in your freezer, the greater the chances are that those ice cubes might absorb flavors from the gases and odors released by food in the freezer. If you're not wrapping freezer foods especially tightly, this is a likely possibility. In addition, a freezer that is poorly maintained may actually cause a freezer burn effect on the ice.
Don't let ice cubes sit for more than a day or two without being used or replaced. In addition, consider adding an open box of baking soda to your freezer to help absorb some of those flavors. Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer in situations like this. Also, make sure that you frequently clean out both the refrigerator and the freezer to dispose of expired and damaged foods. Keeping up with things like this and keeping your freezer clean can help reduce freezer burn, odor and stale or aged ice cubes.
Even in the freezer, spilled food can be problematic. If you have food that's leaked or spilled in the freezer compartment before it actually froze completely, that contamination can lead to odors that are absorbed into the ice. If you haven't physically cleaned out the freezer in a while, you may find that something has spilled and needs to be cleaned out. Consider pulling everything out of the freezer and defrosting it. Then, clean the whole thing with a baking soda mixture to clean and deodorize.
Although having an ice maker can save you the cost of buying ice by the bag, it isn't without its questionable moments. If you're looking to resolve odors or off-putting flavors in your ice, these are a few good places to start. If these steps don't help or you can't resolve the issue on your own, you might find that you're better off reaching out to a local refrigerator repair technician who can not only identify the source of the problem but also help you establish a maintenance plan that can reduce your risk of further issues.