Life With Ice

Are You Eating Bad Ice?

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You read it all over the internet. People insist that ice maker ice will make you sick and that you should stay clear of it. Media outlets have given us the perception that all hotel and restaurant ice is dirty and should be avoided like the plague.

Is this true? Should you stay away from ice made by ice makers? Does ice go bad? Can ice make you sick? These are all questions that we set out to answer at Ice Maker Geeks.

We investigate all of the ways ice could potentially make you sick and help you fix the problem. We also crush some hyped up ideas concerning ice and ice makers that people believe.

We set out to answer that important question: are you eating bad ice?

We all love ice in our beverages, but it’s undeniable that our ice has to be clean and taste great. 

Adding bad ice to our drinks will destroy the flavor and ruin the entire experience. 

In this post, we’re going to take a look at our quality of ice and how we can give our guests, family, and ourselves the best ice possible. 

Does Ice Go Bad?

If you had ice in your freezer for a very long time, I have some good news for you and some bad news.

First the good news, ice is frozen water and water doesn’t spoil, you don’t have to worry about ice going bad.

At the same time, the old ice isn’t very good.

If you store ice in your freezer for a long time, then the taste may be a little off. The air in your freezer can become stale, and that spoiled air will begin to infiltrate your food. When you have ice cream in your freezer for a while, what flavors do you taste? You get all the flavors from the food in your freezer. 

Ice does spoil if it is exposed to the stale inside your freezer and will begin to taste like it’s friends. This means that when you grab some ice for a well prepared meal or set some ice out for friends and family, there is going to be an elephant in the room – this guy’s ice tastes terrible.

Can old Ice Make you Sick?

Any food can make you sick. 

As a food, if ice becomes contaminated with bacteria, then it can make you sick. It’s always important to know where the ice came from and if it’s been produced from clean water.

Most of the time, old ice just tastes really bad and spoils your beverage. Yet, it’s always good to be aware of the potential harm that can come from dirty ice. 

How Do You Keep Ice From Spoiling? 

I would start by making sure the ice is sealed in a resealable bag. This will keep the air and odors from seeping into your ice and destroying your beverage. 

If you want to go the extra mile in making sure your ice doesn’t spoil, you can remove all the air from the bag by opening the bag and immersing it in a large pot of water right up to the top of the bag. By doing this, you force all the air out of the bag. Then throw it in the freezer for storage.

A vacuum sealer would do the trick as well, but that’s probably way to much work for a bag of ice. 

The best way to keep your ice from spoiling is by purchasing a portable ice maker. This way, you always get fresh ice when you need it and can throw away the ice you don’t need. Every day you need ice, it’s continuously there to be used.

I have owned a portable ice maker for years now and wouldn’t have it any other way. When friends and family come over to visit, or when we host any social event, there is always enough ice to go around. We purchased the unit that produces 50 lbs of ice each day, so it’s plenty to meet all our ice needs. 

Another great reason for owning a portable ice maker is that your ice is always fresh, but you can take it with you because it’s portable (that’s why it’s called a “portable” ice maker).

Portable ice makers come in so many different sizes and produce different types of ice. They are super inexpensive and straightforward to set up. 

If you are concerned about your ice going bad, and want to make sure that your ice is always fresh. I recommend that you use freezer bags to store your ice, don’t save it for a super long time, or get a portable ice maker and produce ice on demand.

The Reason People Get Sick From Ice

The main reason people get sick eating ice is not spoiled ice but dirty ice makers. Dirty ice makers can make you sick! Often ice makers become so bacteria-laced that the ice becomes saturated with germs, viruses, and molds which is the real reason people get sick from ice.

To avoid this, you need to keep your ice maker clean. Whether you’re using a portable ice maker, commercial ice maker or a built-in fridge ice maker, maintaining a clean ice maker is going to prevent someone getting sick.

Steps to Keeping Your Ice Maker Clean

A simple step to cleaning your portable ice maker is to use equal parts of water and vinegar (1:1) to the water reservoir.

Wash the walls of the ice maker thoroughly and drain all the water.

does ice go bad?

Next, rinse the unit so that all of the residue of vinegar is gone and then let your unit air dry.

Making sure that your unit is clean is so important to serving pure, safe ice.

There are so many times that I have seen people make ice using a dirty ice maker – this isn’t wise for everyone involved. Keep your ice maker clean at all times.

Throw Away Ice From Malfunctioning Freezers

If for some reason your freezer is defrosting then we recommend that you throw the ice away and start making new ice.

When a built-in fridge ice maker is defrosting, liquids from other products can drip into your ice and create nasty ice and cause bacteria to grow – not mentioning destroying your ice. If you decide that you want to defrost your freezer or it’s malfunctioning – throw the ice away and start fresh when the freezer is at the proper temperature.

Dirty Ice Makers Grow Mold – Mold is Bad!

Portable Ice makers that have not been cleaned in a while will start to grow mold inside the water reservoir and inside walls. It’s essential, and I cannot stress this enough, to make sure your ice maker is cleaned regularly.

People often ask me how to keep mold from growing inside a portable ice maker and the answer is simple – keep it clean.

Dirty Ice Makers Grow Mold - Mold is Bad!

If you haven’t used your ice maker in a while or want to store it away, drain out of the water, wash down the walls and let it air dry. Portable ice makers are more prone to mold growth because they do not have a freezer that keeps the ice frozen.

Why Do Ice Cubes Get White over time?

Sublimation is evaporation, not a liquid, but a solid. Impurities inside the ice begin to emerge which causes ice to turn white and shrink. Though this is not bad for you, the remaining ice will pull in other impurities, odors, and flavors from its surroundings.

That’s why you should ditch that ice for fresh ice.

Your friends and family are always worth the extra time using fresh ice for the beverages that you serve.

Is Hotel Ice Safe to Eat?

This is the million dollar question. Everyone wants to know if ice makers in restaurants or hotels are safe to use or will they make you sick. Some bloggers on the internet and media outlets claim that ice from these places will make you ill and you shouldn’t use it.

is ice from hotel ice machines safe to eat?

It’s true that dirty ice makers could make you sick, and if a commercial ice maker is dirty, then the potential is always there.

It really depends on the maintenance of the ice maker and if it has been cleaned. The good news is that commercial ice makers have come a long way since invented in 1845.

Most commercial ice makers come with a new technology that kills microbes on every surface which the ice touches. This technology will kill flu, and cold viruses and prevents bacteria, mold, and yeast from growing on the ice maker. Also, many commercial ice makers have an automatic cleaning feature that runs on a schedule and ensure that the ice is always fresh.

Most ice makers produce clean ice and won’t make you sick. You have to be the judge at the end of the day. Take a look at the surroundings of where the ice maker is located and use that as a temperature gauge as to whether or not you should use the ice. My motto is if they do not take the time to keep around the ice maker clean, then chances are they haven’t opened it up and cleaned inside the ice maker. This is especially true of older units that do not have any auto-cleaning feature.


The bottom line is to make sure the ice maker is always clean and throw away ice that’s been around for a while. Ice makers are great and were invented to help us and not harm us. If your ice maker is used the way it is supposed to be used, then you will not have any problems.

Leave your comments or questions below and enjoy your ice.


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