May 20, 2023

My Refrigerator Is Making Smelly Ice Cubes. What's Wrong?

To avoid the problem, clean your refrigerator's ice collection bin according to the manufacturer's instructions—or buy a more expensive fridge with a dual evaporator.

If your icemaker is producing smelly ice cubes, it’s very likely that you have a fridge with a single evaporator, which is common in most refrigerators. That means that in order to cool your food, air moves between the fresh-food and freezer compartments—and carries odors with it.

At CR, we’ve previously used a garlic test to drive the point home. Using a single-evaporator refrigerator, we filled the fresh-food compartment with garlic, made ice in the freezer, and found that the ice didn’t just smell like garlic (though it did)—it tasted like it, too.

To avoid smelly ice cubes, clean your refrigerator’s ice collection bin according to the manufacturer’s instructions; usually, a mixture of baking soda and warm water will do. Then put baking soda boxes in both the fresh-food and freezer compartments as close to the icemaker as possible. These will absorb food odors to minimize their travel into the icemaker.

Next time you shop for a refrigerator, consider upgrading to one with a dual evaporator, typically found only on more expensive fridges. That means the fresh-food and freezer compartments have their own dedicated evaporators, and no air passes between the two spaces, leaving your ice odor-free.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the May 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Daniel Wroclawski

I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).

Editor’s Note: