Great water quality doesn’t end with your drinking water. Filtered water also impacts how you get clear ice from your ice maker! If you want to improve the quality of all your chilled beverages, you need to give your freezer a little attention, too.
Mastering Ice Cube Science
Are the ice cubes in your lemonade, iced coffee, and cocktails living up to your standards? There are two main qualities of good ice cubes: Clarity and a clean taste. These attributes tend to go hand-in-hand. It’s hard to have delicious ice when it looks super cloudy. But it’s also tricky to get clear ice cubes when your water quality is poor. Knowing how to combat these issues will give you better cubes every time.
1. Directional Freezing
You might notice that the center of your ice cubes is particularly cloudy. This is because objects freeze from the outside-in. With filtered water, you probably only notice this at the center, since this part is the last to freeze. But with hard water or water with lots of dissolved minerals, your entire cube would look cloudy!
To better understand this, it helps to think of icicles. Because icicles form in layers (instead of freezing gradually all at once) they naturally have less air inside them. Less air, means less cloudiness. Commercial ice makers freeze in layers to mimic this process. That’s why fancy restaurants have those crystal-clear cubes.
Other steps for getting clear ice cubes at home include boiling the water a couple times to release the air. But unless you really have your heart set on super clear ice, you might as well skip this step. There’s an easier way to get good ice cubes—and it doesn’t involve any additional effort on your part.
2. Water Quality
The type of water you use in your ice cubes is the single biggest factor in determining their overall quality. We’ve all had dirty-tasting ice before, and its aftertaste can ruin any drink. As with any recipe, you’ve got to work with high-quality ingredients if you want a great result. For ice cubes, that comes down to water.
Assessing drinking water quality is a multi-step process. For water clarity, your main focus should be on its Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). This measurement relates to the amount of minerals in your drinking water. A high count can lead to bitter- or salty-tasting water. (Not to mention hard water deposits on your fixtures.) High TDS ratings are typically found in tap water, whereas low mineral counts come from filtered water.
This article compares ice cubes made from different types of water. Not surprisingly, the tap water (measuring at 107 ppm for the TDS meter) made ice that was much cloudier than the cubes made from water filtered with reverse osmosis (RO). Because the RO water only measured at 15 ppm for TDS, it’s safe to say that filtered water makes cleaner—and clearer—ice cubes!
Filtered Water for Better Cubes
The other great thing about filtered water for ice is that the filtration process can remove the chlorine found in plain tap water. Chlorine-free water is definitely the best option when you want clean-tasting and clear ice. With reverse osmosis, you can basically guarantee that you won’t have any chlorine, dissolved minerals, or other contaminants getting into your drinking water. When you make your ice with RO water, you’ll be getting a better beverage every time.
Having a home RO filter is easy because the systems fit right under your kitchen sink. They even come with their own sleek faucet so you can separate your drinking water from your regular tap water. For automatic ice makers, you can even have your filtered water hooked up to your freezer itself. That way, you don’t have to fill up your ice cube trays at your reverse osmosis faucet. Talk about a sleek setup!
With a little help, you can get filtered water fed directly into your ice maker. Just talk to your local soft water company to help you out. That way, you’ll never have to wonder if your ice is clean. Since it’s made with RO water, you’ll be able to taste the difference!