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Burning Question: Why Are Ice Cubes Cloudy in the Center?

When I pulled out the ice tray to make a whiskey lemonade over the weekend, I couldn't help but notice that the ice had a cloudy white spot in the middle of it. This prompted me to ask: why is it that some ice I buy at the store is crystal-clear, but the frozen cubes at home in my freezer appear murky and white in the center?

Ice cubes develop cloudiness when water is frozen quickly. As ice begins developing on the surface of water, certain gases can no longer remain dissolved and begin to surface as microscopic bubbles. An already-developed outer layer of ice traps all the bubbles inside the frozen cube. Another reason for the white color may be traces of calcium carbonate or impurities, which are small and flaky in appearance but are completely harmless.

Ice makers are able to achieve a clear, see-through effect by distilling water, then freezing it in stages, and by using a mechanism that allows bubbles to be washed away as ice cubes develop.

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Image Source: Getty
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wunami wunami 7 years
Yeah, the impurities make a difference. I can always tell the rare occasion that my housemate fills the ice trays. He always uses tap and I fill using Brita filtered water. Additionally, he usually overfills it and the cubes are all connected instead of individual cubes.
caramelqtee75 caramelqtee75 7 years
Thank you for this, I remember asking myself this very question one lonely night when I was totally drunk.
chancleta chancleta 7 years
I never knew. Thank you. I feel as though I've learned something scientific today.
misogi misogi 7 years
I've ALWAYS wondered about this!
cg130 cg130 7 years
wolfjinx25 wolfjinx25 7 years
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