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Why can't I make reliably decent ice?

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Yesterday, I emptied both my plastic, twist-to-release ice cube trays and carefully rinsed them to make sure there were no little awful bits of cracked ice clinging in the corners of the compartments, then filled them with tap water and stacked them in the freezer. Today, when I went to empty them, one emptied perfectly, without leaving bits of cube clinging to the compartments, while the other left half the ice in useless, broken bits stuck tight to the bottoms of the compartments. Does anybody know why this is, or what I can do about it? It may not be an earthshaking problem, but it irks me.

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  1. Question: Was it the ice cube tray on the top of the stack that released perfectly?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Non Cognomina

      I think (but am not sure) it was the one on the top that released perfectly. I am pretty sure I didn't overfill the one under it, if that makes a difference.

      1. re: Marsha

        My guess is that the "under" one didn't come out cleanly. Even if you didn't "overfill" it, water will expand when it freezes. Ice made in plastic trays will have a little mound on the top of each cube because the top edges will freeze first, and then as the rest of the water solidifies it will push up through the "weaker" center. This may push the h2o up against the bottom of the other tray, causing fractures in the crystaline structure of the ice. When you try to pop the cubes out, they will separate at the fractures, making "broken bits" and irking you.

        My best advice: don't stack the trays.

        Give it a try and report back if it changes things.

    2. I really do think it's as simple as poorly-finished vs. finely-finished plastic. I've got an el-cheapo, and it does just the same, but my Rubbermaid releases cleanly every time. Trade up!

      1. Try running water around the outside of the trays before you twist them. The ice is cracking because it's fused to the tray. Warming the tray slightly will melt those bonds.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheryl_h

          Your exactly right, and it is the bottom tray...just let the tray sit out of the freezer from a minute or two and they should come out fine.

        2. Overfilling usually helps, not hurts, when I make ice, but it can vary according to the ice tray. And never twist the tray before the ice has frozen solid, of course. And putting warm water in the trays makes ice faster and clearer.

          1. Maybe you're using too much water.