Glossy Booze: Mid-August Edition
Alcademics Giveaway: The Bubbly Bar

Does Refreezing Ice Make it Clearer?

I am trying a series of experiments to find the best and most practical way to make clear ice in my home freezer. Future experiments include distilled vs. tap water, boiled vs. not boiled, hot vs. cold water, different shapes of containers, etc.

For this experiment, I started with plain tap water. I then froze it, took a picture, let it thaw back into liquid, and repeated the process. 

The test was to see if freezing and refreezing tap water would make it become clearer on successive freezings (due to the release of oxygen trapped in the ice) each time. 

So did it become clearer? The short answer is No. The long and visual answer is below.




An index of all of the ice experiments on Alcademics can be found here.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I thought distilled was the only way to get clear ice? looking forward to the other experiments.

Camper English

I'm in the middle of the distilled vs. tap ice experiment now. Will report probably next week.

Steve Raye

OK, so I'm no Darcy O'Neil (and he's no Albert Einstein), but I gotta ask, "why you kept going after days 3, 4, 5?" Didn't Einstein say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Camper English

I'm just thorough. Don't impose your laziness on my experiment :)


there is a way to make it clearer without distilling. you need to freeze it slower. it might not be likecrystal but if you do it slow enough then you get less bubbles

Mr Manhattan

There are many variables which affect whether you get air trapped in the ice and/or the ice fractures (which is another phenomenon the causes cloudiness). I'm not sure it's possible to control enough of 'em to reliably make clear ice at home.

I'm waiting for some smart fellow with a Kold Draft machine to just start selling bags of cubes retail. ;-)


Degassing the water before freezing (pull a vacuum over the bottle of water and the air will bubble out like it's boiling) is another way besides the slow cooling.

A good description of other ways can be found here:

John The Bastard

The opaqueness comes from trapped air bubbles far, far more than ionization, so distilled vs non-distilled shouldnt make much difference. The colder the (liquid) water is, the more gas it can absorb, so boiling should give you some improvement. The air dissolved in the water should all be gone after several minutes of boiling. The problem there is that when you start cooling the water, it wants to start absorbing air again, so you want to keep the water sealed away from outside air once boiled. Thats sort of a pain. Pouring the still-hot water into your silicone (not plastic) ice cube trays and then covering tightly with foil should help, but don't expect perfect clarity.

The bubbles form because the air is forced out of the water as it crystalizes, but the outside crystalizes before the inside of the block, so the air has no where to go, except to form bubbles in the middle. You might try to find a way to freeze the ice from one direction. So if the cooling element is on the bottom of the container you're freezing, the ice will form on the bottom first and grow upward from there, rather than outside in. This way the air can escape out the top of the container as its forced out of the water. Most ice machines I'm aware of that make clear ice basically work this way. You might be able to pull this off if you wanted to set up a Peltier cooler in a refrigerator, or something, but expect that to do bad things to your electric bill.

An annoying, but cheaper, low-tech option is to free the air bubbles manually. Put the ice cube trays in the freezer, and every half hour, take them out to crack the layer of ice forming on the top of the cube so forced-out air can escape. My suspicion, though, is that it would be easier to go to the closest bar with a Kold Draft and beg for a bucket of cubes.

Mr Manhattan

@ John the Bastard: I agree with the last point. There's a real solution to getting lots clear and HARD ice and it's made by Kold Draft (and possibly other brands of ice machine of which I am not familiar). I remain surprised that someone hasn't gone into business selling Kold Draft cubes "to go" yet in markets like SF, Seattle, Chicago and NYC. I understand why a bar might not want to do this - on a slammed night they can definitely use all the cubes they can make - but you'd think a local commercial ice maker would go for it. Too bad all commercial bag ice is such shite.


RE: Kold Draft ice for sale.

Thought about that a while ago and depending on what kind of real estate I end up with for the store it's part of the plan.

Anyone know if any of the machines from Tales are still available? :-)


Interesting that day 4 is the most clear ice and then it gets cloudier again. Maybe 3 days is what works best if you gonna do this at home?


I meant four days;-)

Mr Manhattan

@Adam: I believe that the ice at Tales (not all of which was KD cubes) was delivered in bags from a local ice company with a machine.

Mr. Frosty

Everyone has pointed to Kold Draft but have they explained the reason why the cubes are so clear? The reason: The Kold Draft ice machines make ice in layers or sheets, which is how ice freezes. IF you really want clear ice you should basically follow that same principle. Pour a little bit of water in the trays at a time and repeat. Also think how an icicle on the gutter might layers...the same way. I've had success with making big cubes in a 13x9 sheet pan with a raised edge, you can then force a knife through the ice, and get bigger cubes, which are better for nice drinks!

Just me

The BEST way to make CLEAR ICE is bay boilling 2 times filtred water then freazing it.!/



I've tried using distilled, bottled, and tap water; and also boiling bottled water both once and twice before freezing it. I use silicon Tovolo perfect cube ice cube trays in a freezer that is old and not particularly awesome.

I've found that distilled water makes slightly clearer ice than tap water, but, there are still entrapped bubbles which render the ice cloudy, and you can get icicle fingers because of sudden freezing.

Boiling water once or twice reduces the amount of entrapped bubbles, but, it is a huge pain in the ass, and while the cubes are clearer, they are still somewhat cloudy.

I have also tried a couple more exotic ideas. I have tried layering (freeze small layers at a time, pour more water in after each layer freezes), but this did not work well for me; I ended up with visible striations in the cubes, and there was still a little cloudiness. I also had a friend rig up a circuit with a vibrator motor to vibrate the trays in the freezer, on the premise that maybe this would force bubbles to come out. (I know, I am kind of crazy.)

John the Bastard's explanation seems correct to me, and matches what I've read on-line in the more scientific sounding articles on this topic. This is the best photo documentation and link set I have found previously:

I look forward to further Alcademics experiments on this!

Camper English

Thanks again everyone for these awesome comments. My experiments continue, but at this point I'm no closer to my goal. Sigh.


In Chicago, Lang Ice distributes "Classic Cube" bagged ice. The cubes are clear and melt slowly. It's cheap and you can buy it at many supermarkets.

Ashlyn Wallace

I am doing a science fair project on " What is the tempurature of different ice clarity." if anyone can help at all, I thank you.


I am doing a science fair project on " What is the effect with the temperature on ice clarity." so... if anyone can help mail me back, and I thank you!

AshY lu lu

I heard that carbonated water freezes the clearest, so that would be a good source to use when doing a project on ice clarity. Is this fact or fiction??

John Eight Thirty-Two

1. No, Einstein didn't say that.
2. Einstein was not, in any case, an expert on mental-health issues.
3. The actual clinical definition of insanity is nothing like that.
4. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result is actually a much better (though still terrible) definition of insanity. Shit changes.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)