Informational Guide

How To Make Clear Ice

Learn how to impress your guests with crystal clear ice cubes and balls. See how to make clear ice with our complete guide.

by Josh Mitchell

Whether you’re a fan of a beautifully crafted beverage or you prefer your drink a little less watered down, making clear ice at home is a fun DIY project. 

This guide we have created will help you decide which method of making clear ice is best for you. You may even want to try them all!

The name clear ice isn't a mystery. It is exactly what you imagine: ice that is clean of particles, fog, and oxygen pockets. It is designed to be clear by the different processes we will provide for you below. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it actually provides the drinker with benefits that will improve the quality of their drink.

By removing imperfections -let’s go with the example of oxygen bubbles, the ice will stay frozen for a longer period of time because a solid cube of solely water molecules can better maintain lower temperatures. Enjoy your drink with the purest and safest water while also not diluting the drink as fast as regular ice!

glass

4 Methods of Making Clear Ice at Home

Boiling Water Method

The process of boiling water to make clear ice starts with boiling water in a large pot. It helps to place a lid on it (or aluminum foil) to prevent any debris from falling into your project and creating imperfections. By boiling the water, the minerals will be destroyed. These minerals and debris are what create fog in ice cubes.

After boiling the water once, we then recommend letting it completely cool before boiling once more. Waiting until the water is entirely cool is an important step because one thing that causes ice to fog is the tiny air bubbles that can form. This can happen if the water isn’t completely cool. You will want to transfer the water to its cube tray very carefully to prevent bubbles as well.

Top-Down Freezing Method

This process begins with the use of a small cooler. You will want to fill this cooler with four to five inches of warm water. We recommend filtered water. Make sure it isn’t hot, just warm. Then place this cooler in your freezer for 18 to 24 hours or until most of the water has frozen. The water beneath this frozen block will prevent the ice from getting cloudy.

Then we recommend placing the cooler upside down in your sink until the ice falls. You can also gently shake the cooler, but be careful it doesn’t come crashing down into the sink. Grab a towel and a large serrated knife. You will want to hold one end of the block with the towel, and when cutting the ice, you will want to lightly hack at the ice before sliding the knife back and forth until the ice snaps off.

We also suggest purchasing an ice pick if you care about the shape of your ice. This will give you the chance to get creative and shape your ice however you like. Lastly, you will want to store your cubes in a closed container and allow them to sit at room temperature for two minutes before placing them in a drink. This last step will prevent cracking.

Freeze In High-Temperature Method

The high-temp method begins with adjusting the temperature of your freezer to just below freezing. We recommend 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degree Celsius (most freezers cannot go below this temperature, and this is their lowest setting.)

Next, you will grab your mold or ice tray and fill it with tap or distilled water before placing it in the now adjusted freezer. You will want to leave this tray of water in the freezer for 24 hours to allow for a slow and complete freezing process.

The reason for this slow process is that the oxygen molecules need time to escape, and the faster the ice freezes, the less time these oxygen molecules have to escape. This slow freezing process will allow them to escape leaving you with perfectly clear ice.

Freezing the Bottom Method

The bottom-freezing method begins with salt. To get your water to freeze from the bottom to the top in your mold or ice tray, you need to take a few extra steps. Begin with mixing half a cup of salt with tap water in a baking dish. Then place the dish in the freezer for at least three hours.

This process actually lowers the already freezing temperature, making it even colder. Then you will place your ice tray or mold on top of the frozen saltwater. It will float there. Freeze this way until the ice completely sets, and it should be crystal clear after the impurities rise up and escape the ice.


How To Cut and Shape Ice?

Purchasing and using the right knife is an essential step if you’re going with a method that requires you to cut your own ice! Look for a knife with a blade that similarly resembles a saw. This knife is called a serrated knife. You want something with teeth.

Investing in an ice pick is a great idea, but not necessary. We recommend purchasing an ice pick for more control and to help create the shape of the individual cubes. Keep in mind that keeping the block of ice held at room temp for at least two minutes before cutting is important. This is called tempering.

Next, you will want to lightly swing the blade down onto the center of your block of ice. You just want it to barely grip the ice so that you can’t move the blade side to side. Then hold down the block with an ice pick or a towel and begin sawing the ice backward and forwards until you saw through completely.

You will keep doing this until you’ve finished cutting all your cubes! It’s that easy.

ice cubes

Making Clear Ice Using A Home Ice Maker

Clear ice from a machine sounds like an impossible achievement without having the kind of time and money that allows you to filter all the water in your home. But surprisingly, these impressive little ice machines actually have a much more simplified method.

The water that enters the machine will slowly pour into the ice molds evenly, but first, they run over chilled coils that actually remove air bubbles, debris, and any imperfections. This way, you can skip the distillation process and time consuming boiling steps, saving you both time and money.


People also Ask (FAQs)

How do you make clear ice balls?

There are circular ice molds you can purchase online. There are many different sizes and helpful methods to choose from.

When are ice balls better to use than cubes?

Sphere shaped ice actually melts slower because it covers less surface at the bottom or on the side of the glass. So if you want to keep that ice frozen longer, this is when you should go for ice balls!

What type of water makes clear ice?

Any kind of water can be clear when poured properly. But we recommend boiled water, distilled water, or the process of reverse osmosis.

How long does it take for 4 inches of water to freeze?

Typically, your ice trays will freeze within three to four hours, so four inches of water may take longer. We recommend waiting 24 hours for methods such as the Top-Down Freezing Method.


Conclusion

Creativity is essential these days, and many of us enjoy creating beautifully crafted beverages with home made ice. So what better way to enjoy a classy drink than to make the perfect ice for it? Whether you’re using a tray or cutting your own ice, making clear ice is a fun way to create your own at-home science project.

Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.

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