Getting the smell out of silicone ice cube trays

Hi Hotliners,

I have some silicone ice cube trays, like the ones used at bars to make large, square ice cubes. The problem is these trays have a very plasticy smell, and the ice cubes take on the flavor, such that it alters the flavor of a drink when the cube melts fully. I have had these for over a year, washed them thoroughly in soap and water, but they still have the same smell and flavor.

It's worth noting that my normal ice cube trays don't have any issues, so it is an issue with the tray, not just "freezer smell".

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks so much!

Brady Klopfer


TomC December 28, 2018
I have three different brands of silicone ice cube trays. All of them leave the ice cubes tasting of chemicals, specifically petroleum/rubber. I have done a lot of experiments with blind tasting, distilled water, etc to no avail. The taste is always present. I am continually surprised that this topic doesn't come up on more websites. I wish I could find a remedy to the problem but, at this point, I am fairly certain there isn't a remedy.
Foxleigh H. October 28, 2018
I had this problem and tried everything - kitty litter, vinegar, etc. but those trays are silicone so... into the oven at 350 for 90 mins and the smell is gone. really works. you have to do it every so often but so what
Nance July 24, 2018
2 pars very hot water to 1 part cider vinegar. Somehow the cider works better than white for this application.
Ryan F. May 7, 2018
Since I believe mine are silicone based, I am going to try putting 1 or two of them into my oven around 200 to 250 degrees for 10 to 20 mins to see if that eliminates the odor. Will report back. Gonna try this because I used to work with some silicone products In the past and they can withstand high heat. If yours are rubber, I wouldn’t heat them. Thanks, Ryan F.
marc510 January 6, 2017
My silicone muffin pans picked up a lemony-soapy flavor from a run through the dishwasher, so the dishwasher-related advice isn't so helpful, but the other ideas will be worth a try. The muffins turned out pretty good -- no sticking -- but I had to cut off the crust lest they taste like soap.

Time for an alternative? Cast iron are probably too heavy to be good muffin pans (unless pre-heating is possible). Seasoned carbon steel from Mauviel?
sydney January 5, 2017
I commented on silicone earlier this week on a post when the subject came up. I suggested people look for the post and comments on kitchen silicone on the 'Wellness Mama' blog (sorry, don't have link but should be easy to find since I found it by googling 'silicone safety' or something).

I was interested because my silicone (a few different brands) smells of chemicals, and I had previously thought it was all safe. Turns out it's a gimmick like all gimmicks, that it's entirely unregulated, and the manufacturer's guidelines are really just to cover their liability in case of fires. The manufacturers are selling our wish for kitchen convenience, not kitchen health and safety. Nobody knows WHAT'S in those things.

I believe, based on reading and experience, that it's all leaching toxic chemicals into food and air (and when unstable plastic chemicals heat they are highly toxic - is there even a 'stable' plastic?). Like everyone else I thought it was fabulous, and it turns out it's a toxic gimmick. Maybe the very expensive Silpats are better...? But I really wonder.

Enjoy yours if you aren't concerned. I'm done with them. :-(
Nancy January 5, 2017
Scary, but useful to know. Thanks.
Olivia H. July 7, 2021
I greatly appreciate this thread, and in particular your response. Common sense would suggest that if the ice cubes have absorbed a foul, chemical taste and odor that it has been leached from the silicon - pointing up that silicon is a kitchen product that warrants reconsidering. I'm tossing my trays!
Jill January 5, 2017
I've read that sealing one tray in a zip lock bag with natural (clay) based, or non-toxic cat litter for up to three days is very safe and effective. Wash the tray thoroughly with soap and water and then place in the dishwasher afterward. Never store them in the freezer unless you're making ice cubes. The porous surface absorbs scents in the freezer very easily and it's extremely difficult to get rid of the unpleasant smells.
cookbookchick February 12, 2016
The same issue crops up all the time with the silicone gasket on some pressure cookers.
Nancy February 12, 2016
I had trouble getting an onion smell out of a silicone container that was supposed to be able to handle raw veg.
Found many solutions at chowhound and ehow (search & you will find)...lemon, milk, baking soda etc.
Work you way through: try one that appeals to you and if that doesn't work, try another.
Brady K. February 13, 2016
Thanks, Nancy, will do!
dinner A. February 12, 2016
That's odd -- I have a couple of the Tovolo brand ones, and while they do pick up freezer odors easily, they don't have any odor themselves. To prevent the freezer odor from accumulating, I run them through the dishwasher after a use or two; this seems to knock it back better than handwashing although it's not perfect. Maybe this would help with whatever smell the trays started with?
Brady K. February 13, 2016
Hmm, weird! maybe I got a bad batch? Sadly I don't have a dishwasher, but if the other tips here don't work, I'll see if I can borrow a friend's. :) Thanks for the advice!
702551 February 12, 2016
I would try making a batch of vinegar water ice cubes, maybe 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% water and see if that neutralizes the odor.

A baking soda/water combo might also be useful. Also, you might consider borax. although I don't know how the latter will react with silicone (which is generally pretty non-reactive).

Good luck.
702551 February 12, 2016
You'll have to read the manufacturer's instructions for temperature tolerance, but the silicone ice trays may be able to handle some heat.

You might try bringing the vinegar/water mixture to a boil, let it cool a bit (but not all the way back down to room temperature), then putting the ice trays in the hot bath.

If you do freeze the vinegar water, I would fill these to the rim, and put the tray on a sheet pan/etc. to handle spillage once the liquid expands.
Brady K. February 13, 2016
awesome, thank you so much! I will definitely try this.
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