You Should Be Cleaning Your Ice Cube Trays More Often Than You Think

There are a lot of reasons you might use an ice cube tray instead of an ice maker. For starters, there's the obvious: Maybe you have an older freezer that doesn't have a built-in ice maker (or maybe it just stopped working). Then there are those of us who choose to use trays as a way to make ice cubes specifically for cocktails and mixed drinks (think: ice spheres and whiskey wedges). Then there are the ones who like to use their trays to make cubes out of coffee, lemonade, wine, and even oil and herbs.

However, no matter what you use your ice cube tray for, you need to clean it just as you would anything else in your kitchen. And according to experts, most of us probably aren't cleaning them enough. Here's how often you should really be cleaning your ice cube tray (and a few handy tips for how to do so effectively).

Your cleaning schedule depends on what you use your tray for

To figure out when (and how) you should be cleaning your ice cube tray, Martha Stewart interviewed expert Leanne Stapf, the chief operating officer of The Cleaning Authority. According to Stapf, if you're simply filling your ice cube tray with water, you should be cleaning it at least once a month. However, if you're using it for coffee, juice, or anything else, she says you should definitely be cleaning the tray after every use.

As for how to clean your ice cube tray? Stapf recommends scrubbing with a baking soda and warm water mixture that she says will get rid of odors and sanitize the plastic. Home cooks on Chowhound agree, with many suggesting baking soda as an effective all-natural cleaner. Others say you can toss it in the dishwasher, too — however, Stapf cautions to look at your tray's label first as some plastic can warp in the high heat of a dishwasher.