How to Deodorize Plastic Ice Cube Trays Naturally

plastic ice cube tray

I’m sure you’ve noticed it before, but have you ever wondered why your ice cube trays have an odor on them that are sometimes overpowering? 

If you own a plastic ice cube tray and the smell is really bad, don’t throw the tray away! Try cleaning it first with these natural cleaning items.

Let’s get started.


If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to deodorize your plastic ice cube trays, vinegar is the way to go. This natural product is also an excellent disinfectant—a must-have in many home cleaning regimens—and can be used for everything from unclogging drains to getting rid of mildew on shower curtains.

To use vinegar as a deodorizer, simply fill up the tray with white vinegar (about 1/2 inch deep) and let sit overnight before rinsing out with warm water in the morning. You’ll find that it will leave behind no residue and smells fresh!

Vinegar can work wonders on other household items too; here is an article on How to Use Vinegar to Clean Moldy Shower Mats.  

Baking Soda

My personal favorite! Baking soda is a great deodorizer, and you can use it to deodorize plastic ice cube trays. To use baking soda:

  • First, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. 
  • Next, dip a sponge into the mixture and apply it to your ice cube tray. 
  • Let the tray sit for at least an hour before rinsing with water.


Charcoal is a natural deodorizer. You can purchase activated charcoal, which is charcoal made from coconut shells, at pet stores and other places that sell aquarium products. It’s also available online if you want to avoid going out of your way to buy it in person. Once you have activated charcoal on hand, use the following method to deodorize your ice cube trays:

  • Sprinkle some onto the offending tray
  • Let it sit for several hours (or overnight)
  • Wash the tray with soap then rinse well.


Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. It can help remove stains, mold, and other unpleasant smells from plastic ice cube trays.

To use lemon:

  • Fill the bottom of your plastic ice cube tray with water.
  • Cut a lemon in half and squeeze enough juice into the water to cover all of the surfaces of your ice cube tray. Leave this mixture overnight. The next day rinses off any remaining lemon juice with warm water and scrubs as needed to remove any residue or stains on your plastic ice cube trays.

What Makes Plastic Ice Cube Trays Stink?

Ice cube trays can stink for a few different reasons, but most of them boil down to one thing: bacteria.

The main reason that your ice cube trays may have begun to stink is that they aren’t being cleaned properly. You might think that once you put the clean dishes away in the cabinet, they don’t need any more attention — but that’s not true. Bacteria love to grow in moist environments like kitchen cabinets and drawers, so you should always be cleaning out your cabinets and dishwasher (and anything else that goes into it) regularly.

When you fill an ice cube tray with food, the plastic can absorb some of that odor. This means that if you clean the tray with soap and water but don’t let it sit out in the open air to dry afterward, there’s a chance that there will be a bit of food odor on the inside. 

Another reason that your ice cube trays may start to stink is that they’ve been sitting around unused for too long. If you don’t use your ice cube trays often enough, they become stagnant with bacteria and other gunk from inside your fridge or freezer, which can cause unpleasant odors when exposed to air again.

How Often Should you Clean Plastic Ice Cube Trays?

As a general rule, you should clean plastic ice cube trays every single time you use them. If that’s not an option for whatever reason, then make sure to clean them weekly or monthly at the very least.


There you have it! These are some of the best tips on how to deodorize plastic ice cube trays. As you can see, there are many different ways to get rid of that stinky smell. 

Some methods will work better than others depending on what type of plastic your tray is made from and how bad the odor is. If nothing else works, then it may be time to get new ice cube trays.

If you enjoyed this article, check out these 12 House Cleaning Tips to Help You Clean Up.

Thanks for reading my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy  

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels