The Freezer Has a Fishy Smell in the Ice Maker

Fishy odors in your ice maker can stink up your kitchen and ruin the taste of ice-filled beverages. Finding the source of the odor can be difficult but not impossible. Even a properly maintained ice maker can develop a foul smell through infrequent use, but the problem may also lie inside your fridge and freezer or with your water supply.

A variety of odors from your fridge and freezer can combine to produce a fishy smell.

Infrequent Use

Ice makers that aren't used regularly can develop foul odors. The ice grows stale, absorbing refrigerator and freezer odors as it sits in the bin. These odors may combine to create a fishy smell. To eliminate the odor, throw away old ice, and wash the storage bin. Repeat washing at least once each week to prevent odors from returning. Over time your ice bin itself can absorb odors as well, which may be difficult to remove. Replacing the bin about every two to three years, or when it seems to hold foul or fishy odors despite cleaning, is recommended by some manufacturers.

Open Containers or Packaging

Food items that are left unsealed in your fridge or freezer compartment give off odors, which may be absorbed into the ice maker as well. Remove or seal open packages of food to get rid of the source of the smells. Cleaning the interior of your refrigerator will also eliminate lingering odors, and placing an open box of baking soda in the fridge can help prevent future odors. Clean the ice maker bin as well to remove any existing odors.


Some refrigerators have a filter that should be changed about every six months. Impurities in your water can affect the smell of the ice that is dispensed. If your refrigerator does not have one, consult with an appliance parts outlet to determine if a universal charcoal filter can be attached to the water supply line on your refrigerator.

Water Supply

Occasionally cleaning and replacing filters does not eliminate the fishy odor from your ice maker, which may be a result of your water, and not the refrigerator. Sulfur, algae and various minerals in your main water supply can cause odors to form in the ice. You can determine whether the odor is from the water or from the refrigerator by filling ice cube trays with tap water and placing them in your freezer. When frozen, dump these in a bowl, and leave the bowl in the freezer for about three days. If there is an odor present when you remove the ice, the odor is coming from the air inside your fridge. If there is no odor in the ice, the smell in your ice maker is likely coming from the water supply.