Ice made in a standard refrigerator often has a white, cloudy appearance due to the nature of the freezing process or the water used. Other common characteristics of cloudy ice include cracks and a tendency to pop and snap apart as individual pieces melt.
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Water can contain a large amount of air, especially if it comes from a tap. In the freezer, water rises as it grows colder and becomes solid, creating a frozen layer that prevents air in the water underneath from escaping. The entrapped air begins to form bubbles later and then turns milky as the water in the middle of the cube freezes.
Some water, such as hard water, contains a large amount of salt. In the freezer, the dissolved salt solidifies along with the water as both get colder, causing the resulting ice to appear milky. The salt content also can make the ice smell and taste different.
Manufacturers of commercial ice freeze water slower than a regular freezer to create clear ice with minimal cracks. Using equipment such as plates or revolving cylinders, they layer thin sheets of ice on top of one another, which limits trapped air.
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