The Paper Bag Trick To Prevent Ice Cubes From Sticking Together

Whether you're a host trying to prepare drinks for guests, or simply trying to cool off on a hot day, the last thing you want is the workout that comes from trying to hack apart a huge hunk of ice cubes that have melted together. Ice cubes can stick to each other for many reasons, but the main culprit is almost always moisture. As ice cubes melt and turn into water, that moisture can quickly refreeze and bind those cubes together. This can happen due to a faulty freezer, ice being kept in a freezer for a long period of time, or even ice kept in a freezer that isn't around 75% full — in general, a freezer full of frozen food is going to be colder than an empty one.


Regardless of the reason, when ice cubes fuse together, it totally erases the convenience the individual chunks of ice are supposed to provide. It can also be a real chore to break those bricks of ice cubes apart into usable pieces. To avoid this annoyance, it's best to make sure your ice cubes don't stick together in the first place. Luckily, this can be done easily by storing the cubes in a brown paper bag.

Brown paper bags reduce ice melting

A plain brown paper bag, which goes for as little as $0.02 a bag in some places, is a cheap and effective way to keep ice cubes separated. Paper is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs excess moisture from its immediate environment. So, unlike a plastic bag or ice cube tray that allows water to pool around and then freeze to the ice cubes, paper bags keep ice relatively "dry." Without the extra water floating around, all those individual ice cubes are able to remain detached.


This hack can come in handy in a number of situations. If you're planning on throwing a party, you can stock up on ice by freezing batches in ice cube trays and then transferring the cubes to the bags. Just make sure you check how long it takes to freeze a tray of ice cubes beforehand to maximize efficiency. Even if the ice is just for you, paper bags can help you maintain a surplus of easily accessible cubes, so you never run out after forgetting to refill the trays. Storing ice in paper bags is just one of many ways to get the best results from your ice cubes, so grab a few classic paper lunch sacks to make cooling down your drinks that much easier.