White particles in water?

Ok, this is now driving me crazy. When I pour a glass (empty glass, no ice yet) of water (filtered, old filter) the water is clear. Pour over ice and big puffy white flakes appear. At first, I think that there must be crap in my ice. So I buy a silicone ice cube tray and use filtered water to make ice cubes.

Second iteration: filtered water over filtered ice. Results: BIG FLUFFY WHITE FLAKES. So, that didn't work. My next thought was that maybe I messed up with the ice cubes. So, I switched to distilled water for the ice cubes.

Third iteration: filtered water over distilled water ice cubes. Results: BIG FLUFFY WHITE FLAKES. Again I found myself with nasty debris floating in my water. What's next? Oh, maybe it's the detergent I used to wash my glasses. So, I wash a glass by hand with Dawn soap.

Fourth iteration: filtered water over distilled water ice cubes. Results: you guessed it... BIG FLUFFY ****** WHITE FLAKES. Gotta say, it makes me want to pull out my hair! I just don't get it.

So, here's my question: what's causing the white flakes? I read somewhere that cold temperatures can cause certain salts (not table salt) to precipitate out of solution. This can also be the case with Magnesium and Manganese. Does anyone else have a solution? I just want to drink some nice clear water. I thought for sure a Brita filter would do it for me.

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What might work is to freeze a bunch of water, melt it and then pour off the water into your ice cube trays. Now the precipitates will have precipitated and your ice cubes SHOULD be free of snow.

LydiaT22 years ago

Ok, here's what's going on. The big fluffy white flakes are a result of having very hard water. The flakes are precipitated salts like Magnesium, Calcium or Manganese that used to be dissolved in solution of the warmer water. As long as the water is warm you don't see the salts. The colder the water gets, that's when the salts become precipitated and then you see them. This by the way, is totally safe to drink, it is not dirty or yucky.

The fact that you have used a water filter for your drinking water and the ice cubes is fine for clean water, but water filters do NOT prevent these flakes. Water filters only remove the larger particles of metals and debris. The salts are much smaller particles and can not be removed by a filter.

In order to solve your problem, you must use a "water softener" to remove the Magnesium, Calcium, and Manganese and the other types of salts that naturally exist in water, and use that for your ice cubes also.

By the way, have you tasted distilled water? You probably won't like it, because it is devoid of any taste at all. People pretty much want to taste their water. If you want to buy really good tasting water, buy gal. jugs of what is called "Drinking Water", but "Drinking Water" is still only filtered water.

Again, please don't be afraid to drink your water if it has those hard water big fluffy white flakes in it. It absolutely will not hurt you. You've been drinking what creates those flakes, all along when you have drank your water without ice.

Lrvirtue LydiaT28 months ago

Thank you for your answer! Mystery solved!

AnnT16 LydiaT21 year ago

LydiaT2 thank you for much for that answer. I looked on line and couldn't find anything because my particles are not flakes but specs, almost like little crystals. I was afraid to drink the water, thinking that the ice when melted in a drink was showing me there was something wrong with the water and I was going to have it tested.


Lrvirtue8 months ago

We r having the same challenge. Thank u for posting this. Glad to see LydiaT2 had an answer for us

GandhiS411 months ago

Dear LydiaT2:

About 40 years ago I remember a conversation that came up about putting magnets in the water lines from the boilers in Philadelphia to keep the calcium in solution. I seem to recall that we were using TetraSodium EDTA liquid added to the water to attach the radical ions and prevent 'corrosion' of the pipes. I think that this water had to be drained off and refreshed every 30 days. So to follow on to the first letter maybe if the calcium was bonded first to EDTA, then magnetically extracted it would eliminate the cost of cooling the water. Just a thought.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Dunn

May 11th 2106

GandhiS411 months ago

Dear LydiaT2:

First I should ask if you are a chem or bio teacher as you seem to know what you are talking about and don't have an attitude in your explanation. Are you?

About 2 weeks ago I had a salesman come into my home, selling an expensive water softener system. He spent about 3 hours testing and demonstrating how bad my water quality was, from calcium and magnesium. He used a whole battery of test including pH and separation using EDTA, as well as dyes to show the particulate counts. Very scary and very impressive, however it sounded more like he was reading or had memorized the entire demonstration. Which I am sure he had since when I asked him about one of the chemicals he just replied: "indicator" The end of the story was that I thought that if I put in the system that was going to be about twelve thousand dollars, 20% discount if I purchased on the spot, that I might die from high blood pressure from so much salt. He was selling the salt resin exchange system. So back to the snowy ice cubes.... If the water freezing causes the calcium to bond together, would it not be possible to construct a small apparatus that passes the calcium in solution-water over a cooler (heat extractor fins) and then using a magnetic field extract the calcium as calcium is paramagnetic, and the bonded clusters would create a slight magnetic attraction. So what is your opinion... you can answer me online here or directly at garydunn88@aol.com Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Dunn May 11th 2016

DustinE61 year ago

I'm sorry, but I can't stop laughing at the "maybe I messed up with the ice cubes" comment. Sometimes it can be trickier than putting water into the freezer and leaving it alone.

VinceW31 year ago

ok, here is a real good one!!! I also have a problem with the white flakes too and it's real gross because they look like piece of skin floating around my keurig coffee maker Reservoir (The outside one) I was under the impression it was calcium carbonate also because I too have hard water so I started buy 5 gallons of Reverse Osmosis water which should clear up the problem due to the thin membrane that the RO uses but NO im still getting thought skin like looking flakes??? Any idea would be a big help I am also left scratching my head....???

kakashibatosi (author) 2 years ago

Alright! The experiment (frustration) is finally over. And the winner is: thematthatter!!

Man, am I glad that's over! The final trial was distilled water over distilled water ice cubes, and the ice cube tray was wrapped with aluminum foil to keep out any potential dust. Low and behold, fluff free water!! *applause applause* I cannot believe how much stuff got into the ice just by not covering it! I will be covering all of my future ice-making endeavors similarly. My mistake with trying to make it in a plastic bag was that I did not seal it properly, and I believe it came open in the freezer somehow.

Thank you all for your input, I'm relieved to have clear water :).

Kiteman2 years ago

Stuff dissolves in water.

Less stuff dissolves in cold water.

Cool the water down, anything dissolved will come out of solution.

Distilled water on distilled water ice ?

kakashibatosi (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago

That's next up, but I have a feeling that will be clear. I want to know what's in the water, or what's going on.

Magnesium salts, Calcium carbonate,


science is about doing the experiment anyway, and checking.

Freeze your bottle of distilled water and break it and try that.

You may have dust blowing around the inside your freezer

kakashibatosi (author)  thematthatter2 years ago

I just tried making ice inside a large plastic bag. I checked around, and found that hard water is likely the problem. I'll be switching to bottled gallon jugs until I can figure out a solution. It's a bit harder given that I rent and don't want to invest in a non-permanent residence.

Wired_Mist2 years ago

Do you live in an aria that has "Hard Water"? This should be whats happening here.

Buy a good filtering pitcher like "brita" or "zero water"

To fix the prob for your whole house you could buy a Water softener at your local home improvment store. You could also buy an in line filter / water softener for your sink if you only want it for drinking water.