How to Keep Ice from Melting

Three Methods:Using a Cooler or Ice BucketMaking Larger Ice CubesStoring the Ice Properly

Storing ice for a party or event longer than a few hours can seem like an impossible task, especially if you are running around chatting with your guests and don’t want to have to worry about melting ice. To ensure all your guests’ cocktails stay cool, you should have about 2.3 lb of ice per guest.[1] Keeping your ice from melting mid-way through the party can be done with the right method, and some simple steps.

Method 1
Using a Cooler or Ice Bucket

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    Use a light colored container. Look for a light colored cooler or ice bucket that is made of reflective material. Light colors absorb less heat, and will help to keep your ice from melting.[2][3]
    • A cooler or ice bucket made from nylon or Styrofoam will keep the ice cool for at least the day. A plastic container will keep ice cool overnight, as long as it is not placed in direct sunlight. Avoid metal coolers and buckets, as they hold heat and will not keep your ice from melting for a long period of time.
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    Line the cooler or bucket with aluminum foil. The reflective surface of aluminum foil is scientifically proven to keep ice from melting longer than other materials.[4] Before you put the ice for the party in the cooler or bucket, place one layer of aluminium foil in the container.
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    Wrap the ice bucket in a towel. If you don’t have access to a good cooler or ice bucket, put the ice in the container and then use a clean towel or blanket to wrap the container. This will keep the ice cold for longer and prevent your ice from melting within the first hour of the party.[5]

Method 2
Making Larger Ice Cubes

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    Use boiled water, instead of tap water. Boiling the water before putting them in the ice trays will reduce the amount of air bubbles in the ice. This will make the ice last longer and appear more clear and less hazy.
    • If you are using plastic ice trays, let the water cool slightly before pouring it in the trays so you don’t melt the trays.
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    Pour the boiled water in large ice trays. Go for bigger ice trays to make larger ice cubes, or use a muffin pan to make ice chunks. Pour the boiled water evenly over the tray or pan and place it in the freezer.[6]
    • In fact, crushed ice and small ice cubes melt a lot faster than larger ice cubes and a large block of ice. Large pieces of ice have a reduced surface area, relative to their mass (or density), so they are less exposed to the warm air around them and less prone to melting.[7]
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    Place a towel in the bucket or container before putting in the ice cubes. This will insulate the ice and keep them cold. You can also use bubble wrap and then a towel in the container to keep the ice insulated and less prone to melting.[8]
    • You should also place a lid over the bucket or container, once it is full of ice, to prevent exposure to air and to keep the ice from melting.

Method 3
Storing the Ice Properly

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    Keep the ice in a cool room or area. Choose a cooler spot in the room, by a fan or air conditioner, to keep the ice bucket during the party. Avoid spots in direct sunlight and place your cooler in a shady area under a tree or the covered area of your deck. Don’t put the piping hot macaroni and cheese dish next to the ice cooler or the flaming BBQ plate next to your ice bucket.[9]
    • The ice will absorb heat from the atmosphere around it, so make sure you put it in a spot where it will have minimal to no contact with heat or warmth.
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    Use frozen ice packs to keep the ice from melting. The ice packs will help to keep the container nice and cold, thereby ensuring your ice doesn’t melt until the end of the party.[10]
    • If you are using a large cooler, you can also use frozen plastic bottles of water or other drinks that are not carbonated, to act as ice packs. Place them among the ice to keep the cooler frosty.
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    Fill up the ice often. This will ensure there is always fresh ice in the container that is keeping the container cold and preventing the rest of the ice from getting too warm.[11]
    • If you use a good insulating container and larger ice cubes, you likely will not have to check on the ice very often as it will stay cool on its own.

Things You'll Need

Using a Cooler or Ice Bucket

  • Good quality cooler or ice bucket
  • Towel or blanket

Making Larger Ice Cubes

  • Kettle or stove top with pan
  • Large ice trays or muffin tins
  • An ice container
  • A towel or bubble wrap


  • One claim for keeping your drinks cool is to add salt to the container, over the ice. If you want to keep your beverages cold for a long period of time, adding water and salt to the ice will make the beverages colder but the salt will make your ice melt. So, use this technique to keep your beverages cold, but avoid it if you want to keep your ice from melting.[12]

Article Info

Categories: Science