We all know that a refrigerator is an important appliance for keeping food fresh and safe. As the temperature inside the refrigerator increases, so does the likelihood that food will spoil. This means that it’s essential to keep a close eye on the temperature of your fridge and make sure it stays at the right level for the foods you have stored inside. But what is a good refrigerator temperature? That’s what this post will answer.
This blog contains information about what temperatures your refrigerator should be at. It also offers tips to keep your food fresh and other information about it.
- Does my freezer’s temperature matter?
- What is a Good Refrigerator Temperature?
- How to Make Sure Your Refrigerator Is Actually at a Safe Temperature
- Best Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Food Fresh
- Where to store food in your fridge
- How to Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Cool
- Can I put hot food in my fridge?
- Tips for Keeping Food Fresh in the Refrigerator
- Tips on keeping your refrigerator clean and fresh
- Summary: What is a Good Refrigerator Temperature?
Does my freezer’s temperature matter?
Yes, the temperature of your freezer matters — according to the FDA, you should keep your freezer at 0°F or lower to maintain the quality of your frozen foods.
If your freezer is too warm, it can lead to ice crystals forming on your food, affecting the quality and taste of what you’re freezing.
The most important thing to remember about freezer temperatures is that they should be consistent. A frost-free freezer should hit 1°F for five minutes than for it to stay at 5°F all the time because the latter means bacteria could be growing on your food.
What is a Good Refrigerator Temperature?
Keep your food fresh longer with the right refrigerator temperature.
A refrigerator is one of the essential appliances in your home. It keeps your food fresh and prevents anything from spoiling too quickly. However, the temperature at which you set your fridge can make a big difference in how well it performs and which foods are stored most safely.
A residential refrigerator’s acceptable temperatures are usually between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 to 3.3 degrees Celsius). The ideal temperature for most refrigerators is 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius)
How to Make Sure Your Refrigerator Is Actually at a Safe Temperature
A refrigerator should be set between 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, while a freezer should be set between 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- One way to tell if your refrigerator is at a safe temperature is to check the thermometer. You can also check to see if your food is cold enough.
- Another way to tell if your refrigerator is at a safe temperature is to insert a thermometer into the middle of your food. If the temperature is below 40 degrees, your food is safe. If it’s above 40 degrees, throw it out!
Best Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Food Fresh
The ideal temperature for your refrigerator is between 35 F and 40 F. You may have noticed that the temperatures listed on many foods, like yogurt, ice cream, and even breakfast cereal, are usually 35 to 40 degrees. That isn’t a coincidence.
Keeping your refrigerator colder can lead to freezer burn on frozen foods and cause ice crystals to form on fresh food. Additionally, cold meats will be difficult to slice, and dairy products may become excessively firm.
Keeping your refrigerator warmer than this can encourage bacterial growth in raw meat and eggs, leading to food poisoning. It’s also likely to cause lettuce and other greens to go bad quickly.
Where to store food in your fridge
Where you store your food in your fridge can significantly impact how long it lasts. Here’s a quick guide to putting food in your fridge.
This is based on the temperature, warmest at the top of the fridge and coldest at the bottom.
- Soft cheeses and eggs – keep them in the box they came in, which acts as a barrier against smells from other foods.
- Ready meals and cooked leftovers should be kept covered in airtight containers to prevent bacteria from contaminating other foods.
- Raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish are best kept here to prevent blood from dripping onto other foods and potentially spreading bacteria.
- Dairy products – milk, butter, cream, yogurt. These are also best stored away from raw meats to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with bacteria.
- Cooked meats can be stored safely for more extended periods than raw meats, provided they’re thoroughly cooked through and kept wrapped or covered in an airtight container.
- Fruit and vegetables need to be kept cool but not too cold so they don’t freeze or go mushy or moldy.
How to Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Cool
Keeping the refrigerator and freezer clean is important for keeping food safe. Here are some tips for How to Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Cool:
- Check the temperature gauge on your refrigerator and freezer. If you don’t have a built-in gauge, buy a refrigerator thermometer for about $10 at the hardware store. The fridge should be set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with the ideal temperature at 38 degrees. The freezer should be set at 5 degrees.
- If your fridge is too warm, check that nothing is blocking the ventilation grills, especially those located on the back or side of your fridge. Ensure the door seals are clean and no food is blocking them, or they cannot close properly.
- Ensure that your fridge is not directly exposed to sunlight or heat sources such as stoves or dishwashers.
- Check that your fridge door closes appropriately after taking out any food items. Leaving it open will make it work harder to keep up its terrific temperature, which will cost you more money in the long run.
- Clean the coils on the back of your fridge with a soft cloth to remove any dust buildup preventing proper ventilation and cooling.
Can I put hot food in my fridge?
It is not a good idea to put hot food in the fridge. Hot food can raise the temperature inside the refrigerator and cause food poisoning (bacteria multiply rapidly at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C). It would be best if you cooled your leftovers as quickly as possible.
Place the food in an airtight container or wrap it well with cling film to stop drying out. If you have a large amount of food, divide it into smaller portions and put them in separate containers.
It would help if you cooled your leftovers as quickly as possible. Place the food in an airtight container or wrap it well with cling film to stop drying out. If you have a large amount of food, divide it into smaller portions and put them in separate containers.
Tips for Keeping Food Fresh in the Refrigerator
A refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. It is where you store your food and keep them fresh. However, this requires a bit of maintenance on your part to ensure that it functions properly at all times.
Here are some tips for keeping food fresh in the refrigerator:
- Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
- Wrap meats tightly or place them in airtight containers before storing them in the fridge.
- Use or freeze ground beef within two days; whole red meats within three to five days; poultry within one to two days; and fish and shellfish within one day.
- Keep eggs in their original carton and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door.
- Don’t put hot food straight into the fridge; this can raise the overall temperature inside, so cool it down before putting it in.
- Wrap meat and fish tightly with cling film or foil to not contaminate other foods with their juices.
- Do not store cooked food on top of raw meat, fish, and vegetables in the fridge, as this could risk cross-contamination.
- Keep your refrigerator between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius (32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Don’t leave the door open for an extended period.
- Put food away as soon as possible
- Keep fruit and vegetables separate
- Cover liquids and wrap food properly
- Don’t cram the refrigerator; air needs to circulate food.
- Cover foods but leave room for air to circulate, especially hot foods that release steam.
- Don’t wash meat, poultry, eggs, or fish before storing; you’ll add moisture that can encourage bacterial growth.
- Store ground meats and poultry for two days (1 day if the temperature is 90 degrees F or above).
Tips on keeping your refrigerator clean and fresh
You must keep your refrigerator clean to help keep the food inside it fresh. If you don’t properly clean it regularly, the food could spoil faster, and you could be in danger of getting sick from eating spoiled food. Keeping your refrigerator clean is relatively easy and not too time-consuming.
Tips for Cleaning Your Refrigerator
- Clean spills immediately so they do not have time to dry and become hard to remove.
- Remove all food items before cleaning—remove all shelves, drawers, and other removable parts.
- Use warm water when washing your fridge, as hot water can warp plastic components and cause damage that voids your warranty.
- When cleaning glass shelves, use only a mild soap or detergent and rinse with water. Dry glass shelves with a soft towel after washing them so they won’t streak or spot. Never use ammonia-based cleaners on glass shelves as they can get etched (scratched) by ammonia-based cleaners over time.
- Always dispose of leftovers within three to four days. You should also remove any perishable items if you’re going on vacation. While a full refrigerator is energy efficient, and packed and cluttered unit makes it harder to spot trouble spots, such as spoiled food.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Always use a sponge or paper towel and warm water with mild dish soap for the best results. Avoid using bleach or any other harsh cleaning chemicals, especially on the door gaskets, as that can damage the rubber.
- If food has sat out too long and gone wrong, use a mixture of one gallon of water with one tablespoon of baking soda to clean off the surface. This solution is safe to use on your refrigerator’s surfaces, including drawers, shelves, and bins.
- Keep an eye on your refrigerator temperature — usually between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit — to ensure your food stays fresh longer and prevent illness-causing bacteria from growing in the first place.
- Clean the inside of your refrigerator every few months. Wipe up spills immediately.
- Check expiration dates on food packages and throw away any spoiled food.
- Keep raw meat wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil so it won’t drip on other foods.
- Keep fresh fruits and vegetables in a designated drawer or bin at the bottom of the refrigerator.
- Use glass or plastic containers to store leftovers.
- Line your refrigerator shelves with paper towels to absorb spills and make cleaning easier.
Summary: What is a Good Refrigerator Temperature?
Overall, keeping your refrigerator between 35 and 38 °F (2.2 and 3.3 °C) will help keep foods safe to eat. If you’re unsure if your refrigerator temperature is too high or too low, you can use a reliable household thermometer to check the temperature.
While our blog on refrigerator temperature isn’t going to be a one-shot cure-all, it is designed to provide accurate advice that will help you keep your food fresher longer. Whether you refrigerate your milk and bread or you like to keep them on the countertop, the information here will be helpful.
Plus, this article is flexible and can be repurposed for other purposes with ease. The facts about optimal refrigerator temperature will apply in most cases, whether you have a standalone, side by side, or bottom mount refrigerator.
This guide also includes plenty of content about different tips for keeping your food fresher. So if you’re looking for some tips on extending the usable life of your food purchases, this article may prove enlightening.