What Is the Ideal Temperature for Your Refrigerator?

Have you noticed that your milk is freezing? Does the meat spoil quickly? Your refrigerator is probably set to the wrong temperature. The FDA recommends keeping the refrigerator at or below 40 ° F (4 ° C) and the freezer at 0 ° F (-18 ° C) to keep food fresher longer and prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause food vectors. illness. Here are some more tips to help prevent the death of perishable foods.

Get a Fridge Thermometer

“I never trust a meter’s temperature readings; I’ve had enough hot spot ovens to be on my toes, ” advises a user on the Stack Exchange Food Safety Forum. “With our refrigerator, our fruit and vegetable drawer regularly freezes and partially freezes our vegetables, and with a thermometer I was able to figure out why: it’s significantly colder than the 35 ° F the rest of the refrigerator is on. At least 5-8 degrees. ” Move the thermometer to check for cold and warm spots and arrange food accordingly.

Keep your refrigerator full

If you open your refrigerator and freezer regularly, keep them full to maintain a constant temperature. “In an empty refrigerator, every time you open and close the door, you circulate most of the air in it, replacing the cooled air with warmer air, which must then be cooled again,” refrigerator enthusiasts say at Naked Scientists. “With a full fridge, not only is there less air to recycle and re-chill, but all other chilled food remains in the fridge. Having a lot of food in the refrigerator can also reduce the air flow, which means that the air exchange becomes even less every time the door is opened and then closed. “

But don’t overflow it

Keeping the fridge / freezer full is more efficient, Hunker says , but packing too tight will restrict circulation and airflow, which will eventually force him to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Another risk: Too much food stuck in the refrigerator can block the ventilation holes, leading to a variety of temperature and humidity problems, as well as causing some food to spoil faster.

Check the vents

To expand on this last point: air must flow freely between the freezer and refrigerator to maintain a constant temperature. If you see frost in the fridge, make sure there is no loaf of bread clogged in the air vent to obstruct circulation. You can find a manual for your specific refrigerator model on the Internet .

Avoid the “danger zone”

If you want to keep your food from developing harmful bacteria that can cause disease, keep it out of the cold, but not cold enough, the “danger zone” where bacteria thrive. According to Good Housekeeping , the ideal refrigerator temperature is between 35 ° F (1.6 ° C) and 38 ° F (3.3 ° C).

Know the coldest places in your refrigerator

“The temperature in your refrigerator can vary quite a bit with normal use,” says Stack Exchange’s Hobodave. “The coldest parts of your refrigerator are the back and bottom. There is a cooling element at the back, and warm air rises from the bottom. If food you do not want to freeze becomes frosty, move it away from the back of the refrigerator. “

Do not put spoiled objects in the door.

The refrigerator door is likely to be one of the warmest areas of the refrigerator and the place where temperatures fluctuate the most, so do not store anything there that could spoil. “Items in your fridge door can easily reach 59 F (15 C), and this happens frequently,” says Hobodave. “Putting milk and eggs in the door will significantly shorten their shelf life.” In fact, when talking to Well and Good, nutritionist Lisa DeFazio recommends never storing milk, eggs, dairy products, or meat in the doorway. Instead, store these items in the back of the refrigerator, where the temperature is colder and more stable. This story was originally published in June 2013 and was updated on October 23rd with more details and a new header image.

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