Refrigerator Care and Maintenance Tips
Guidelines for helping Your Fridge Function at its Best.
Some people think that the refrigerator is a magical place that keeps foods fresh forever - or at least until mold forms.
Others frantically toss things out after a day in the chill zone. Who's right?
It's a draw, actually, because essentially, no food benefits from storage. And you can't depend on the little gauge (1-5) inside to accurately record the temperature.
Consider buying a fridge-specific thermometer. We want to eat everything as fresh as we can.
can't tromp out to the garden to harvest for each meal, here are
some guidelines for making your fridge function at its best.
1. Cold and Colder.
Some parts of your fridge are colder than others. The meat
compartment at the bottom is designed to store meat, for example - and
it's the coldest place in the fridge. So put meat there.
Not only is this the coldest area, but if the package leaks, it won't contaminate other foods.
The door is the warmest part of the fridge. This is the best place for non-perishables (sodas), not perishables (eggs).
To keep food from spoiling throughout the fridge, the temperature needs to be between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cleaning the Fridge.
Essential daily care:
- Wipe up any spills in your refrigerator immediately to keep bacteria from growing.
- Wash first with warm, soapy water, then disinfect with a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach in one quart water.
3. Tips for Cooked Meals.
- Don't put hot food in the chilly fridge. Bring it to room temperature before refrigerating it. Hot food can cause fridge temps to drop.
- On the other hand, don't leave food out too long, either. Refrigerate prepared food within two hours of cooking (one hour in the summer).
- Don't overload the refrigerator. Parties
are a dangerous time for your fridge food health because you can cram a
whole lot of stuff in it and then you're continually opening the door.
Turn the temperature down during these occasions.
- Cover foods tightly. This keeps an air-tight seal that will keep foods fresher longer, as well as keep out any bacteria in the air.
- Leave meats in their original packaging. This will help to prevent spreading bacteria.
- Don't store breads, cookies or most cakes in the fridge. They will become stale.
- Tell the family not to stand gazing slack-jawed into the open fridge. While they decide what to eat, close the fridge to keep the cool air in.
- If you lose power, don't open the fridge or freezer. If the doors are kept closed, food can keep up to eight hours in the fridge; 48 hours in the freezer.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.