The Cold Facts About Your Fridge

Refrigerator full of food close up

Think of your refrigerator as a body. No, not because it holds a lot of food! Rather, it’s strategically designed to give you the best results possible while in use. Each section or part has a specific purpose. Here are some pointers to get your fridge “fit.”

The refrigerator is cooled by vapor, which is a gas that flows through the fridge coils and absorbs heat from the air. The coil is usually located on the lower shelf. The closer to the coil foods are, the colder they will be. The optimum overall temperature for the household fridge should be 0° to 4°. Listeria, some harmful food bacteria, begins to grow at 5°, and below 0° will freeze the food. (It’s helpful to keep a separate digital thermometer in the fridge for accurate readings.)

  • Drawers (2°C)
    • As the only enclosed part of the fridge, they are the most humid—perfect for fruits and veggies.
  • Bottom shelf (1°C)
    • The coldest part of the fridge. Milk, raw meat, fish and poultry should be stored here.
  • Middle shelves (2°-3°C)
    • The central part of the fridge where the temperature remains constant; eggs and deli products are best kept here.
  • Top shelf (3°C)
    • Not too cold, this shelf is good for leftovers.
  • Bottom of the door (3-4°C)
    • Works well for orange juice, dressings, sauces and other condiments.
  • Top of the door (4°C)
    • The warmest place in the fridge; good for butter and cheese, which have a softer texture. Remember to seal them tightly once opened to prevent bacteria from forming.


Four Fridge-Friendly Tips:

Ideally, a fridge should be only ¾ full for maximum efficiency. Over-filling a fridge may cause food to spoil, so try to keep it clutter-free.

The heat outside can also impact the temperature, so avoid leaving the door open for an unnecessary length of time.

Before storing leftovers, allow them to cool down for about two hours first, then portion them into small containers and seal tightly.

Clean the fridge at least once a month with soapy water so the cool air flows more freely.

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