So I just learned that there is actually an optimal temperature your fridge and freezer should be set at. I mean no one actually tells you these things right, so how are you supposed to know? This is important because, when set at the right temperature, your refrigerator can keep your food cold and safe to eat for days or weeks by slowing the growth of bacteria. And your freezer can keep your food fresh and deter bacterial growth for months, and in some cases, indefinitely. 

When the temperature of your food begins to climb above a certain point, bacteria start to multiply. So to maintain the quality of your food and to reduce the risk of food poisoning, it’s best to keep your fridge cooled to the recommended temperature and follow good refrigerator maintenance guidelines.

So What Temperature Should A Refrigerator Be? 

The ideal refrigerator temperature should be set between 35° and 38°F (or 1.7 to 3.3°C). This temperature range is as close as you can get to freezing without being so cold that your food will freeze. It’s also as close as the refrigerator temperature should get to the 40°F threshold, at which point bacteria begin multiplying rapidly.

What Temperature Should A Freezer Be? 

It’s best to keep a freezer as close to 0°F as possible, except when you’re adding a lot of new, warmer food. Keeping your freezer at a too cold temperature can run up your utility bill and cause food to lose moisture and flavour. If the freezer has a lot of built-up ice, that’s a sure sign that your freezer temperature is too cold.

How To Keep Your Fridge And Freezer Cool 

If you find your fridge or freezer is too warm despite your adjusted temperature settings, you can take a few steps to help maintain an ideal temperature.

Let Food Cool Before Storing It: hot leftovers can heat up the small space in your fridge or freezer quickly, putting your foods at risk of rapid bacterial growth. To protect the contents of your fridge and freezer, always let your food cool for a bit (but not to room temperature—that will take too long) before covering and storing.

Check The Door Seals: the gaskets around the edge of a refrigerator door keep the cold temperature in and the warmer temperature out. If there’s a leak in one of those gaskets, your cold air may be escaping. That can make cooling more difficult, and it will also use up more electricity, boosting your monthly electric bill.

Stop Opening The Door So Much: every time you open the refrigerator door, you let the cold air out and the warm air in. So stop standing at your fridge when you’re peckish (like we do), searching for a snack, just get what you came for, and shut the door quickly.

Keep The Fridge And Freezer Full: keeping your fridge and freezer full is actually a good thing as it allows the temperature to stay cooler longer and keeps foods cooled best if the shelves and drawers are mostly full.

Just avoid overcrowding the space and cut down on air flow. That can make moving cooled air difficult and increase the risk of warm pockets of air. Ideally, leave around 20% of the space open.