What Temperature Should A Refrigerator Be?

Last Updated on September 23, 2022 by P. Simon

Refrigerators are essential appliances in any kitchen and help to store foods that would go bad if not kept under ideal conditions. Storing items in your refrigerator at the ideal temperature means it lasts longer.

You need to ensure your fridge is in the right and optimal setting, which is crucial to help avoid potential illnesses caused by bacteria in spoiled food, especially meat products.

This article will give you guidance on how to ensure your fridge works at an optimal level. It guides you on how to properly refrigerate produce at its right temp, prevent foodborne illnesses, and how use a thermometer to check the temp.

Best Refrigerator Thermometers
What Temperature Should A Refrigerator Be?

What Should My Refrigerator Temperature Be?

The FDA recommends that you properly set your refrigerator at an optimal temperature range of 38 f  (Fahrenheit) or 40 degrees Fahrenheit /40 f or 4 degrees Celsius. Your fridge’s freezer zone should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit/0 f or -18 degrees Celsius/-18C zone to maintain freshness in meat, produce, and prevent bacterial growth.

The controls on most refrigerators allow you to choose from numbers between 1 and 5. In standard refrigerators, 1 is usually the coldest, and 5 is the warmest.

The best refrigerator will have digital controls that will enable you to set to specific settings, keep things fresh while in storage, and help you save on your power bills. Refrigerated but under frozen items have links to stomach bugs that you should avoid at all costs.

Does my Freezer’s Temperature Matter?

Most people assume that if a freezer freezes their food, the temperature must be the correct one. Different foods have different freezing temperatures, but that does not mean that it is ideal if they freeze at the set temperature.

If you rely on your freezer a lot, setting it to the accurate and correct temperature zone -at least 38 f to 40 f matters a lot in keeping your refrigerated food cold for longer.

As mentioned before, you should control your freezer temperature and set it at zero degrees F or under 18 degrees Celsius. Food stored at zero degrees Fahrenheit (0 F) may be safe to eat, but the taste and quality deteriorate with time.

Most produce freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but you need to adjust your freezer to zero degrees Fahrenheit to slow down their deterioration. The colder your freezer is, the better for storing your goods, as it will not spoil.

How to Keep Your Refrigerator Cool at Room Temperature

Even when it is hot outside, your refrigerator should be cool or very cold. You can do several things to keep your fridge cold and keep food fresher.

  • Ensure the refrigerator is full but not overfull to allow air circulation
  • Avoid opening the  refrigerator door unnecessarily to avoid air escaping
  • Clean it up by checking if the coils are dusty
  • Ensure you leave a few inches to the wall
  • Cool food down several degrees before storing it
  • Set the correct refrigerator temperature range at least 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit/ 38 f to 40 f

How to Organize Food in Your Refrigerator

When you don’t organize your refrigerator, you might buy things you already have. Keeping it neat and regularly cleaning your fridge ensures that the appliance works at an optimal level with good air circulation.

As a result, you will have an easier time locating items. Here are some related tips that could help you organize and keep your fridge neat. It also gives you more power to ensure the fridge is working in optimal condition.

Arrange Things Practically to Avoid Growth of Bacteria

The refrigerator temperatures on some shelves are colder than others. The door and the top shelf are the ‘warmest.’ The middle and bottom shelves are cool as more air circulates there, and you should store your condiments on the door shelves.

Eggs, spreads, and dairy products should occupy the upper shelves, fruits, and veggies in the crisper, and milk and meat on the lowest shelf. With everything stored properly, you spend less. Your stuff, especially meat and produce will not spoil, and you have cool and fresh food for longer.

Remove Packaging in the Refrigerator and Freezer

Remove the packaging on your items, such as cans of water, yogurt cups, eggs, etc., and use clear containers to organize your foods by category.

Label the Bins

Label your clear containers with stickers. This could help people find items faster and conserve energy by reducing the refrigerator and freezer door opening and closing for hours, especially if you have a large family.

What is Freezer Burn?

Freezer burn is when food loses moisture from staying frozen for too long. Freezer burn makes the quality change, and you may notice ice crystals, tough, discolored, leathery meat, or wilted produce covered in ice.

How do you measure a Fridge’s Temperature?

You can measure your fridge’s ideal temperature in various ways via thermometers.

  • Use an appliance  thermometer that is specially designed for measuring accurate refrigerator  temperature settings
  • Put a regular body thermometer in a cup of water and leave it inside the fridge for two hours.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to give you quick and accurate results, and you don’t have to refrigerate the water for two hours.

When Should You Adjust your Fridge Temp?

Most of us forget about the dials in our refrigerators, which should be adjusted to keep the contents and produce at the right refrigerator temperature. You need to alter the refrigerator temperature dial settings to align with the seasons. Buy thermometers to help monitor your fridge settings.

During winter, the freezer might warm up, so you need to monitor your fridge and reduce or increase the settings accordingly. In summer, refrigerators are opened and closed a lot, and you may need to set the temperature lower as a lot of air is lost in the process.

Why is it Important to Keep Food Cold Enough?

Bacteria grow in warm conditions, and keeping your fridge at the right temperature-38 or 40 f, ensures the bacteria do not get a conducive environment to grow.

Storage of food at room temperature range means bacteria increase every 20 minutes, especially meat that spoils very fast. Storing the contents ensures you keep foods cold or frozen and ensure the e coli bacteria do not get an opportunity to breed.

How do you Change the Fridge Temperature?

On startup, the fridge and freezer controls should be at mid-point or standard settings. You can find the refrigerator temperature controls in different places depending on your fridge model. The controls are near the top or at the back of the fresh food zone or on the external dispenser control panel.

How to clean your Refrigerator?

As part of your weekly cleaning routine, you need to wipe down the interior and exterior of your fridge. When it’s time to deep clean, here are some best refrigerator tips to guide you in putting your affairs in order, and you don’t risk illness with bad food.

Remove Food

When you schedule your cleaning, you need to have less food storage, especially meat, in the week before the cleanup. Less food means you will have fewer items to remove when cleaning. You can buy fresh foods after cleanup and throw away any spoiled food.

Wipe the Fridge Interior

Slide out the bins and shelves, then clean the inside with a solution made up of one-quart hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda. Use mild and unscented cleaners to prevent your contents from absorbing odors. Rinse off using a damp cloth and dry it off using a towel. For the detachable parts, soak them in the solution, scrub, rinse and dry them.

Drip Pan

The drip pan is found in the zone under the base grille in most refrigerators. If it has water, mop it up using paper towels after unplugging the fridge from the power source. Pull the pan out and wash it using warm soapy water.

Some drip pans are fixed, so you can wrap a cloth around a brush, dip it in soapy water to clean the pan, rinse, and use the same method with a dry cloth to dry it.

Dust Coils

To ensure your fridge runs efficiently, you can clean the condenser coils at least twice a year using a coil brush. Some models have coils on top, and you should vacuum them more often, especially if you have pets.

Clean Exterior

Dampen a cloth with mild soap and clean around the handles, as they often have fingerprint smudges. For refrigerators with steel exteriors, use a spray specifically for stainless steel. Wipe according to the grain to avoid streaks.


A refrigerator is crucial in any modern kitchen, as it helps food stay fresher for longer. However, most people are not aware of the correct temperatures and settings that ensure the fridge works at optimal levels.

This article tells you about finding out the best refrigerator temperatures to store food and keep it cold enough to prevent the growth of bacteria that causes diseases like e coli from growing. 

During the different seasons, you must monitor the refrigerator temperature vis a vis the room temperature. During summer, you need to adjust the fridge and freezer temperature lower, and during winter, you need to watch it and adjust it accordingly.

Some refrigerated items freeze at different temperatures, so you need to know what freezes at which temperature and adjust accordingly.