Refrigerator Hacks: Tips to Keep It Cool and Operating Well

Food preservation has been a part of every household since its discovery. Through the invention of refrigerators and the process of refrigeration, preserving has never been easier than sticking food into a cold storage unit. At the correct refrigerator temperature, the appliance should keep food cold and safe to eat for days, even weeks.

By slowing the growth of bacteria, refrigerators became a valuable tool for most families. However, when temperatures begin to climb a certain point, bacteria will multiply, leading to food spoilage or food poisoning. Here are some ways to keep perishable foods cool in a refrigerator using the correct cooling temperatures.

The Ideal Temperature for a Refrigerator

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recommended refrigerator temperature is below 40°F. Meanwhile, the freezer temperature should be around 0°F.

However, the ideal refrigerator temperature should be between 35° and 38°F (or 1.7 to 3.3°C). The temperature should be cold enough to preserve all the perishable goods stored in the refrigerator, but not to the point that everything freezes. 

It’s also best to get to around 40°F, as it’s the optimum temperature to prevent bacteria from multiplying within the unit. Temperatures above the 35° to 38°F threshold might be too much. The food will spoil quickly and lead to food poisoning.

How to Keep a Refrigerator Cool?

Although refrigerators are expected to keep perishable goods fresh, there will be instances where they will not stay cool. There are several reasons why a refrigerator might not maintain the temperature it is set on. Here are some tips on how to maintain the temperature in a fridge.

1. Store Cool Food

For people doing meal preparation, it’s better to store the cooked food after it has cooled. Hot containers of full meals are enough to heat a small space in the refrigerator. The same rule applies to leftover meals, such as soups or other viands. To protect your fridge from being overworked, let all food cool before covering and storing them. Letting warm food cool first before storing also prevents rapid bacterial growth that might cause early spoilage.

2. Maintain Door Seals

Gaskets around the edge of a refrigerator door keep the cold temperature from escaping. If there is a leak in one of those insulators, the cold air might escape and make it more challenging for the refrigerator to keep cool. In effect, your refrigerator might consume more electricity and increase your monthly electric bill.

3. Maintain a Space

If you’re planning to place a refrigerator in the corner, remember to keep a space between the back of the unit and the wall it will be standing against. Slide the refrigerator away from a wall to allow the air to circulate behind it. Moving the refrigerator out from a wall allows the warm air to disperse properly, preventing overheating.

4. Keep it Closed

Frequent opening and closing of a refrigerator may cause it to work double efforts to keep the food inside cool. It’s vital to resist the temptation to stand at the fridge and open it while thinking of food to eat and cure hunger or cravings. Instead, think of what you want and pick it out quickly, and close the door after.

5. Keep it Moderately Full to Keep it Cool

A full fridge is a happy fridge. The same rule applies to a freezer. The temperature within a refrigerator will be colder if all the shelves within are full. However, while it’s good to fill it up, it’s not a great idea to crowd it. Instead, fill the fridge well, but not entirely. Remember to leave a few spaces between each rack to allow air to circulate within.


Keeping foods fresh in a refrigerator requires the correct settings, temperature, and process. As long as you follow these ideal setups for your fridge at home, then you should have a better-working refrigerator that’ll last for a few more years.

Pixel Fridge is the best resource for anything about refrigerators. We’ve written self-help hacks for people who would like to maximize their refrigerator’s power and capacity, from mini-fridge electricity costs to the ideal temperatures for your refrigerator. Visit our website to learn more about refrigerators today.

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