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Table of Contents

Myth 1: The Dial Shows Temperature

Myth 2: Don't Put Hot Food in the Fridge

Myth 3: You Can Thaw Food on the Counter

Myth 4: Baking Soda is Best for Absorbing Odors

Myth 5: Food is Safe Inside the Fridge During a Power Outage

Myth 6: You Can Store Leftovers for a Couple of Weeks

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6 Refrigerator Myths Debunked

4 min readUpdated Mar. 28, 2024Lyle WeischwillRefrigerator
Refrigerator myths

Discover the truth behind common refrigerator myths to ensure your food stays fresh and your family stays safe. From debunking the efficacy of baking soda for odor control to clarifying the safest methods for thawing meat, learn essential tips to maintain food quality and prevent bacterial growth in your fridge. Plus, schedule a repair appointment with Sears Home Services to address any refrigerator issues promptly and effectively.


  • Ensure your refrigerator stays below 40°F with a dedicated thermometer to prevent bacteria from thriving.
  • Don't let cooked food sit out—store it in the fridge within two hours of cooking to prevent spoilage and bacterial contamination.
  • Avoid thawing frozen food on the countertop to prevent bacterial growth; use methods like the fridge, microwave, or cold water instead.

Does baking soda in the fridge really deodorize? How should you thaw meat? Is food safe to eat after a power failure? Here’s what you need to know to help keep your food fresh and your family safe.

That seemingly innocent rotisserie chicken in your fridge or the cucumber slowly turning into a science experiment behind those Chinese food cartons can make your family sick.

Learn the truth about these common fridge fallacies (along with a few refrigerator tips) to prevent bacteria and other nasty things from forming on your food. Here are some common myths, busted.

refrigerator myths busted

Myth 1: The Dial Shows Temperature

Many believe the dial inside their fridge accurately shows its internal temperature. This is a misconception that could compromise food safety.

  • Reality Check: The dial is more of a control mechanism than a precise temperature gauge. It regulates how cold the fridge should get, not the current temperature.
  • Pro Tip: Invest in a dedicated refrigerator thermometer. Place it in the center of the fridge for the most accurate reading. Keeping the temperature below 40 degrees F is crucial to prevent bacterial growth on your food.

Myth 2: Don't Put Hot Food in the Fridge

The advice to let hot food cool before refrigerating it seems logical but is misguided.

  • Reality Check: The danger zone for food is between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. Leaving food out to cool too long can allow bacteria to thrive.
  • Pro Tip: To minimize risk, divide large amounts of leftovers into smaller, shallower containers to cool them quicker. Ensure food is refrigerated within two hours of cooking to maintain safety.

Myth 3: You Can Thaw Food on the Counter

Thawing food on the counter is a practice steeped in tradition but fraught with risk.

  • Reality Check: Counter-top thawing can cause the outer layers of food to enter the danger zone while the inside remains frozen.
  • Safe Thawing Methods:
    • Refrigerator Thawing: The safest method, though it requires planning ahead.
    • Cold Water Thawing: Faster than the fridge but requires the food to be in a leak-proof package.
    • Microwave Thawing: The quickest method, but ensure you cook the food immediately after.

Myth 4: Baking Soda is Best for Absorbing Odors

Baking soda has long been touted as the go-to solution for a smelly fridge, but there's a more effective option available.

  • Reality Check: Activated charcoal outperforms baking soda in odor absorption, thanks to its larger surface area and porous structure.
  • Pro Tip: Keep an open container of activated charcoal in your fridge to combat odors effectively. Change it every two months for the best results.

Myth 5: Food is Safe Inside the Fridge During a Power Outage

Confidence in the refrigerator's ability to maintain safe temperatures during a power outage is misplaced.

  • Reality Check: If the power is out for less than four hours and the fridge door is kept closed, your food should be safe. However, any longer, and you're entering risky territory, especially for perishables.
  • Pro Tip: Discard any perishable food (like meat, dairy, and leftovers) that has been at temperatures above 40 degrees F for two hours or more. Keep a few ice packs or bags of ice in your freezer to help maintain its temperature during outages.

Myth 6: You Can Store Leftovers for a Couple of Weeks

The belief that leftovers are safe to eat after several weeks is a dangerous one.

  • Reality Check: Most leftovers have a fridge life of just a few days. Beyond that, the risk of foodborne illness increases.
  • Pro Tip: Label and date your leftovers to keep track of their freshness. When in doubt, the safest bet is to throw it out. As a general rule, aim to consume leftovers within four days.

Understanding the truths behind these myths is important for maintaining a safe and healthy kitchen. When it comes to food safety, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you're ever in doubt about the best practices for fridge maintenance or food storage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts. Sears Home Services offers comprehensive cleaning and maintenance services designed to keep your kitchen appliances in peak condition. Schedule your clean and maintain bundled service today and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your kitchen is in expert hands.

Schedule refrigerator maintenance now!

Extend the lifespan of your refrigerator and prevent unexpected and costly breakdowns with our routine maintenance service.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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