The right temperature for your refrigerator is about 37°F (3°C). However, a range of 33–40°F (0–4°C) is generally accepted as safe for most purposes.

The typical factory setting for Whirlpool® refrigerators is the recommended 37°F (3°C), but temperatures on all refrigerators may need to be set higher or lower depending on your fridge's environment and other factors. Read on to get more answers to your temperature questions.

Why is it important to keep food cold enough?
Is your refrigerator the right temperature?
When should you adjust your fridge temp?
How do you change the fridge temperature?

Why is it important to keep food cold enough?

Chilling foods correctly helps them stay fresh and flavorful. It can also help prevent bacterial growth. Raising your refrigerator’s temperature above 40°F (4°C) could be harmful when storing dairy, eggs, meat and produce, which may naturally contain foodborne germs. You should also make sure to refrigerate any leftovers within two hours.

Refrigerator interior with a variety of items

Is your refrigerator the right temperature?

Always start with the temperature recommended in your refrigerator manual. Wait for about 24 hours after any changes, then check inside. The temperature is right when:

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Your juice and milk are as cold as you like them
Keeping your drinks on a lower shelf or towards the back of the refrigerator may help them stay colder. Learn more about the best way to organize and store food in your refrigerator. Some beverages, such as wine, may benefit from long term storage in a wine refrigerator or beverage center to keep them tasting their best. 

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There’s no ice on your food
If there is, your temperature might be set too low. Or, an emptier fridge could mean cold air sinks to the bottom rather than getting absorbed by items throughout. Learn more about how to stop food in your refrigerator from freezing

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Your fresh food doesn't spoil early
When considering what temperature the refrigerator should be, remember that a higher temp can make your food spoil faster. Keeping your refrigerator cool enough helps preserve foods.

Usage tip: Keep your fridge cool by getting in and out quickly, keeping it fully stocked and making sure that none of the air vents are blocked. Learn more about keeping temperatures consistent.

When should you adjust your fridge temp?

The environment around your fridge can affect how cold your refrigerator should be. If it’s in your garage or basement, you may need to adjust the temperature to account for humidity or outside temperatures. Only make small changes and wait at least 24 hours between changes to allow your refrigerator to adjust.

Temperature controls on a Whirlpool® refrigerator

How do you change the fridge temperature?

It depends on your refrigerator. Some controls are on the inner sides of the fridge, while others are on the edge of the door or at the top center. Some refrigerators let you change temperature in degrees, while others have numbers for general temperature ranges. You might press the up and down arrow keys or turn a dial to adjust. Check your manual for the specifics.

More about getting the most out of your refrigerator

How do you prevent freezer burn?

What is freezer burn?

The answer is fairly simple – when food is exposed to cold, dry air, the outer layers lose moisture.

The interior of a refrigerator organized with fresh food, beverages and produce

How to organize food in your refrigerator

The first and most important rule when it comes to refrigerator storage is: keep it at the optimal temperature.

Inside of an empty, clean refrigerator

How to clean your refrigerator - helpful tips

Cleaning the inside of your refrigerator isn’t fun, but it is essential.

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