Help and advice

Fridge/Freezer

Looking after your fridge/fridge-freezer
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Even if you have fridge freezer protection, it makes sense to look after your appliance.

Both your fridge and freezer will work most efficiently if they aren't too close to any heat sources (such as a radiator or cooker) and there's plenty of room for air to circulate around the outside.

Close the door

Make sure you don't keep the door open for longer than you need - it takes three to four minutes for it to regain its temperature. Check seals regularly to see if any warm air is getting in - the seals should be tight enough to hold a piece of paper securely when the doors are closed.

Defrosting

Defrosting may be a chore but you’ll instantly make your fridge or fridge freezer more energy efficient. If yours doesn't have auto defrost, keep an eye out for frost build-up. As a general rule, if it's carrying more than 3-4cm of ice, you should defrost it.

Cleaning

Clean all your fridge's internal and external surfaces regularly with a disinfecting all-purpose cleaner. Use a solution of detergent to remove mould growth on stained door seals. If any smells linger, wash with a solution of warm water and bicarbonate of soda (15ml to 1 litre). Dry thoroughly.

If the inside back wall has a sheet of frozen ice on it, the drain channel at the back may be blocked. Any trapped debris will create a nasty smell as it decomposes - as well as presenting a potential health risk.
Temperature

Use a fridge and freezer thermometer. Your fridge should be no more than +5ºC in its coldest part and your freezer should be between -18ºC and - 22ºC. You may need to adjust the temperature dial depending on the time of year to maintain this.

Storing food

Make sure food is properly wrapped and in suitable containers to keep it fresh and free from cross-contamination.

  • Keep eggs in the box so you can keep an eye on the 'use by' date, unless the eggs are date stamped individually.
  • Cover leftovers and eat within two days.
  • Don't keep open cans in the fridge. Transfer contents into a storage container or covered bowl and use within two days
  • Never put hot food in the fridge. You're making the fridge work harder than it needs to.

Stocking your fridge

Whilst a well stocked freezer is more energy-efficient, an over-packed fridge isn't. A fridge needs good air circulation. Don't overload it and it won't have to work so hard to keep the temperature down.

  • Use the first–in, first-out rule to ensure nothing lingers too long.
  • Keep dry foods, such as ready-to-eat foods, cheeses, cooked meats and sandwiches at the top.
  • Wet foods, such as raw meat, should be kept well covered and at the bottom.

Disposing of your fridge

Old fridges and freezers can be damaging to the environment so they need to be disposed of carefully. Contact your local authority to check if your nearest recycling centre accepts them. Some offer a collection service for a fee. Alternatively, visit www.recyclenow.com to find out if there are any commercial recycling companies or reuse schemes for fridges/freezers in your area.