Is it safe to store milk in the refrigerator door?

Different parts of the refrigerator have different degrees of temperatures as well as experience variations in the severity of temperature fluctuations.

The most susceptible area to temperature fluctuation happens to be the refrigerator door, according to experts. And that’s where you should avoid keeping perishables.

Milk, like any other perishable items out there such as cooked meat or stuffed snacks should never be stored on the refrigerator door according to many health authorities and experts, even when provisions for storage spaces are made for them.

The greater degree of temperature fluctuation occurs there, and it will cause the milk to constantly loose and gain heat which will cause a quicker abruption of the shell life.

The refrigerator door

The refrigerator door is the most susceptible area to temperature fluctuation in the fridge. And that’s understandable because it gets opened most of the time, making it nearly impossible to maintain a steady temperature at all times. This problem is even worsened in a mini fridge. And so if you’re cautioned to keep opened or closed milk away from the door of a regular refrigerator, then you should expect to be banned from doing so in a mini fridge because of its generally more susceptibility to losing internal temperature than standard fridges when opened, by virtue of its size and design.

Where to keep milk in the fridge

As far as where to keep milk in the fridge is concerned, experts advise that you keep them at the back of the refrigerator near the fan if your fridge has one. Just the back of the refrigerator is okay, because that’s where the most stability is, and that’s where the coldest part of the refrigerator resides. In this place, the milk will keep for as long as the listed date and even for an additional 5 to 7 days, so long it is tightly sealed in its packaging. I prefer storing milk in its original packaging because I feel it protects, preserves flavor and nutritional content even more.

When storing milk in this area, avoid keeping it too close to food items that give out odor, the milk can pick up on the odor and lead to discomfort when consuming.

Keep fridges at stable and steady temperature.

Milk likes cold according to one research, and a correlation between an increase in shell life and decrease in refrigerator temperature was found in a study published in 2018. That’s why milk last longest in the freezer, and when kept in a fridge maintained at a consistent temperature of 40 F and lower.

Now if your fridge struggles to keep to this internal temperature, then your milk will definitely have a shorter life span as it will go bad more quickly due to the changes in temperature, and even shorter when stored in the door.

So it is crucial to not only avoid keeping milk in the door, but to make sure your fridge is in good condition first, i.e. able to maintain a steady internal temperature in the first place, and then proper practices like the arrangement of food items in a neat fashion in the fridge to avoid keeping the refrigerator door open for long which will cause some of the cold to escape and in their place, hot air to rush inside the fridge.

How to tell when milk has gone bad

The dates imprinted on your milk carton isn’t always a reliable indicator of when your milk is still or bad. Milk can spoil before or after its use by date depending on the way you handle it, and on other factors such as storage conditions too.

For any milk that has gone bad, the smell is often sour, resulting from the lactic acid produced by the activities of spoilage bacteria. A spoilt milk will also have a distinct lumpy texture and adopt a yellow hue.

While taking a sip or two of expired or even spoiled milk is unlikely to develop any side effects in the individual in question, it could at large quantities and especially when the individual is already compromised. Sometimes, just a sip or two is enough to trigger side effects in certain individuals, and so you want to make sure to simply discard any milk that you suspect has gone bad through the acid test of sight and smell.

Frequently Asked Question

How long does milk last in the freezer

The freezer is the best place to extend the storage life of milk. In there, it can last a solid 6 months, but is best used within the first month of storage for optimal quality. Milk tends to degrade with freezing duration and thus the reason why you need to use them quicker.

To freeze milk, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze, then transfer into a freezer friendly bag and store with the date and label on. When it comes to defrosting, do so in the refrigerator as opposed to the counter to prevent bacterial growth.

When freezing, thawing and using milk, you’re most likely going to run into fat separation. And depending on the type of milk, there is a whole lot of variety, you may or may not be able to fix that. Normally, the best way to attempt doing so is to run the milk through a blender and see if it smoothens out.

Final Verdict

Storing milk in the refrigerator door is not bad, but it can shorten the shell life of the product by a solid one day or even two especially when it’s opened already. The reason is because the refrigerator door is the most susceptible to temperature fluctuations which can cause the milk to go bad easily.

If however, you have limited space in your fridge and are dealing with only little quantity of milk you’re sure can be devoured in the next few days, then storing it inside the shelves on the refrigerator door wouldn’t do any noticeable damage.

For larger quantities of milk you’re planning on keeping for more than more than 2 weeks or more, it’s best to freeze them to extend storage life.