10 Things You Really Shouldn't Refrigerate

Some things are simply better left at room temperature.

Cartoon fridge with door open
Photo: Getty Images

The refrigerator may seem like an all-purpose spot for storing different kinds of food, but that's not really the case—certain foods have no business hanging out in the fridge. While this space is typically reserved for vegetable and fruit storage, (meats and dairy belong in the refrigerator, naturally), these rules aren't always true. Certain veggies and condiments thrive best at temperatures above that of a chilly refrigerator, and storing them in the fridge can actually shorten their shelf lives—and even worsen the quality of the food.

Follow our guideline and earn where to keep your food so it lasts longer—what could be better than saving money while cutting down on food waste? With any luck, you'll never reach for a loaf of bread only to find it past its prime again.

01 of 10

Hot Sauce

Bottle of hot sauce
Foodcollection/Getty Images

Hot sauce can live happily in the pantry for up to three years, so there is no need to stick it in the fridge.

02 of 10


Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Refrigeration adversely affects the flavor of potatoes, so store them in the pantry in paper bags—plastic bags trap moisture and speed up decay. Most varieties should last three weeks.

03 of 10


Loaf of bread
Robin MacDougall/Getty Images

The refrigerator dries bread out fast. Instead, keep what you'll eat within four days at room temperature and freeze the rest.

04 of 10


Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Onions like their original mesh bag (or any bag that allows for air circulation) in the pantry. Just keep onions away from potatoes, which emit moisture and gases that can cause onions to rot.

05 of 10


several batteries in a pile
Michele Gastl

Stash batteries in a drawer at room temperature. Extreme cold (or heat) can diminish performance.

06 of 10


Davies & Starr

Garlic will do well for two months in the pantry. Store it loose, so air can move around it.

07 of 10



Tomatoes can get mealy in the fridge, so leave them on a counter, out of plastic bags. To speed ripening, store them in a paper bag. Once ripe, they'll last for about three days.

08 of 10


Two coffee beans
Yagi Studio/Getty Images

The fridge (and the freezer) create condensation, which can affect the flavor of both ground coffee and coffee beans. Coffee fares best in an airtight container in the pantry, instead.

09 of 10

Nail Polish

bottle of nail polish
Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Keeping nail polish in the fridge can cause it to thicken. Store nail polish at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for best results.

10 of 10

Winter Squashes

Pamela Moore/Getty Images

You've surely picked one up at the farmers market and thought: "Does squash need to be refrigerated?" Varieties of squash such as acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti will last for about a month or more in the pantry.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles