hotel mini fridge, with door open

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Keep Leftovers in a Hotel Mini Fridge

If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, you’ve probably noticed that your room comes equipped with a mini fridge, which may or may not come pre-stocked with expensive mini bottles of alcohol and snacks. And it makes sense, as most hotels recognize that the majority of travelers consider a fridge a desirable feature to have in their hotel room. After all, those mini fridges are quite handy. You can keep your drinks cold, and minimize your reliance on expensive room service by storing groceries and leftovers — or can you?

According to the USDA, a fridge needs to be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to keep food safe, since bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (known as the “danger zone”). Unfortunately, many hotel mini fridges aren’t cold enough to keep food out of that zone, potentially due to energy efficiency features. In addition, many hotel mini fridges are drink fridges or beverage coolers, usually between 41 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So, while it’s fine to keep your drinks in a hotel fridge, you may want to think twice about storing restaurant leftovers or other perishable food items.

What you need to know about your mini fridge

hote mini fridge, open with items

Not all hotel mini fridges are the same, and it’s important to figure out what kind you have before you try storing any leftovers in them. If you have an actual mini fridge with its own temperature control, make sure to set it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below (though not too low or else your food will freeze). If you can’t set the temperature or if you have a drink fridge, see if the front desk can change the setting or provide you with a mini fridge that can get cold enough. If that’s not possible, and you have items that must be kept cold, you can also try asking the hotel to store them in the kitchen fridge.

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Another option is to take advantage of another feature found in most hotels, the ice maker. If your item is small, place it in the ice bucket that comes with your room, fill it with ice, and store the entire bucket in the fridge. Don’t overpack the fridge, and minimize how often you open it to keep the cold air from escaping. And if you have any doubts, don’t try storing that leftover seafood in the fridge overnight, as it’s just not worth the risk.

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