How Long to Wait Before Putting Food in a New Refrigerator?

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Are you about to put food in your new refrigerator immediately after installing it? 

Not so fast! Hold up, otherwise, you run the risk of doing damage to your fridge. 

Here's what you need to know: For every new cooling unit bought — wait a while before using it. 

But, why? And what is the specific time frame to wait before putting your edibles in the refrigerator? 

Keep reading to find out.

How Long to Wait Before Putting Food in a New Refrigerator

There's no hard and fast rule on how long to wait before putting food in the refrigerator.  However, to be on the safe side, it is best to wait 4 hours before putting food in your new refrigerator.

Refrigerator in the kitchen

Why do we say that? 

Usually, it takes an average of two hours before a new refrigerator is cool enough to preserve your groceries. 

Moreover, storing your hot meal in it prevents it from attaining its coldest temperature as soon as possible. According to USDA, your fridge should reach at least a 40F before putting food in it.

Related reading: How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold?

What Do Experts Have to Say?


Want to get an expert opinion? 

Procool agrees with us that two hours is the minimum time to wait before using your new fridge. 


In like manner, Samsung experts explain that it is best to wait two to four hours before putting food in a new fridge. It must have reached a 0oF then. 

Besides, for your own good, check if it is cooling during that time. That way, you can decide whether you want to keep the refrigerator or return it. 

Check out reviews of the best Samsung refrigerators on Amazon.

How Long to Wait Before Putting Hot Food Inside a New Refrigerator?

Let's take a wild guess: maybe you believe that it’s best to leave hot food to cool for a very long time before putting in your refrigerator. Wrong!

Here’s the myth buster:  your hot food should not be left out for too long before putting it in the refrigerator. It’s best to let it cool for two hours before storing in the refrigerator.

Think about this for a moment — the reason food is kept in a refrigerator is to prevent it from spoiling.  Surprisingly enough, Nutrition expert Shalini Manglani explains that allowing it to cool for more than two hours will encourage that process to start quicker.

Now, hang on! If you've done the math, you should know that your hot eatables should be ready two hours before plugging in your new refrigerator.

How Long to Wait Before Plugging in a New Refrigerator?

You might be wondering: if I have to wait two hours before using my new fridge when is the best time to plug it in after bringing it home? Is it as soon as I get home? Maybe I should wait for a while? How long do I really have to wait?

Relax; we have everything you need to know here. For starters, you need to let it stand upright before turning it on. 

New Refrigerator in the Kitchen

Why do you have to do that?

Your refrigerator gets shaken a lot while moving from the tech store to your home. 

Did you know that refrigerators contain fluids that are used to cool their compartments? Well, if you didn’t know before, you do now! 

When you think about it, it makes sense to allow them to stand so they can settle before you turn them on. Try to give your new fridge at least four hours before you plug it in.

What To Do Before Putting Food in a New Refrigerator

1. Clean It Up

You may wonder:  do I need to clean a new refrigerator? After all, isn't it brand new? 

Just think about it, refrigerators are manufactured products. They go through a process of packaging and boxing before being put up for sale. 

Imagine all the chemicals that were used during manufacturing. The simple truth is, some remnants which can be harmful to your food and health may be left behind.  

So, how do you clean a new fridge? 

It’s simple! Use a soft piece of cloth and soapy water to wipe it clean. That’s all!

2. Plug-in the Refrigerator

Now that you have read our article, you should know how long to wait before you plug in a new refrigerator.  But, as a reminder, plug it in two to four hours after it’s had a chance to stand still. 

3. Check the Temperature

Remember: you should check the temperature every 30 minutes. After two hours, make sure that the temperature is at a 00F. However, after the first day of using it, you can maintain the temperature at 34F to 40F. 

4. Let Your Hot Food Cool for Two Hours

By now, you should be able to put hot meals inside the fridge. Keep your hot meals like freshly-made soup close to the freezer compartment. 

5. Arrange Your Edibles 

Now, when all of that is done, you can put your fruits, veggies, and all other perishables in it. Of course, you do not need to put non-perishable food in your fridge. 

Why do we say that? 

Non-perishable food may begin to spoil if the temperature of your fridge is unstable. Also, check out our article for the healthiest non-perishable food items.

Foods that are supposed to remain frozen like ice cream, fish, berries for smoothies, etc., should be kept in the freezer compartment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Happens if You Put Food in Your New Fridge Too Soon?

Warning! Never immediately put your eatables in a new fridge. 

Why? Because a lot of things can happen if you do that. You may end up spoiling both your food and the fridge. 

The worst-case scenario: you may end up realizing you bought a faulty home appliance. The trick is to make sure to allow it to cool before putting food in it.

What Happens if You Plug In Your Fridge Too Soon?

How soon is too soon? 

If you plug in your fridge before four hours of getting it — that is too soon. What happens then is you put it at risk of damage. 

How Long Until You Can Use a New Fridge?

If the fridge was moved on its side, wait for four hours before using it. However, if it was moved upright, you can wait for just one hour.

What Happens When You Don’t Let Your Fridge Settle?

You have probably heard before that you should let your fridge settle before using it.  

But, what happens if you don’t? 

The lubricants in the compressor may flow out of the compressor. It gets worse from there. Absence of the oil inside the compressor can cause damage to it if plugged in before it settles.


To sum up, no matter how much of a hurry you are in, wait at least two hours before putting food in a new refrigerator. While you are waiting, make sure your fridge stands upright up for four hours before turning it on. 

Also, be sure to thoroughly clean your new cooling unit before putting any food in it.

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