Sorry, but You Shouldn't Store Leftovers in Your Hotel Mini Fridge

Lifehacker reported that most hotel mini fridges wouldn't path a health inspection test.

A hotel mini fridge
Photo: Surachet Shotivaranon / Getty Images

Hotel rooms aren't exactly the place to find the best food and beverage options. Even in the finest hotels, it can often be a game of "is this even worth it?" From just-OK coffee pods to "meh"-level minibar snacks that cost about a month's rent, it's typically just good enough to get by. (Note: There are a few exceptions to this rule.)

So, you may be tempted to bring your own items to store in the mini fridge so you can have something on-hand when you're feeling thirsty or peckish. But hang on, because it turns out most hotel mini fridges are pretty middle-of-the-road, too.

In July, Lifehacker reported that most of the mini fridges you find in hotel rooms wouldn't pass a health inspection test, as they are often left at a temperature too high to properly store food.

It pointed to several forums, including one on Tripadvisor for the AX Seashells Resort at Suncrest, where a traveler asked, "I keep reading the fridge in the rooms are not cold, why is this?" The post has more than a dozen replies from hotel workers and previous guests explaining that often hotel fridges are actually simply "coolers," meaning they keep minibar items chilled just enough to make them tempting for you to purchase.

"The temperature is low enough to keep drinks cool," the property manager shared on the forum.

"​​The cooler temperature is set to 15 celsius (59 Fahrenheit)," one guest added. "The electricity in the room turns off when you leave the room. This is a safety precaution of this hotel."

The thing is, you really can't fault the hotels on this one, as many may actually be looking out for guest satisfaction. Lifehacker pointed to Knitec, a company that supplies mini fridges to hotels. It now has a mini fridge on the market with a snooze feature, which "will temporarily shut down the refrigerator and turn it back on after a predetermined period of time." On the flip side, it at least comes with a Quick Chill function to allow guests to "rapidly cool their beverages and groceries while they settle into the room."

Still, there are plenty of reasons a person may forgo the comfort of a pin-drop quiet room in exchange for a noisy fridge, including the need to store medications, breast milk, or must-have perishables.

If that's the case for your travels, your best bet is to alert the front desk manager and ask to store your items in their kitchen refrigerator or ask that they set your room's mini fridge to the appropriate temperature. Or, if you can set it yourself, make sure the mini fridge is set to 40 Fahrenheit or below. That's the temperature the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the USDA recommends for safely store foods.

And maybe avoid storing leftover seafood in your room for the next day. Trust us. Even the best seafood fra diavolo just isn't worth it 24 hours later.

Updated by Stacey Leasca
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