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How to Keep Food Cold Without Electricity

How to Keep Food Cold Without Electricity

When the power goes out, one of the biggest concerns is keeping food cool to prevent spoilage. While your food won't go bad right away, long power outages can lead to bacteria growth and wasted food. In this guide, we'll show you practical ways to keep your fridge and freezer cold when you lose power. Let's get started.

4 Ways to Keep Perishable Food Cold Without Electricity

Here are some innovative ways to keep food cold without electricity:

1) Keep the Refrigerator and Freezer Doors Closed


refrigerator with doors open
Credit: Envato Elements/ maxxyustas

Every time you open the refrigerator and freezer doors, you let cold air escape and warm air enter, which can cause the temperature inside to rise quickly. This makes it harder for your fridge and freezer to keep your food cold during a power outage. Try to open the door only when absolutely necessary and know what you need before you open it, so you can grab it quickly and close the door again.

2) Pack Dry Ice in Your Fridge


dry ice with smoke coming out
Credit: Envato Elements/ thichaa

Before a storm or if you anticipate a power loss, consider buying dry ice. Place it carefully on top of cardboard in your freezer or fridge. This prevents direct contact with the food and surfaces, which can cause freezing or damage. Always handle dry ice with gloves to protect your hands from frostbite. Dry ice can help preserve your food for an additional 18-24 hours, depending on how much you use and how often you open your fridge or freezer.

3) Transfer Food to a Cooler and Use Insulation


different color coolers
Credit: Envato Elements/ photobalance

If you expect the power outage to last a long time, it's a good idea to transfer all the food that's more likely to spoil into a cooler. Fill the cooler with ice packs, block ice, or ice cubes to keep everything cold. Pack it tightly with food, as a full cooler stays cold longer than one that's partly empty. Group food that's more likely to melt at the bottom.

If you don't have a cooler, you can also wrap your fridge shelves in blankets or towels for extra insulation. Do not block the vents inside your fridge.

4) Use Natural Cooling Methods


man and woman carrying red cooler
Credit: Envato Elements/ YuriArcursPeopleImages

If the temperature outside is cooler than inside, consider placing your cooler in a shaded spot outdoors, like under a tree or on the north side of your house where it receives less sunlight. You can also bury your cooler in the ground if possible, as the soil can provide natural insulation and maintain the cooler’s temperature. Make sure the cooler is secure and covered to protect it from animals or rain.

At What Temperature Should the Food Be?


different temperatures
Credit: Envato Elements/ fauziEv8

The refrigerator should maintain a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below, while the freezer should be at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature inside your fridge and freezer. Food that remains outside these temperatures for more than 2 hours becomes risky to consume and should be discarded to ensure food safety.

Which Foods Are More Prone to Getting Spoilt?


plate with spoilt fruits
Credit: Envato Elements/ 13people

Here are some foods that are at risk at getting spoilt when not refrigerated:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, etc
  • Eggs
  • Leftovers
  • Fresh produce, especially cut fruits and vegetables

Note: Refrigerated food like bread, certain hard cheeses, and whole fruits and vegetables are less prone to rapid spoilage and can last a bit longer at higher temperatures.


Can I use regular ice from my freezer in a cooler?

Yes, you can use regular ice to keep food cool. However, be aware that regular ice may melt faster than alternative options like ice packs or dry ice.

How long will food stay cold in a cooler without electricity?

For up to 4-6 hours. However, this will depend on the quality of insulation, the type of cooling method used, and the ambient temperature.

How can I safely dispose of dry ice used for cooling without electricity?

When disposing of dry ice used for cooling, it's essential to handle it carefully to avoid skin contact, as it can cause frostbite. Allow the dry ice to sublimate completely in a well-ventilated area or place it in a container with a lid that's not completely sealed to prevent pressure buildup. Never dispose of dry ice in a closed container or airtight space.


With these practical tips and techniques, you can effectively keep food cold without electricity in various situations. By investing in the right equipment, using natural cooling methods, and practicing proper food storage techniques, you can ensure that your perishables remain fresh and safe to consume, even when the power is out.

Want to keep your perishable foods colder for longer? Check out Nice Packs dry ice packs. They're reliable, easy to use, and can keep your fridge cold for extended periods. Shop with us today.

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