8 Items You Shouldn’t Store on the Top of Your Fridge, According to Safety Experts


Let’s talk about the items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge!

When space is limited, it’s essential to maximize every inch of the kitchen. If you have a small kitchen, you need to get a little creative to find innovative ways to organize stuff. Lazy Susans, stackable bins, and other space-saving ideas make the most out of tight situations. There’s one place you should think twice about before filling it with things, though: the top of your refrigerator.

“Oh, that’s ridiculous! There’s plenty of room up there!” you may say. It’s basically begging you to store something there. What could be the harm? This is what this article is about!

Even though there’s a lot of usable space on your refrigerator, safety experts say it’s not a great idea. Here are 11 items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge!

items you shouldn't store on the top of your fridge
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1. Cookbooks

The internet is a great source for recipe inspiration, but sometimes a handy copy of “Joy of Cooking” or a cherished family recipe has no digital counterpart. Moreover, if you cook often, you want those go-tos somewhere close, so most people think it’s best to keep them directly above the refrigerator surface.

Unfortunately, cookbooks are items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge because they are a fire hazard. According to safety experts, paper and other flammable objects shouldn’t be placed on an appliance that’s working so hard.

This is also true for the loose paper you may have tucked into the cookbooks, like magazine tear-outs and recipe cards. If these fall behind the refrigerator, they can block ventilation. Not to mention that recipe books are heavy! If one lands right on your head, you will wish you’d just kept it in the pantry.

2. Medicine

Medicine comes next on the list of items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. Because it’s up high, the place can seem like a safe spot to stash this stuff, but it’s not. If you’ve ever read the label on your prescriptions and OTCs, you’ve likely seen these words: “Store in a cool, dry place.”

The top of your refrigerator is by no means like that. In fact, anywhere near a kitchen appliance is just the opposite, so keep the medicines in the drug cabinet if you want them to lose their efficiency.

There’s one more reason why meds are items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. For those with kids, they may know how determined the little ones can be. Even if your child isn’t a daredevil, having drugs out in the open instead of behind a locked cabinet is a potential disaster waiting to occur.

3. Bread

Bread and baked goods like bagels and rolls are also among the items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. These are goods that don’t need any help going bad—they do that well enough on their own. A store-bought white bread may last around a week, while a flaky homemade baguette may only last a day or two. And that’s only with proper storage, which clearly isn’t on the surface above your refrigerator.

Keep in mind that ventilation is critical, and obstructing the airflow with a loaf of bread doesn’t work out well for the bread (or the refrigerator). As safety experts point out, the airflow is also warm, which dries food items out and can make them stale. When it comes to plastic-bagged bread, the conditions become favorable for mold.

air fryer
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4. Small appliances

Storing appliances that don’t see daily use, like air fryers and rice cookers, can be a challenge. Some can be pretty bulky, which means getting them out of the way is a priority. At the same time, you don’t want to make it super difficult to drag them out when needed.

So the top of the refrigerator may seem like the best spot for that. If cupboard space is limited, that is some prime real estate.

You may want to think twice, though, because small appliances are also items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. The main reason is that they can easily shift and fall. Every time you open and close the refrigerator door, the appliance from above moves ever so slightly, potentially getting closer to the edge.

For this reason, it’s best to store somewhere else this kind of stuff.

Read on to discover other items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge!

5. Cereal

Cereal boxes never seem to fit in kitchen cabinets, do they? Depending on how big they are, there may not be enough space to store them upright. Place them on their side, and you risk spills, especially if the box isn’t closed before it’s put away.

Oh, but hey! There’s space above the fridge, and it has no height restrictions! Unfortunately, this spot isn’t a great idea. Unstable and lightweight, cereal boxes are a hazard trifecta: they block ventilation, they’re flammable, and they can easily fall on or behind the refrigerator.

Moreover, if left open, cereal stales quickly and can also attract pests, which is a food and household safety hazard.

Next time you feel tempted to put them up there, remember they are items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. Instead, keep them in a cupboard or your pantry using airtight food-storage containers, which keep your food fresh.

6. TV trays and platters

Oversized, flat household essentials always seem to end up on the refrigerator top because, really, where can they go? For instance, TV trays need to be handy, but unless you have a dedicated cabinet, storage is tricky.

The surface above your fridge looks so inviting after you’ve been aimlessly pacing about trying to find a good spot. However, according to safety experts, objects like trays and platters are items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. But they point out that not all risk is equal.

For instance, larger platters that are reasonably flat carry less risk, but you still need to use a heatproof rubber mat to ensure you keep objects from moving around.

glass jars
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7. Glass bowls and jars

Next on the list of items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge are glass bowls and jars. Casserole dishes, Mason jars, mixing bowls, and everything in between are heavy, and if they fall on you or some member of the family, it can be dangerous and painful.

Nestling bowls together in a cabinet is safe, but stacking them on your refrigerator can cause some serious issues if they shift. Moreover, all the crannies and nooks of bowls and glass kitchen items harbor grease and dust, which experts say are pest and fire hazards.

8. A cookie jar

Last but not least, add cookie jars to the list of items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge. Cookies and other goodies go stale easily if kept on the refrigerator, succumbing to the same airflow and heat issues that take down a loaf of bread.

To keep your cookies fresh, get unbreakable, airtight food storage containters (here are some great options) and store your sweets there instead of a cookie jar.

Safety experts say cookie jars are items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge because kids can easily be tempted to get to them. The few extra feet to the top of the refrigerator won’t faze them, so they can climb up, which is a bad idea. The risk of them falling is high.

So keep those special jars anywhere but the surface above your refrigerator.

If you liked our article on items you shouldn’t store on the top of your fridge, you may also want to read Revitalize, Don’t Replace: 8 Ways to Modernize an Outdated Kitchen.