Should perfume be kept in the fridge?

Perfume storage can be confusing. Some people keep their perfume in the bathroom, while others prefer to store it in a dark, temperature-controlled place like a closet or dresser drawer. But what about the refrigerator? Is the fridge an ideal storage place for perfume, or should it be avoided?

Quick Overview: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Refrigerating Perfume

There are pros and cons to keeping perfume in the refrigerator.

Potential benefits include:

  • Cool temperatures can help perfume last longer before it starts to degrade
  • Condensation and humidity are low inside refrigerators, which perfume oils prefer
  • Sunlight and heat are blocked inside a refrigerator

However, there are also some possible drawbacks:

  • Opening and closing the refrigerator frequently can subject perfume to temperature fluctuations
  • Food odors or spills could affect the scent
  • The cold may shock perfume and cause separation between alcohol and oils

Many perfume experts advise against refrigerating fragrances unless you take special precautions. But some people do store their perfume in the fridge successfully. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what works best for your situation.

Does Refrigeration Extend the Life of Perfume?

One of the main proposed benefits of refrigerated perfume storage is that the cool, stable temperatures can help fragrances last longer before deteriorating.

Perfumes and colognes consist of volatile aromatic compounds suspended or dissolved in a solvent – typically ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Exposure to heat, light, and oxygen causes the volatile compounds to evaporate off over time, eventually changing the scent.

Lower temperatures slow down this evaporation process through a basic scientific principle: molecules have lower energy and move around less when cold. So in theory, chilling a perfume in the fridge with temperatures around 40°F could make it last longer before evaporating and oxidizing compared to letting it sit in a 75°F bathroom.

However, the extent of this impact is debated. Some sources estimate refrigeration may double the lifespan of some fragrances. But other experts argue the difference is negligible compared to proper storage habits like keeping perfume bottles sealed and in a cool, dark place.

Real-World Examples

Anecdotal reports from perfume wearers who refrigerate their collections offer mixed results.

Some have noticed no discernible differences in how long scents last compared to their unrefrigerated bottles. The cold temperatures don’t seem to delay evaporation or oxidation in a significant way.

However, others swear that refrigeration makes their fragrances last noticeably longer – sometimes years past the expected lifespan if stored at room temperature. In these cases, it seems the cool environment effectively slows the degradation process.

Overall, scientific research on this specific topic is lacking. But based on chemistry principles, it seems logical that very low fridge temperatures could potentially extend perfume life if stored properly.

Are There Any Risks to Refrigerating Perfume?

Despite the potential benefits, many perfume experts warn against keeping fragrances in the refrigerator. Some concerns include:

Temperature Shock

Exposing perfume to severe temperature changes can stress the formula and cause the oils to separate from the alcohol. This can happen when taking a bottle from a 75°F room into 40°F refrigerator temperatures and back again with daily use.

The shock of cold can cause emulsions between oil and alcohol components to break down. Shaking may remix them temporarily, but frequent temperature swings could lead to permanent separation over time.

Humidity and Condensation

Opening and closing a refrigerator frequently allows the cold interior air to interact with warmer room air. This fluctuation introduces moisture that can lead to condensation forming on perfume bottles.

Excess moisture can damage perfume quality. However,condensation may be minimized by keeping bottles toward the back of the fridge away from the door.

Food Odors and Spills

Refrigerators contain food, drinks, and other products that give off odors. These smells could potentially leach into perfume oils over time.

Spills are also a hazard, especially if bottles are kept on lower shelves. Leaked juices, sauces, dairy, and other products could permanently ruin fragrance quality if they get on the exterior glass.

Keeping perfumes in a sealed plastic storage bin offers some protection. But the close proximity of food still makes contamination a risk.

Light Exposure

Although refrigerators are dark inside when closed, opening the door frequently lets in light. This intermittent exposure can still damage light-sensitive perfume oils each time the door is opened.

UV-filtering sleeves or amber bottles help minimize light exposure. Keeping bottles toward the back further limits contact with light.

Tips for Refrigerating Perfume Successfully

If you want to store your perfume collection in the fridge, here are some tips to give them the best chance of staying fresh for as long as possible:

  • Allow time to adjust to the temperature – Don’t immediately place perfume in the fridge. Let it sit in a dark place like a closet for a few weeks first to slowly acclimate and minimize shock.
  • Keep bottles toward the back – Place perfumes far away from the door where temperature fluctuates less as it opens and closes.
  • Seal bottles tightly – Ensure caps are secure so oils can’t oxidize from air exposure.
  • Limit openings – Only open the fridge when necessary to maintain a stable interior environment.
  • Use protective sleeves – Sleeves or dark amber bottles prevent light damage each time the door opens.
  • Isolate perfumes – Keep them together in a sealed plastic bin or on designated shelves away from food spill risks.
  • Consider refrigerator age and condition – Older fridges with worn door seals and poor temperature control won’t store perfumes as effectively.

With the right habits, the fridge may help prolong perfume life. But plenty of people still prefer room temperature storage to avoid any risks.

What About Other Cosmetics Like Lotions?

The fridge isn’t just for perfume – some people also refrigerate other cosmetics like lotions and creams. Does it help them last longer too?

It’s a similar situation as with perfumes. The cold can slow down ingredient breakdown in the products, extending freshness. But only if they don’t suffer from condensation, contamination, and temperature shock like fragrances.

Items containing water-based ingredients like lotions are most prone to condensation issues from fridge humidity. Oils and silicone-based products adapt better.

To avoid contamination, cosmetics need sealed, dedicated storage away from food. Only products in jars or pumps work – anything that requires dipping fingers in won’t stay sanitary.

As with perfumes, limit temperature fluctuations by keeping items toward the back and giving time to adjust when first refrigerated. With the right precautions, beauty products can potentially stay usable for longer thanks to refrigeration.

What About Other Household Items Like Batteries or Film?

Aside from cosmetics, a few other household items benefit from chilled storage in the refrigerator:


Keeping batteries in the fridge can extend their shelf life by slowing the chemical reactions that cause power loss. The battery University recommends refrigeration for any batteries not in regular use, especially rechargeable ones.

Allow batteries to return to room temperature before use to avoid moisture condensing on the metal from temperature shock.

Undeveloped Film

Film for analog cameras retains quality longer when refrigerated prior to developing. Keep it in a sealed, lightproof bag.

As with batteries, allow film to slowly warm up to room temperature before loading in a camera to prevent condensation issues.

Wine, Kombucha, and Beer Brewing Ingredients

Fermentation ingredients like yeast, bacteria cultures, hops, and malt extracts maintain viability longer when refrigerated according to food science experts, extending their shelf life.

Just keep them sealed and in a clearly marked area away from food to prevent accidentally ingesting.

What Items Should You Avoid Keeping in the Fridge?

On the flip side, some common household items do NOT benefit from refrigerated storage and should be kept at room temperature. These include:

  • Most cosmetics besides perishable natural creams
  • Candles
  • Soap
  • Spices and dried herbs
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee beans or grounds
  • Honey and syrups
  • Stuffed animals
  • Musical instruments
  • Books and paper products

The moisture and fluctuating temperatures in a refrigerator can damage these items in various ways or fail to provide any storage benefits over room temperature conditions.


At the end of the day, whether you should keep perfume in the fridge comes down to personal preference.

The science shows lowered constant temperatures could potentially slow perfume degradation. But plenty of fragrances still last years when stored properly at room temperature.

Refrigerating introduces risks like temperature shock, moisture, contaminants, and light exposure – requiring special precautions to mitigate.

There’s no universally agreed upon answer. If you notice no obvious benefits for your collection, room temperature storage may make the most sense. But the fridge can be a viable option if handled carefully.

Test a few bottles to see if extended longevity is noticeable for your particular perfumes and refrigerator conditions. This will give you the best personalized answer on whether it’s worthwhile.

Leave a Comment