Which condiments can I leave out of fridge?

When Airbnb guests are staying in my house I like to leave a completely empty fridge, besides water.

This means I have to drag the condiments with me, or buy new ones. I’ve thought about getting an extra fridge for the basement, which is locked. Not sure it’s worth the extra expense, though.

Do these things really need to be refrigerated?

Steak sauce/ HP sauce
Salad dressing
Worcestershire sauce
Fresh ginger

I’ve read conflicting things about all of them.


I would say Jam, butter yes.

Ginger I keep in the freezer and just grate off what I need as I use it.

Eggs yes but not in the fridge door where many put them.

The rest no

Are you saying those things need to be in the fridge?

What about maple syrup? Jarred horseradish?


2.I don’t keep maple syrup in the fridge and make horseradish sauce from fresh, so not sure but I would imagine yes.

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Sugar and salt are preservatives so anything with high salt or sugar content is shelf stable for a few days some times longer.

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From the today show. More conservative than my list

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I’m American and we’re conditioned to refrigerate everthing. I also think that refrigeration would extend shelf life. Not sure if purchasing another refrigerator would be a good investment when condiments are not costly.


Quite honestly HP sauce and other sauces will literally keep for years in a cupboard. Uncovered butter left out goes off quickly after a few days, particularly in warmer climes.


The real answer is: it depends. It depends mostly on these factors:

  1. How long you are leaving the items un-refrigerated.
  2. What is the ambient temperature of the un-refrigerated space.
  3. How much contamination is already in the items from being open and used.

My best guess is that if it’s just a couple weeks or less in ambient temperature below 80F, then everything except the eggs and butter can be left out. But, I don’t really understand the problem. Is this a listing where a guest rents your whole house while you are away and you are going to move the items to an un-refrigerated area only for the period that the guests are present? If so, for how long and how frequently might an item need to be left un-refrigerated before it gets replaced?

I actually provide most of those items for guests and they use and appreciate them. I’d say leave them in the refrigerator and let the guests use them. Write off what guests use as a business expense.


Most of the guest stays are short. Say 2-3 days. We stay in a different place. The longest reservation I have coming up this summer is 7 nights.

I’ve seen reviews complaining about host food in the fridge for entire house rentals.

It’s not the expense I care about.

Edit: there are also hygiene issues. I have no way of knowing if the guests would do gross things, like eat jam with a spoon, and dip the the same spoon back in.

I had a house mate many years ago who would take little sips of A-1 steak sauce directly from the bottle…

I’m not sure which of these statements to give more weight to. LOL. I’d put a small fridge in the basement. It’s great to have a spare if one goes out, or for the annual get together where there is lots of food or for peace of mind. Get the spare fridge, move the stuff into it when you book the house and sleep easy knowing your food is safe and your guests aren’t strange or think you are.


Good idea, and if you want to save the expense of the extra electricity, you can always clean it thoroughly and unplug it when you know that it won’t be in use for an extended period.

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In order to stop guests moving condiments from the cupboard to the fridge or back according to what they think is “correct” I provide one of each in both.
ps. Worcestershire sauce (my favourite for scrambled eggs) does not need to be refrigerated.

Anything with mayonnaise in it needs to be refrigerated once opened. Oil based dressings can go rancid quickly in warm temps.

Maple syrup can mold at room temperature if you don’t use it every day.

In my younger days a roommate once posted this on our refrigerator:


Only butter Imo
And beer definitely beer

It depends on the location.
In Europe eggs should always be stored outside the fridge.

In the US you have to keep them in the fridge.

The difference is that in the US the eggs get washed, and by doing this the shell looses the natural protection.

Butter can easily be stored outside a fridge for up to 2 weeks. So it depends on how fast you use it.

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It makes a big difference on time of year and indoor temp. It’s not unusual for it to be high 70’s (F) or even low 80s inside my home in the summer, at peak temp. But in places in Europe, North America, New Zealand where it’s never that warm things can be left out and left out longer.

We intentionally stock a few condiments in our refrigerator, and our collection is actually growing as guests leave some too. We also leave a nice selection of spices in the cupboard. I’ve received positive comments in reviews that they appreciate these extra amenities.

To combat the potential negative review we add a line to our house manual that we and guests leave items (such as salad dressing) and they are welcome to use or ignore as they wish. I also watch for expiration dates, and if something is close to empty/ugly I move it into house and resupply for aesthetics.

I battled with leave this stuff or not and took advice from this forum to leave.


So true. When I lived in the UK all the items mentioned were kept out of the fridge. Some people would put butter in the fridge but I preferred to use a French butter crock which prolongs its life but it remains spreadable.

In the US however, I seem nowadays to be following everyone else and keeping just about everything in there. It can’t be necessary though.

I have an attractive basket / tray thingy that I keep in the rentals’ fridges. Stuff that isn’t in containers that haven’t been opened stand neatly in there. During the house tour I point it out - ‘these were left by the previous guest. I’ve checked the sell-by dates and they’re fine. I thought I’d leave them in case they’re of use to you’.


What you can provide depends on where you live. In my state the health department requires all items be single serve. I provide very little and everything is refrigerated. If someone is staying longer than a few days I sometimes supply larger quantities of stuff but then move it to our family side of the fridge when they leave.