How Long Can Milk Sit Out (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 Hours

Milk is a perishable food item that must be not left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. The time that milk can stay good for out depends on the temperature at which the milk is kept.

Milk stays good in lower temperatures. Storing milk in the refrigerator increases its shelf-life significantly and also enhances its taste. When milk is left at a hot temperature, it leads to the growth of bacteria and the milk goes bad.

The time for which milk can be kept outside the refrigerator decreases if the temperature outside is too high. It must also be check that what is the expiration date of the milk even if it is kept in the refrigerator.

During the summers, when the temperatures are significantly higher, the time for which the milk can last outside decreases from 2 hours to an hour. The milk must be refrigerated at all times to maintain safety and its taste.

Some of the common signs that indicate that the milk has gone bad and is not safe for consumption are the sour odor of the milk, curdled-like consistency, and change in the taste of the milk.

How Long Can Milk Sit Out


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How Long Can Milk Sit Out?

The time for which the milk can sit out depends on several factors, the temperature is the most important of them all. The milk can sit out for 2 hours before it starts to go bad and becomes unsafe for consumption.

Certain rules must be followed to ensure that the milk does not go bad. Whenever milk is being bought, it must be taken care to see that the milk must be picked at the last to ensure that it is not away from the refrigerator for a longer time.

The expiration date on the packet of the milk must be checked before purchasing the milk. The milk packet that has the furthest expiration date must be purchased so that the milk stays good for more time.

The milk must not be consumed in excess, as milk is perishable, it becomes unsafe for consumption after a certain time. The milk bought must be made sure will be consumed before the expiration date mentioned on the packet.

The milk that is bought first must be consumed first to ensure that it doesn’t go bad. The one bought later will have a further expiration date. The milk whenever bought must be refrigerated immediately and at all times must not be kept out for more than 1 to 2 hours.

The milk containers or packets must not be kept in the door of the refrigerator as the door of the fridge is opened many times and this exposes the milk too hot temperatures. The milk must be stored in the coldest regions of the refrigerator.


Type Of Conditions In Which Milk Is StoredApproximate Time To Stay Good
Room Temperature2 Hours
High Room Temperature1 Hour
Refrigerator5 to 7 Days

Why Does Milk Sit Out That Long?

Milk is a very common food product that is consumed throughout the entire world. Used in many popular beverages like tea and coffee, milk is also used in cereals and the making of many other dishes.

The shelf-life of milk is dependent on the temperatures in which it is stored. To avoid milk from going bad and staying safe to consume for a longer time, it must be refrigerated at all times.

The container in which the milk is stored must be kept covered inside the refrigerator. This is so that because the odors from other food products in the refrigerator don’t mix up in the milk.

The milk which is old and about to finish must never be mixed with the new packet of the milk. If the old milk would have gone bad, it will lead the new packet of milk to also go bad. The maximum time for which milk can stay out at normal room temperature is 2 hours, this time comes down if the temperatures are high to 1 hour.


The proper storage of milk is key to keep it good and safe for consumption for a longer time.

Milk must not be consumed if it smells bad, there are changes in its taste or it has developed a curdled-like consistency. Any other signs of going bad of the milk must not be ignored and the milk must not be consumed.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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