Home/How Long Should Common Groceries Last?

How Long Should Common Groceries Last?

Published On: January 18, 2017Categories: Home Maintenance, Mold Remediation

Groceries and mold removal sioux falls

Before you’re in need of mold removal in Sioux Falls, get a handle on how to best store common grocery items.

We put together a handy list of how long meat, grains, and produce last. Hopefully it can help you avoid anything spoiling so much that you won’t need to give us a call.

How Long Does Food Last?

We tried to pick the most common foods that people might worry about so that you can easily bookmark this post and reference it again. If there’s anything major that you think we missed, let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

With periodic updates, your neighbors and you can avoid needing our mold removal Sioux Falls or Yankton services!

(Please keep in mind that there are certain health risks with consuming or being exposed to spoiled foods, making the practice of proper food safety important to your household.)

Bread and other grains - Groceries and mold removal sioux fallsGrains

Bread – First off, bread is best stored either in a pantry or in the freezer – the refrigerator will lead to the bread drying out. Also, preservatives make a difference – home baked bread will spoil more quickly than store-bought loaves.

Bakery bread or bagels might only last for 3-4 days, with store bought bread lasting about 5-7. Storing either in the freezer will preserve them for about 6 months.

That said, dried out bread can be useable as croutons and bread crumbs if mold hasn’t set it. You can tell when bread is moldy by sight or scent. If one slice or section of your bread is moldy, it’s best to toss the entire loaf.

Fresh bread stores best in paper bags, which absorb moisture and allow bread to breathe. Store-bought loaves can and should remain in their plastic bags.

Rice – Rice stores incredibly well. White rice and minute or instant rice can last 4 to 5 years, with brown and wild rices lasting almost 8 months. Cooked, rice will last about a week in the fridge, with white and wild rice lasting longer than brown rice by a couple days.

Cereal – Dry breakfast cereals can keep for 6 to 8 months if they are properly stored.

Use a clip or tightly roll the bag and keep cereal in its box. If you’re working with something like oatmeal, and want it to keep after preparation, seal it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Pasta – Similar to rice, pasta last a long time before you prepare it. Dry pasta and noodles can keep for 1 to 2 years. Cooked pasta can last about 1 week in the fridge.

Onions - groceries and mold removal in Sioux FallsVegetables

Onions – Fresh whole onions can last 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature, or up to 2 months in the fridge. If you’re afraid they’ll go bad before you can use them, chop them and freeze them until you need onions again.

What’s key for onions is they need to breathe, preferably from multiple sides, which is why hanging them is so popular. Brown, black, or soft spots indicate the onion has gone bad.

Remember to keep them away from potatoes! Potatoes and onions release moisture and gases that speed each other to spoiling.

Potatoes – Potatoes can last 3 to 5 weeks in a pantry, or up to 4 months in the fridge. Ideally, they are stored in a cool, dark place.

When potatoes go bad, there will be discoloration and growths through the skin, or they might start getting softer. Potatoes stored too long in a humid climate might form new white sprouts. You can cut these off and use the potato still, but the quality of the potato is diminishing. Some might even plant the fresh sprout.

Potatoes in direct light might also develop green spots. These spots may be cut off and the rest of the potato may be used, but if potatoes get wet in anyway, mold loves to grow. Do not wash potatoes before storing!

Garlic - mold removal in Sioux FallsGarlic – Fresh garlic can keep for 3 to 6 months, but individual cloves should only be kept for about a month after breaking off. If cloves are tanning or brown spots appear, the clove is going to have a sharper flavor.

Again, cool and dark places are best. Remember that once you’ve broken a clove from your bulb, the entire section of garlic will ripen more quickly.

Lettuce and Salad – There are many types of salad. Generally, packaged salad mixes from the store will last in the fridge just shy of a week. Those should be stored standing straight up to avoid quicker spoilage. Once you’ve mixed ingredients in, a salad will only last as long as the ingredients within it.

Discoloration, moisture, and a rotten smell are the easiest ways to tell that a salad has gone bad.


Bananas and mold removal in Sioux FallsApples – Fresh apples last between 2 and 4 weeks in the pantry, or up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Wrinkled skin, browning spots, and a grainy or soft interior are signs the apples are going bad.

As with almost everything on the list, keep prepared apples in a tightly sealed container placed in the fridge.

Bananas – Almost all of us have a bad habit of buying more bananas than we’re going to eat. The truth is, bananas only last a few days – up to a week if you’re lucky.

Of course, when bananas turn brown, you can simply make some great banana bread!

Avocados – Yes, avocados are fruit. Still, you’ll want to store them with the veggies. In the fridge, avocados that are ripe will last several days longer – up to a week and a half. Ideally, they are dark green in color and the firmness gives slightly when pressed.

An avocado has most probably gone bad when it is black and you can leave an indent in the avocado with a gentle press of your finger.

Meats and Dairy

Cold cuts – Whether it’s an unopened package or one you’ve gotten into already, you’ll get about a week and a half out of pre-packaged meats and 6 days out of fresh deli meat. You can also freeze deli meat in a sealed container.

A moist surface is a warning sign that cold cuts have turned. Slimy exterior and a sour smell mean it’s time to toss the meat.

Milk – You get about one week with a container of milk, and maybe an extra day or two if you’re careful to place it immediately back in the fridge (always on a shelf, not on the door).

Bad milk has a pungent and unpleasant smell. There might also be discoloration or a lumpy texture. These changes occur from lactic acid producing bacteria.

Eggs – Eggs last 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. No matter what your friend from Europe says, you need to store them in the fridge when you’re living in the U.S.

You can tell if an egg has gone bad by setting it in a bowl of cold water. Eggs that sink and lay flat are fresh. Standing on end? They’re getting up there, but still good. And the ones that float are no longer good to eat.

Need Help with Mold?

If you did forget something at the back of the fridge or pantry, remember that Intek offers free mold and mildew inspections.

Play it safe, and don’t risk exposure throughout your kitchen: