8 Ways To Extend the Life of Milk (& What to Do Once It’s Spoiled)

With a gallon of milk topping $3.60, it’s more important than ever to extend its short life.

When stored below 40 degrees, whole milk lasts 5 to 7 days; non-fat 7 to 10 days; and reduced fat 7 days. But you can stretch the time between fresh and yech! by trying these strategies.

1. Store milk in the back of your fridge, the coldest part, and the farthest away from the light, which degrades milk. I have a side-by-side, so I store my milk on the left side of the fridge, which shares a wall with the freezer.
2. Pick up milk just before you check out of the store, so it’s not left in a warm cart while you cruise aisles for cereal bargains.
3. Place milk on ice during your ride home on a hot day. Sometime the fish section of the grocery will bag ice for you.
4. After you pour a glass, return milk directly to the fridge. Don’t let it sit on the counter any longer than you have to.
5. Add a ˝ tablespoon of baking soda to a gallon of milk when you open it; then shake. Baking soda reduces the acidity in milk and retards spoilage.
6. Add a pinch of salt to a quart of milk to slow spoilage.
7. Transfer a gallon of milk to four, quart-sized Mason jars. Pour to the top so there’s little headroom.
8. Freeze milk, which will make it last up to three weeks. When you thaw, the color and texture of the milk may have changed, but it’s safe to drink and good to use in baking and cooking.

Spoiled milk may make you gag, but it’s not dangerous to drink. Here are some things you can make and do with sour milk.

• Buttermilk biscuits
• Waffles and pancakes
• Soups and casseroles
• Pudding
• Yogurt
• Cottage cheese
• Sour cream
• Add to your bath water for a soothing soak (add essential oils to make it smell better).
• Pour around plants to add nutrients and keep deer away.
• Dab it on poison ivy itches.

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Kelly S
Past Member 21 days ago

plants are better

Margaret B.
Margaret B3 years ago

good commonsense ideas, not sure about adding the salt or baking soda though?
Thanks for the tips on using the milk that has soured.

Anteater Ants
Anteater A3 years ago

extend the life of ants ;-)

Barb Hansen
Ba H3 years ago


Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly3 years ago

Useful Post--thanks.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Betty Haniotakis
Betty H3 years ago

Debra S. - I really wonder why you and others with similar comments would read an article with the title "8 ways to extend the life of milk..." An answer comes to mind, but perhaps it would be rude to print it.

Care-2, fortunately, has articles to appeal to a wide range of ideas and opinions. Why should you want to impose your opinions on others?

Betty Haniotakis
Betty H3 years ago

I agree with those who said milk should not be frozen in glass jars full to the top. However the article did not advocate this. There were two items - one to freeze milk in 1 quart jars, presumably to have only one bottle exposed to opening and closing and possibly being left out on the counter or table too long. The second item pertained to freezing milk, presumably in the original unopened container. Perhaps the author could have been a little more specific.

Patsy D.
Patsy D3 years ago

I buy a gallon of milk & freeze half of it all the time it's the best way to have it. I learned that from an army wife who freezes gallons per month as we all live on some sort of budget.

Diane Beckett
Diane Beckett3 years ago

Just remember if you freeze milk to leave room in the container for expansion so it doesn't crack.