Some homeowners hang strips of plastic or vinyl from their refrigerator's shelves to help maintain the interior temperature of the unit and reduce electrical costs. Alternatively, a plastic shower curtain can be installed to contain cold air and serve as a filter against airborne contaminants.
Although refrigerator curtains can be used on home refrigerators, they are much more common in commercial food service settings. At only about $100 to $200, PVC refrigerator strip curtains protect walk-in cold storage units from the high environmental temperatures encountered in professional kitchens, saving on food spoilage and energy loss, as of October 2015. Since exposure to warm air can also cause the formation of frost on frozen food, installing refrigerator curtains on freezers cuts down on the time and hassle of defrosting foods before preparation. They also help reduce coil icing and the need for filter maintenance.
Plastic refrigerator curtains also provide an extra layer of hygienic protection for food supplies. They insulate food products against airborne dirt and other particles, helping food stay fresh longer.
In commercial kitchens, cold storage unit door are sometimes deliberately kept ajar to reduce constant opening and closing of the unit and to improve traffic flow during busy periods. If the cold storage unit's door is left open, either intentionally or accidentally, vinyl curtains act as a protective barrier against cold air loss, maintain moisture levels and decrease the introduction of contaminants.