How to Store a Refrigerator

by Dusty Rhodes on Sep 30, 2020  in 
  • Portable Storage
  • Renovating
  • Personal Storage


Whether you are moving to a new home or renovating your current home, a refrigerator is one of the most common appliances that people need to put in storage. Given that a refrigerator is an expensive appliance, it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent damage and keep it in good working order. Though it may seem easy enough to simply unplug it and place it in a storage unit, there are actually important steps that should be taken to avoid mold, pests, and undesirable odors. Proper storage will also ensure the refrigerator works properly when it’s time to move it back to the home. Consider the following tips for properly storing your refrigerator.

Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator the night before storage.

It is very important to follow this step, as you cannot move or store a refrigerator until it has reached room temperature and the freezer has completely defrosted. Turning the refrigerator off and unplugging it the night before allows plenty of time for this process, which can take several hours. You want to be sure and remove all food items prior to unplugging the refrigerator. When you unplug the refrigerator, it can be helpful to open the doors slightly to speed up the process. It’s also a good idea to place a towel around the bottom of the refrigerator to catch any excess water that might drip from the freezer.

Step 2: Clean and disinfect every surface of the refrigerator.

Once you have removed everything from inside the refrigerator and it has reached room temperature, it’s time to thoroughly clean and disinfect every surface. Start by removing all shelving and drawers. This will allow you to clean even those hard to reach places in the corners and in the back of the refrigerator. To clean the drawers and shelves, simply soak them in warm soapy water. Just be sure that the water is not too hot, as this can cause the cold plastic or glass to crack. To clean the inside of the refrigerator, use a mixture of baking soda and warm water. You want to avoid abrasive cleaning solutions such as ammonia and bleach, as this can cause discoloration to plastic and stainless steel. Baking soda is a mild cleaning agent, and it will also help to remove unwanted odors. Wipe down every surface inside the refrigerator and be sure to dry it completely. Excess moisture could cause the surfaces to mildew while in storage. You also want to wipe down the outside of the unit using a mild detergent and water. (the baking soda mixture is only used on the inside of the unit) With a damp cloth, wipe away any dirt and dust from the back of the unit.

Step 3: Unhook the drain line.

Once the unit has been completely cleaned and dried, you want to unhook the drain line at the back of the refrigerator using a wrench or pliers. Drain the line completely to remove all water from inside the unit.


Step 4: Move the refrigerator carefully.

It’s easy for damage to occur when moving a refrigerator so it’s best to wrap it in moving blankets to protect the exterior from dents and scratches. You also want to protect your floors by sliding a sheet underneath your refrigerator before moving it. Refrigerators are also bulky and heavy and they require a dolly for safe transport. You also want to use straps to secure your refrigerator to the dolly for transport. When moving your refrigerator on a dolly, try to minimize tipping, as this can cause fluids to seep into the compressor. You want to keep the refrigerator as upright as possible at all times.

Step 5: Placing it in the storage unit.

Be sure your refrigerator is stored upright and away from the doorway. You should never store a refrigerator on its side and you want to be sure it is safe from the outdoor elements. The most important thing to remember when storing your refrigerator is keeping it in a clean and dry environment. This means you should avoid storing your refrigerator in a space that is humid or susceptible to moisture. Ideally, your refrigerator should be stored in a climate controlled facility designed to protect contents from moisture and humidity as well as dirt and unwanted pests. In order to keep your refrigerator dry and odor free, it is best to remove the doors of the refrigerator while it is placed in storage. If space allows, you can also prop the doors open using a piece of cardboard. This will prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors from building up inside the refrigerator. You can also place dryer sheets or coffee inside the refrigerator to neutralize odors and keep it smelling fresh.

Dusty Rhodes