How to Store a Fridge

Jon Fesmire |

Whether you’re upgrading your kitchen appliances or moving to a new home, self storage can offer a short term solution for your refrigerator. If you’d like to keep your fridge in a storage unit, you’ll need to plan ahead. To do it properly, you can’t simply unplug your fridge, load it into a truck, and drive it to a storage facility.

To do it correctly, start this process seven or eight days before you plan to store it.

Clean and Defrost

Obviously, you won’t want to store a refrigerator full of food. Take all of the food items out. Dump anything that has gone bad. Eat what you can. Once all food and containers are out of the fridge, unplug it.

The next step is defrosting the fridge. After you’ve unplugged it, put down towels all around the refrigerator. Wedge the doors open slightly so that moisture doesn’t get trapped inside. This is the part that takes about a week. Over that time, the ice in the freezer and within the hidden parts of your fridge will melt. Check the towels every few hours and change them as needed. Make sure to wash them so that they don’t start growing mold or mildew.

Once the week is over, the fridge should be completely dry inside. However, there are a few more steps.

Clean the Fridge

After the fridge has defrosted and dried, it’s time to get rid of any lingering food particles and germs.

Remove all shelves, trays, and drawers, and soak them in warm water with a touch of dish soap. For the walls and crevices in the fridge and freezer, use a mixture of water and baking soda. You can use the same to clean the outside of the fridge. Dry everything thoroughly after washing. Also, don’t wash the fridge with bleach or anything more abrasive than baking powder and water.

Clean the Coils

If your fridge has exposed coils, they will likely be dusty. Clean them with a dry cloth. Alternately, you can vacuum off the dust.

Final Steps

If you haven’t done so already, disconnect the drainage line.

If you’re simply storing your fridge in your garage, get a hand truck, and roll it in, keeping the unit upright. Having it on its side can damage internal parts. If you plan to store it in self storage, rent a truck. Again, you’ll need to move it upright to prevent any damage. Strap it to a hand truck, and strap it upright to the inside of the rental truck, and drive it to your storage unit. If you’re getting a unit just to store the fridge, or the fridge and similar items that you could safely store in your garage—in other words, items not sensitive to weather—you can rent a non-climate controlled unit.

Wheel your fridge into your storage unit on the hand truck, and you’re almost done! For the last step, you will need to either remove the doors, or simply keep them propped open. If you choose to do the latter, wedge something between each door and the body of the unit. This will prevent any moisture from getting trapped inside. After all that effort to remove moisture from the fridge, the last thing you’ll want to do is create a new environment where mildew can grow.

That’s it! Preparing a fridge for storage is definitely a time consuming process, but it’s not especially difficult. Once you’re done moving, or once you need that fridge again, you’ll be able to retrieve it knowing you stored it correctly.