While it’s easy enough to haul a table or dresser to a self-storage unit or other storage space, packing away a refrigerator requires a little more preparation. To gear up for storing your fridge, follow these five tips.
1. Let It Defrost.
After removing all the food items from your refrigerator (including that casserole from three months ago), unplug the fridge and give it time to fully defrost.
Wait a couple of hours, then remove any leftover ice with an ice scraper, said Brian Jamesson, marketing manager at national moving company Xpress Movers.
“If your refrigerator is the type that produces cold water and ice cubes, you also need to drain the water tank and disconnect the water pipes and hoses,” Jamesson said.
Check your fridge’s manual for details on how to do this for your specific model.
2. Clean It Thoroughly.
Even if you’ve picked out every single crumb from your fridge and freezer, you’ll still need to use a little elbow grease to keep out mold, mildew and odors.
“Remove all the shelves and trays, and clean them well with warm soapy water,” Jamesson said. Use the same cleaning solution to wipe down the fridge’s interior.
For an even deeper clean, Jamesson recommends dissolving four tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water and washing everything again with a soft cloth.
3. Dry It Out.
Storing your refrigerator completely dry is another essential step for prevention of mold and mildew. After allowing your fridge to air out, wipe down all the surfaces to make sure there’s no remaining moisture.
“Put paper towels inside its interior and freezer compartment to absorb any residual humidity in the air,” Jamesson said.
According to GE Appliances, it’s also helpful to leave a box of baking soda or a small bag of unused coffee grounds inside the fridge.
4. Transport and Store It Upright.
If you don’t hire professionals to move your fridge, it’s worth it to rent or buy a dolly and moving blankets. The blankets will prevent scratches and other surface damage, and the dolly will help you transport the refrigerator upright. You’ll also want to keep it in that same position while it’s stored, Jamesson said.
“If you place it on its sides or tip it over excessively, the oil in the compressor may run into the cooling mechanism, which is bad for the appliance,” he said.
5. Save Energy During Short-Term Storage.
Storing your fridge for less than a month? According to GE Appliances, you should leave it plugged in, but take the following steps to save energy:
- Turn off the ice maker.
- If there’s no food inside, make the temperature settings warmer.
- If the fridge and freezer are less than half full, place gallon jugs of water inside to help regulate the temperature.