How To Store A Fridge Long-Term [Step-by-Step]

If you’re putting your fridge into long-term storage, it’ll need extra attention to keep it in good condition, and free of yucky stuff for your return.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to store a fridge long-term.

1. Defrost

If your fridge has a freezer attached (most likely), you’ll need to defrost it so that it doesn’t leak while being moved, or kept in long-term storage. The fridge’s condensation drains can also freeze over time, and defrosting fixes this problem too.

To defrost, complete the following steps:

  1. Unplug the fridge.
  2. Remove all food from the fridge and freezer.
  3. Remove the shelves and drawers. If your dishwasher is big enough, wait for an hour for them to warm up to room temperature, and chuck them in for a wash.
  4. Use a knife or fork to chip away excess ice from the freezer
  5. Pull the fridge out so that you can easily reach its back.
  6. Open the doors and keep them open. You may be able to lodge something in between the fridge and freezer door to prevent the freezer door from opening. Don’t worry if not—it will still defrost, just a little more slowly.
  7. If you have a couple of shallow trays that will fit underneath the fridge, slide these under the front and back. These will catch any melting water. Alternatively, scrunch up some towels and use those instead.

This process should take around eight hours to complete, but will vary depending on how much ice has built up in the freezer. If you want to speed things up, you can place a pot of boiling water in the freezer compartment and close the door.

2. Clean

Once every piece of frost has gone from the freezer, it’s time to give the fridge a proper clean—inside and out. A thorough cleaning is very important because leftover food will create smells and attract bugs. The last thing you want is to open your fridge after six months and be presented with an army of flies.

Because the fridge is going into storage, a regular general-purpose cleaner will do the trick, applied with a sponge (non-abrasive side) or cloth. It’s best to work from top to bottom, to avoid dripping onto already-cleaned surfaces. For cracks and crevices, a toothbrush tends to do a better job. If there’s stubborn stains, try applying a baking soda and water solution, and leaving it on the stain for about 30 minutes.

If you’re washing your shelves and drawers by hand, be sure to let them cool down before putting them in hot water, as they can crack.

3. Dry

This is another super important step. You’ll want to make sure that your fridge is bone-dry before placing it in storage, as the slightest amount of moisture can easily attract mould, which will then spread throughout the fridge.

To achieve this, you can either wait for a few more hours for the fridge and freezer to dry, or go over the inside with paper towel.

4. Move

To prepare your fridge for moving, complete the following:

  • Don’t put the shelves and trays back in after cleaning—keep them separate.
  • Wrap up the fridge’s power cord, and tape it to the rear of the fridge. Make sure it’s nice and secure.
  • Wrap the fridge in protective blankets or bubble wrap.

The easiest way to move a fridge is with a trolley, and an extra person on the other side to help you tip it upwards, and get going. The fridge should be facing outwards from the trolley, and never tipped at an angle of more than 45 degrees, as this will disturb the compressor’s oil and can cause serious damage.

Ask your helper to follow you while you move the fridge with the trolley, as they can prevent it from tipping forwards too far, while you prevent it from tipping backwards too far on the other side.

5. Store in a secure facility

Store your fridge in a secure facility, and use a roll of toilet paper to keep the door propped open. This reduces moisture build-up inside the fridge, and helps to dispel mould.