Find out how to prepare your fridge or bar fridge before storing it with a self-storage provider.
Taking just a little time to prepare a fridge or bar fridge before storing it pays off in the long run. It will prevent damage to the fridge, and keep you from facing a mouldy, rank-smelling or even pest-infested mess once you’re ready to use or sell your fridge.
Here our experts offer a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a fridge for storage so it’s in good, “plug-n-chill” shape at the end of the storage term.
Step 1: Defrost the refrigerator or bar fridge
Unplug the unit from the wall, or engage the auto-defrost button. Open the compartment doors and remove the shelves, racks, drip trays and drawers. Slide newspaper or paper towels under the fridge to absorb water drip-off.
Place a bowl of boiling water into the freezer compartment to accelerate the melting process. If your fridge has a built-in water or ice dispenser, drain the water and remove the ice according to the manufacturer’s instruction booklet.
Tip: Defrost the fridge at least two to three days before it goes into storage to allow enough time for the unit to dry out properly.
Step 2: Clean the fridge with warm soapy water
Place the removable fridge components into a sink of warm soapy water, and leave them to soak for 10 to 20 minutes. While the parts are soaking, clean the interior of the fridge thoroughly with warm water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
Ensure you remove all food residues by tackling those stubborn spills and hard-to-reach places with a sponge and an old nail brush or toothbrush. Wipe the fridge down with a moist cloth, inside and out.
Wash the racks, shelves and vegetable drawers, and stack them on the drying rack. Clean and sanitize the rubber seal around the door with a cloth dampened with warm water and a splash of white wine vinegar.
Carefully manoeuvre the fridge forward, and dust the rear coils with a dry cloth or the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner.
Tip: Avoid the use of hot water or bleach or ammonia-based detergents. High temperatures can crack glass and plastic, while strong or abrasive cleaners can damage and discolour the materials.
Step 3: Dry the appliance thoroughly
Dry the inside of the fridge thoroughly with a dish towel or soft dry cloth. Leave the door or doors wide open for at least 48 hours to allow the air to circulate.
Remember, any sign of moisture can encourage the growth and spread of mould, mildew and bacteria; unpleasant visitors that can render your appliance unhygienic, unhealthy and effectively useless.
Tip: Place an open packet of bicarbonate of soda into your fridge. It will absorb moisture build-up and leave your appliance odour-free.
Step 4: Tape the doors partially open
As you want the appliance to remain dry and free of malodorous odours, it’s essential to allow it to ‘breathe’.
The easiest way to encourage the free-flow of air is to roll up a hand towel or dish cloth, insert it between the door and the body of the fridge, and tape the door shut with insulation tape. Repeat the process with the freezer compartment.
Tip: Avoid using duct tape. The adhesive backing is so strong; it can damage the finish of the fridge.
Step 5: Transport the fridge
Wrap the shelves, racks, drawers and other removable parts in bubble wrap, and place them in a suitable container. Cover the fridge with an old sheet, and tape it up like a parcel to protect it from dings, dents and scratches.
Use a trolley or hand dolly to move the fridge to the removals van, and store it inside in an upright position. Secure the appliance to the sides of the vehicle with ropes or moving straps, and place the container with all the refrigerator parts into the back of the van.
Tip: To prevent the fridge from malfunctioning at the end of the storage term, make sure it is always in an upright position.
Step 6: Store the fridge
Store the appliance in a clean, dry and well-ventilated storage unit. Remove the sheet and, where possible, elevate it off the floor. That way your fridge won’t get water damaged and rust if and when a flood or other natural disaster occurs.