Kitchen appliances are some of the hardest items to maintain in storage, and fridges are no exception. When not in use, fridges are prone to moisture damage, rust and mould, bacteria and mildew growth.
To protect the appearance of a fridge and make sure it will continue to work properly, it's important to clean it properly, transport it carefully and store it in a cool, dry space.
Preparing a fridge for storage
Before storing your fridge, it's best to clean it thoroughly to remove any food remnants that could attract pests and vermin, or act as a host for mould and bacteria.
Ideally, start preparing your fridge for storage at least a week before you move it, to allow enough time for defrosting, cleaning and proper drying.
Here's how to defrost, clean and dry your fridge before putting it into storage:
- If your fridge has a built-in ice-maker or water dispenser, shut off the water supply and allow 24 hours for the ice maker to use up the remaining water.
- Turn the ice-maker off, discard the ice cubes, drain the water reservoir and remove the filter cartridge.
- Unplug and empty the fridge, and put down a towel or paper towels to catch any water droplets that run off. If possible, leave the fridge to defrost and dry for three days.
- Next, wash any removable shelves and trays in warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing detergent. Avoid using ammonia, undiluted bleach or abrasive cleaners, which may damage the fridge.
- Use a warm water and detergent solution to wipe down the interior and exterior of the fridge.
- Once you've wiped the fridge thoroughly, dry it with clean towels and leave the doors open for a few hours to allow any excess moisture to evaporate. This prevents the fridge from becoming a breeding ground for mould and bacteria.
- Finally, dust or vacuum the coils on the outside of the refrigerator.
Storing a refrigerator
It's best to store a fridge in a clean, dry, secure space, where it won't be exposed to extreme temperatures or temperature fluctuations. This will protect both the interior and exterior from deterioration.
Follow these steps to move and store your fridge without damaging it:
- Before you transport the fridge, fill it with crumpled-up newspaper to absorb excess moisture.
- Seal the doors shut with packaging tape. Do not use duct tape for this because strong adhesive could damage the surface of the fridge.
- Cover the fridge with a tarpaulin or sheet to protect it from scratches during the moving process.
- Transport the fridge to its storage space, keeping it in an upright position. Tilting it could cause oil or liquid refrigerant to leak out and damage the compressor.
- When your fridge reaches its final destination, move it into place before unwrapping it and un-taping the doors. If possible, store the fridge raised a few centimetres off the floor to prevent moisture damage and rust.
- Keep the fridge doors wedged open to maximise airflow. This will prevent the growth of mildew, mould and bacteria inside the fridge.
Self-storage space for your refrigerator