How to Move a Refrigerator

How to move a fridge or freezer

Fridges and freezers are super important in your kitchen, but their size and weight can make them intimidating to move. Luckily, these appliances can be moved safely and easily by following these simple steps.

Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances.


Steps for moving a refrigerator or freezer

  1. Remove all food items. Throw away or give neighbors any food that won’t be making the move with you. While you can store things in coolers with ice, it’s best to discard anything that can’t be kept cold for the entire move.
  2. Unplug everything. Make sure to turn off the ice maker and disconnect the water line if you have that feature.
  3. Defrost the freezer. Most freezers will fully defrost overnight. Just place plastic containers or towels inside to catch the dripping water and avoid a mess on your floor. Don’t forget to empty the water or change the towels during the process!
  4. Clean it. Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your fridge/freezer:
    • Vacuum or sweep up any food crumbs.
    • Make a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water to scrub any sticky messes. Wipe away the excess with a damp cloth.
    • Wipe down all shelves and interior walls with vinegar.
    • Allow the inside to dry completely.
  5. Brace or remove shelves. You can secure shelves with cardboard or heavy Styrofoam™ to keep them from getting damaged during the move. If you have glass shelves that are removeable, you can wrap the shelves in Bubble Wrap® and pack them in boxes to protect them.
  6. Secure any cords. Tape up cords and the water line or close them in the appliance door to keep them from getting damaged or tripping someone during the move.
  7. Protect the finish. Use cardboard and plastic stretch wrap or moving blankets (secured with packing tape or straps) to protect the outside finish of your fridge.
  8. Use an appliance dolly. Have someone help you to avoid injury or damage to the fridge:
    • Slightly tilt the fridge to one side and slide the dolly underneath the edge.
    • Tighten the strap around the fridge to keep it on the dolly.
    • With your helper, gently tilt the fridge back toward you to move it.
  9. Load the fridge safely. Use a furniture ramp to load your fridge into the moving equipment. Make sure to center the dolly on the ramp and move the appliance with a helper.
  10. Use straps to prevent the fridge from tipping over. Use furniture straps or heavy rope to attach the fridge to the sides of the moving equipment to keep it secure during transport. The straps or rope should be tight enough to keep the fridge in an upright position.


Can you transport a refrigerator on its side?

No. Refrigerators and freezers should be moved in an upright position. If they’re laid on their sides for too long, it can cause oil to leak from the compressor and damage the appliances.

What if my fridge is stuck in a tight space?

If your fridge is stuck, get a furniture strap or heavy-duty rope and wrap it around the fridge from the top. Move the strap or rope to the center of the fridge and gently pull it free from the space. Resist the urge to pull the doors — it might break the hinges!

Will my fridge fit through the doorways?

Measure doorways to see if you’ll need to remove the refrigerator doors or take the house or apartment doors off their hinges.

After your move

Once your fridge is in your new kitchen, clean the outside to remove anything it may have picked up during transit. Don’t forget to vacuum dust from the vents at the bottom and back to keep it working properly.

Let the appliance sit for at least 4 hours to let the compressor oil settle, and then connect any water lines and power cords. Allow the fridge or freezer to cool for at least 24 hours before trusting it to keep food safe.

According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), refrigerators should be kept at 40° F (4° C) or below, and freezer temperatures should be 0° F (-18° C). If in doubt, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.

Pro tip: Unless your refrigerator is a French-door style, the doors can usually be switched to open in either direction. It’s helpful to have the doors open in the direction that makes it most accessible to your kitchen space. Check out Appliance 411 for specifics about your model if you no longer have the manual.

Storing a fridge or freezer

If you need to store a fridge or freezer, you’ll follow the same steps above. Consider placing an open box of baking soda inside the appliance to help with any musty scents and propping open the doors with old rags to prevent moisture from building up inside.


Check out our other packing tips and let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help!