How To Prepare A Spare Refrigerator For Storage

If you have a spare refrigerator, but you want to free space, and you don't want to get rid of it, place it in self storage. An unused refrigerator consumes energy, and it creates a safety hazard. You will need to prepare it for storage. Here are some tips to prepare a spare refrigerator for storage.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • bucket
  • dishrags or cloths
  • dish towels
  • baking soda
  • sweeper with hose attachment
  • ​child-proof lock

Remove food from the refrigerator. Move the refrigerator slightly from the wall, so you can access the back, and get someone to help you move it, if needed. You may prefer to move the refrigerator to an area out of reach of children while prepare it for storage.

Disconnect the water supply to the refrigerator twenty-four hours before you unplug it. The water shut-off valve is commonly located on the back of the refrigerator, or follow the water supply line until you find a valve. Rotate the valve to the right.


If the unit has a defrost feature, set the dial on the freezer side and refrigerator (commonly located on the ceiling or on the back wall) to zero. Check the defrost drip pan located on the bottom front, and empty it as needed. For refrigerators without a defrost feature, open the door, and place a towel at the bottom of the unit to catch drips.

If the unit has a water dispenser, drain the reservoir, then detach the water filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the refrigerator has an ice maker, turn it off, and remove ice cubes. Let it cycle through one time to remove water in production.


Unplug the unit. Run a sweeper hose attachment over the coils. Mix a quart of warm water and four tablespoons of baking soda in a bucket, and use a towel to stir the mixture until the baking soda dissolves. Baking soda is a non-abrasive cleaner effective for getting rid of stains and odors.

Clean the shelves, drawers, inner door edge, and walls of each compartment with a dish rag or cloth. Change rags or cloths as needed. Dry with clean towels.

Unhook the water supply line, and move the unit to its storage location with temperature control. Keep it upright to prevent the oil compressor from getting into the filter. If possible, open the doors, set a box of baking soda inside, and let it air out several days.

Place child-proof locks on the doors to prevent children from tampering with it. Plug the unit in occasionally. If you don't have room, or you want added security, place it in self-storage.