The 7 Steps Guide to Move a Refrigerator by Yourself

Last Updated on December 18, 2022 by CHANDRAMANI

Refrigerators are bulky appliances with an average weight of a full-size refrigerator being between 200 and 300 pounds, it’s never easy to move such a large appliance. But with the help of this step-by-step guide, I will tell you how I moved it in a secure and safe way from my first-floor apartment and loaded it onto a truck with one helper.

In brief, in order to move it first disconnect & defrost it, measure the dimensions of your refrigerator and pathway, secure all the moving parts such as the doors and drawers by tape, slide the fridge out and strap onto the dolly and move it slowly. Here’s a detailed guide.

Things you will require while moving your Fridge/Refrigerator

  • Measuring Tape
  • Coolers with Ice
  • Sponge
  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Moving Blanket
  • Ram board/Furniture sliders/Laminate board
  • Straps
  • Appliance Dolly
  • Work shoes(for proper grip & balance)

Steps to Move a Refrigerator Safely

With a little preparation and know-how, it becomes a little easy to move it safely and efficiently. Follow the step-by-step guide.

1. Take out the foor, defrost & Clean

Start by moving all your food out of your refrigerator. You should store them in an ice cooler along with ice or use a portable fridge and power it by your vehicle if you have one.

The extra & perishable food which you cannot accommodate in the cooler should be eaten well in advance. You can borrow another cooler from your neighbors to store them otherwise you have to throw them away.

Plug out the power cord from the power supply and defrost the freezer. You should defrost it in order to prevent water leaks during transportation. Check out the step-by-step guide to defrost the freezer quickly.

Optional tip: You can plug out the refrigerator from the power source around 2 hours before moving it to let it defrost itself.

After defrosting clean the refrigerator with a disinfectant properly. You can place activated charcoal or a box of baking soda to absorb the odors.

Disconnect the water filter and ice maker supply according to user manual. Stop the water supply, cover its opening with a cloth and tape it at back.

2. Measure the Refrigerator & Pathway dimensions

Take a measuring tape and measure the height, depth, and width of your refrigerator. Note the dimensions of your refrigerator on paper. After this, you have to also measure the height and the width of your doors and the pathway through which you have to take it.

In my case, the width of my main door was less than the refrigerator depth, so I had to remove the refrigerator door. Check if your door width and height are more than the dimensions of the refrigerator or not. Plan these ahead of moving as you would not want to damage your appliance while moving through one of the congested doors.

To move a refrigerator out of a tight space, you have to remove your house doors and the refrigerator door. Slowly move through by maneuvering and tilting the refrigerator as required. You may have to also move other things placed in the pathway such as flower pots or furniture.

3. Secure the Moving Parts

Remove all the movable parts out of the refrigerator such as the drawers, grille, shelves, storage pans, ice trays, ice storage buckets, etc, or secure it with tape. This protects them and prevents them from getting damaged. Don’t forget to tape the power cord as well. Tie the straps around it to prevent the doors from opening during moving it.

Wrap the moving blanket or with bubble plastic wrap all around the refrigerator. This not only saves it from scratches but also prevent it from getting dirty.

4. Protect the floor and slide the refrigerator

Before sliding out the refrigerator you should protect the floor as the heavy refrigerator can leave marks or damage the flooring. If there is no place on the left or right side of the refrigerator, then you have to slide it out.

To move a refrigerator without scratching the wood or vinyl floors, place Ram board or furniture sliders below the left and right foot of it by tilting it a little backward. After placing the sliders pull it outwards. You may need the help of another person to pull it out.

Don’t hold and apply force on the top in order to pull it as this can tip it. Hold at the part below the middle portion.

After pulling it out, place the appliance dolly underneath it towards the left or right side. Lift the appliance dolly gently and note that the appliance is not titlting towards its front or back side. If it is so then adjust its position and again lift it gently. If it is only tilting towards you, then this means it is perfectly balanced.

Tie the refrigerator onto the dolly with its straps.

5. Tilt & Move the refrigerator

Slowly tilt the refrigerator towards yourself and start moving it by pushing forward. Don’t pull it as it becomes difficult to see the route. Stay behind and push it throughout the pathway. Another person can be at the front who can see the path and maneuver it. Don’t tilt the appliance more than 45 degrees. Keep the appliance away from your feet by keeping your hand straight so that if the appliance fall down, it will not hurt you.

Moving the Refrigerator Downstairs

At the steps be extra careful, don’t push it too hard. Move one step at a time and the other person should help from the other end by lifting it from below and releasing it slowly. Again be careful to not tilt it more than 45 degrees.

Moving it too quickly or bouncing can lead to loosing balance on the stairs. As a result it may damage the refrigerator parts and also may hurt you.

6. Load in on the Pickup Truck

Use a plank to load the refrigerator on the truck. An inclined plane makes it easy to move it upwards rather than directly lifting it. After loading on the truck tie it with straps tightly so that it doesn’t move while being transported.

Note: While it is not advised to transport a refrigerator on its side because the compressor oil can flow out the compressor and get into the filter dryer. If you have to transport it on its side, then put it on the side which is facing away from the filter dryer. In my case, the dryer was on the right side when seen from the back and there was nothing on the left side of the compressor rather than a pinched-off tube.

7. Wait before plugging it again

At the new place you should not immediately plug it in power source. The compressor oil which would have come out takes time to settle down. If you power it before allowing to settle the oil, it will damage your refrigerator cooling system.

Keep it upright for two hours but the settling time varries in older and newer models. Here is the settling time for different compressors.

CompressorSettling Time of Oil
R-1224 hours
R-134a15 mins + time you kept on its side
R-600Time kept on its side

There if your refrigerator was kept on its side for a day, then you should keep it in upright position for at least 24 hours before powering it on.

Also, before keeping the food back you should wait for another 12-24 hours to become cold.

How to move a refrigerator without a dolly

If you don’t have an appliance dolly, then use Furniture sliders or Laminate board to protect the floors. Place it underneath the left and right leg by tilting the refrigerator slightly backwards. After this pull the refrigerator forward slowly.


With proper planning and taking safety measures you can move a refrigerator by yourself within in an hour. You should wrap it properly and stick the movable parts properly to prevent the parts from getting damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How to move a refrigerator to clean behind?

To clean behind a refrigerator, first empty it and wrap it by a strap so that the doors don’t open while pulling out. Use an appliance dolly to pull it or put wooden sliders below its feet and then pull it by sliding over the sliders.

How to move a refrigerator upstairs

To move a refrigerator upstairs there must be at least two people. One of them should be at the front side who will lift and maneuver it from the front end while the other should be lifting it from the back. Move one step at a time and wait before moving ahead.

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