Defrosting a refrigerator is important to do before moving your kitchen because the ice inside will begin to melt after approximately 30 minutes of being loaded into the moving truck. That melting water can create a mess inside the truck.

Most moving companies require that clients correctly defrost and prep their refrigerators before they arrive to load your stuff.

Defrost at Least Three Days Before Your Moving Date

It takes a total of 48 hours to defrost and dry your refrigerator for safe moving properly. So we recommend you defrost at least three days before moving as this gives you a little wiggle room if you don’t move onto the drying stage after the full 24 hours is up on the dot.


Clear Out the Refrigerator

The refrigerator needs to be completely cleared out before you defrost it. Because you probably don’t want to waste food, try to make sure you eat everything before the day you plan on defrosting it. You can store any food you didn’t get to in a quality cooler, but pay close attention to the interior temperature for food safety concerns.

You’ll need a cooler that’s around 165 quarts as well. 165-quart coolers are usually over $100. If you don’t already have one of these coolers, then you may find it more cost-effective to not store the food in a cooler. Remember to factor in the cost of ice. You will also be responsible for transporting the cooler because most moving companies don’t accept coolers.

Unplug and Clean the Refrigerator

After all of the food is out of the refrigerator, unplug it to start the defrosting process. Then, thoroughly clean the fridge. This step is important because it helps prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your refrigerator.

You can place towels on the floor around the appliance to soak up any water that melts during defrosting. Remove loose parts, drawers, and shelves from the fridge and pack them separately. Make sure they are completely dry before wrapping and packing them.

Wipe Away the Water Inside the Fridge and Freezer

Use a cloth or towel to wipe away any water inside the fridge after letting it defrost for 24 hours. Dry it to the best of your ability and then leave the doors open for 24 hours to let it sufficiently dry and air out. This is another important step for preventing mold and mildew from growing inside the fridge. Also, clean and dry the evaporator pan.

Carefully Load the Refrigerator

If you’re loading the refrigerator yourself into the moving vehicle, be careful not accidentally to break it. Don’t lay it down in a truck bed because doing so can break the compressor. When the compressor is damaged, your refrigerator won’t work.

It’s best to let a professional moving company transport the refrigerator for you because they have more experience with the process.


Follow the steps outlined above to defrost and prep your refrigerator for moving correctly. You don’t want to risk damaging the appliance or falling ill due to mold and mildew beginning to grow inside.

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