How to Store a Refrigerator That Is Not in Use

Updated February 21, 2017

Storing a refrigerator for future use or as a standby requires placing the item in an area where rust and corrosion do not afflict it. Overly humid air or storing the refrigerator on a dirt ground may contribute to a short life expectancy for the appliance. To keep the refrigerator operational, the unit needs to be plugged in periodically and run for a length of time. Keep an unused refrigerator in a safe and clean area because you never know when you may need to put it back in service.

Turn off any water supply to the refrigerator 24 hours prior to unplugging the unit. Empty the entire refrigerator before unplugging it. Wipe up any spills on shelves or inside the door with a wet dishrag. Dry the refrigerator interior completely with a dish towel.

Turn the refrigerator and freezer temperature settings to the "Off" position. Unplug the refrigerator. Take out any water filter cartridges.

Vacuum the back of the refrigerator coils with a sweeper hose attachment. Glide the hose slowly over the coils, removing dust and cobwebs.

Store the refrigerator in a garage, basement or outside pole building. The area should have a flooring, including concrete. Do not store the refrigerator in a shed or other building with a dirt floor as moisture from the ground can corrode the refrigerator's motor and coils.

Plug the refrigerator into an electrical socket once every two to three months and allow it to run for two hours or more. Run an extension cord to the refrigerator if it is not close to an electrical socket.


When placing the refrigerator back into permanent use, rehook the water supply and allow the ice maker to run. Toss the first three batches of ice away.


Refrain from storing the refrigerator tipped on its side, as compressor oil can slide into the filter, becoming trapped inside and potentially damaging the refrigerator.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishrag
  • Dish towel
  • Sweeper with hose attachment
  • Extension cord
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.