How to Move a Refrigerator by Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide

A man using a hand truck to move a refrigerator.

Moving a refrigerator can be daunting, considering its weight and size. Yet, if you’re a Los Angeles apartment dweller, a fridge may be the only large appliance you take with you when you change address.

Whether relocating to a new home or renovating your kitchen, it’s crucial to handle the move carefully to avoid injury to your back or damage to the appliance.  And you may not always have burly friends to help.

Yet, moving a refrigerator by yourself can be a manageable task with the right equipment and techniques. In this guide, we’ll break down the process into simple steps so you can move your fridge without assistance.

Before the Move

Gather Your Moving Supplies

You should have the following supplies handy:

  • Cleaning supplies (baking soda, water, sponge, paper towels, etc.)
  • Tape measure
  • Furniture sliders
  • Appliance hand truck
  • Cargo straps
  • Moving blankets
  • Cooler for perishable food

Measure the Refrigerator & Doorways

  1. Measure the height, width, and depth of the fridge.
  2. Also measure doorways and openings.
  3. Consider creative maneuvers like tilting or removing doors if the fridge’s dimensions exceed door sizes.

Empty & Prepare the Refrigerator

  1. Before unplugging, empty the fridge and remove drawers and shelves.
  2. Place perishable items in a cooler.
  3. Unplug the refrigerator, tape the power cord to the back, and defrost the freezer using hot water or a hair dryer.
  4. Clean the interior with a baking soda and water mixture.

During the Move

Protect Floors with Furniture Sliders

  • To prevent floor damage, use furniture sliders.
  • Gently tilt the fridge, place sliders under each foot, and pull it out slowly.

Secure the Refrigerator with Blankets & Straps

  1. Use moving blankets or pads to wrap the refrigerator, offering a layer of protection against dents and scratches. Start from the top and work your way down, ensuring all sides are covered.
  2. Secure the blankets with cargo straps. Thread the strap under and around the fridge, cinching it tight but not so much that it deforms the appliance.
  3. Repeat this process with another strap, securing it around the middle of the refrigerator.
  4. Check that the blankets are snugly in place and won’t slip during the move. Straps not only keep the blankets on; they serve as extra handholds during the move.

Use an Appliance Hand Truck with Cargo Straps

An appliance hand truck is indispensable for one-person moves.

  1. Position the appliance hand truck at the side of the refrigerator.
  2. Carefully tilt the refrigerator and slide the hand truck under it.
  3. Ensure the fridge is centered on the truck’s large platform for optimal balance.
  4. Secure the refrigerator to the hand truck with cargo straps.
  5. Ensure the straps are tight and the refrigerator is firm against the hand truck.

Now, you’re ready to move the refrigerator. Safety first!

  1. Always move slowly and deliberately.
  2. Start by rolling the hand truck backward to move the fridge away from the wall.
  3. Keep the fridge tilted back against the hand truck to maintain control and balance as you move.
  4. Be cautious when moving the fridge through doorways or stairs.
  5. When you reach your destination, carefully unload the refrigerator from the hand truck.
  6. Remember to remove the cargo straps and furniture sliders and gently lower the fridge into its new position.
  7. Ta-da! Mission accomplished!

After the Move

Setting Up the Refrigerator

  1. Remove blankets and straps.
  2. Rock the fridge into position and place drawers, shelves, and lids back in.

Powering Up & Cooling Down

  1. Wait 4 hours before plugging the fridge into the nearest electrical outlet. This allows compressor oil to flow back into the compressor and prevents damage.
  2. Allow the fridge to reach its optimal temperature before storing food (usually 2 to 3 hours).
  3. Wash the refrigerator with a disinfectant cleaner before loading it.
  4. Place all perishable items back into the fridge.


Congratulations! You successfully moved your refrigerator by yourself!

Bear in mind that for double-wide and commercial fridges, you’ll need additional help. Also, some models might require more steps or specialized equipment.

For local moves in metro Los Angeles, Walsh Moving & Storage is the service you can trust for all your moving needs, including bulky appliances. We’re local family-owned and have been in business for over half a century. All estimates are free. Call us today!

Frequently Asked Questions about Refrigerator Moving

Q: Is it safe to plug in a refrigerator immediately after moving it?

A: We advise waiting for at least four hours before connecting a refrigerator to the power supply after moving it. This lets the compressor oil settle.

Q: How can I protect my refrigerator during a move?

A: Remove all contents and use coolers for perishable items. Cover the appliance with moving pads to protect its surface from scratches and damage.

Q: What if my refrigerator doesn’t fit through the door?

A: You may need to remove the doors of the refrigerator or the door of the room. Remember to measure all paths to your destination beforehand.

Q: Do I need to defrost my freezer before moving it?

A: Absolutely! This prevents water damage to the freezer and your floors during the move.

Q: Should I clean my refrigerator before moving it?

A: Yes, it’s a good idea to clean your fridge before moving. A mix of baking soda and water works well for cleaning.

Q: Can I lay my refrigerator on its side to move it?

A: It’s best to keep your refrigerator upright. If you must tilt it, stand it upright for the same time it was tilted before plugging it in.

Q: What is the optimal temperature for my refrigerator?

A: The FDA recommends keeping your refrigerator at or below 40° F (4° C).

Q: Is it possible to move a fridge by myself?

A: Yes, it’s possible to move a refrigerator by yourself with the right tools and strategies. However, be mindful of the potential for injury and property damage.

Q: What should I do if I damage my fridge during the move?

A: If your refrigerator is no longer working correctly, contact a professional repair service. Minor cosmetic damage can be overlooked, but operational issues should be addressed immediately.

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