Putting Appliances in Storage

It can be difficult to make space in your home or garage for unused appliances. But because new appliances are expensive, many people prefer to hold on to old ones for hand-me-downs, vacation homes, or back-ups. A self storage rental can be a convenient, affordable solution -- short-term or long-term. However, if you don't properly prepare your appliances for remote storage, you may return to find useless, moldy boxes. Below is some useful advice for securely storing washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens and more.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding appliance storage, remember that your storage facility manager may be a great source of information and guidance.

Checklist: Moving and Storing Your Appliances

  1. Run a final cycle. Consider running an empty clothes washer and dishwasher through a complete wash cycle using either a cup of bleach or white vinegar instead of detergent prior to placing in self storage.
  2. Drain liquid. Empty any water from hoses, holding tanks, plastic tubing and other internal components. This will help prevent freezing and mildew.
  3. Clean the interior. Scrub and dry the interior completely -- especially in refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens. Food and sugar remnants can attract bugs, even in interior storage units. In refrigerators, clean and dry the defrost pan -- you'll find it underneath or behind the refrigerator. In water-using appliances, wipe the rubber cushion seal around the perimeter of the door. Mildew tends to collect in this area.
  4. Treat for insects. Insects that infest food are found almost everywhere. To prevent an infestation, be sure to spray your clean appliance for bugs.
  5. Clean the exterior. Any motor-driven appliance will have an intake area (lint filter, tube or grid). Be sure to clean this vent. A vacuum may do the trick, but if the opening is greasy, you might use an old toothbrush.
  6. Remove glass and protect finish. If your appliance has glass shelves or fragile parts, remove them and transport them separately. Appliances with finishes that can scratch or dent should be wrapped in blankets or bubble wrap. Refrigerators should be transported upright.
  7. Secure with tape. Use a strong tape to hold the appliance door closed. Even though the tape should only stay in place during the move, you may want to choose a type that won't leave residue (such as blue painters tape). Once in storage, remove the tape and prop the appliance's door open to prevent mildew.
  8. Choose a suitable storage unit. If you are storing your appliances in a region that experiences high temperatures, low temperatures, wide temperature swings, or high humidity, you may want to consider a climate controlled storage unit. Because climate control temps are kept constant, the mechanical/electronic parts of your appliances are better protected from rust and fissures.
  9. Place on the truck last. If you're moving more household items into your storage unit, put the large appliances on the truck last. This way, they will be the first to come off the truck. Refrigerators should be transported upright.
  10. Place in the unit first. By placing appliances in the back of your storage unit, you'll have easier access to smaller items that you retrieve more frequently.
  11. Power off. The large majority of storage facilities will not offer electricity outlets in your storage unit. But if yours does have power, do not use it. Leave your appliance off for the duration of the rental.
  12. Protect fragile parts. If you store appliance parts separately (glass panels, shelves, etc.) remember to mark them as fragile and avoid stacking or leaning heavy items on them.
  13. Prop open the door. Find a way to keep the appliance's door ajar for the duration of the storage rental. This will help deter mildew.
  14. Avoid unwanted odors. Place an open box of baking soda in stored appliances.
  15. Conserve space. Although some storage and moving companies advise against stowing items inside your appliances, careful preparation will offer additional storage space. A clean, dry, open appliance is a good spot to store lighter items, including fragile things. Do not jam-pack your appliance with heavy items, like books.
  16. Cover and protect. Use a breathable material such as a tarp or sheet to shield your appliance from dirt, dust or accidental scratches.

The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. "Storage Tips" are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront's Terms and Conditions.

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