Moving a refrigerator is no easy feat – but there are a few best practices to follow to help make this tedious process as easygoing as possible. If you’re planning on moving homes, cleaning out, or replacing a refrigerator, follow these step-by-step instructions for the correct and safest way to move a refrigerator with a dolly.

What you’ll need:

  • Owner’s manual
  • A moving dolly with straps
  • Tape
  • Bungee cord or rope
  • Zip lock bag
  • At least two people

Step 1: Empty out your fridge

Before trying to move your fridge, you’ll have to do some prepping. Be sure to remove all the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. This includes condiments, food, trays and shelves. You can put your perishable food items in a cooler for the time being, just be sure to replace the ice as needed. If you’re prepping for a bigger move, plan ahead and eat what you can or give away the remaining food to reduce waste. Take off any magnets from the exterior of your refrigerator as well.

Step 2: Unplug the fridge

Follow the owner’s manual and carefully disconnect the ice maker and water filter first. Next, unplug the cord from the back of your fridge. Protect the cord from any damage by rolling it up and taping it to the back of your fridge.

Step 3: Secure the doors

Depending on the size of your fridge, you may need to remove the doors of your refrigerator. Please follow the instructions located in your owner’s manual as it varies from fridge to fridge. Make sure to place all the pieces and screws in a zip lock bag for safekeeping. If removing the doors is unnecessary, bind the refrigerator and freezer doors with a bungee cord or rope (for double doors, tie the door handles together). To prevent scratches on the exterior, it’s a good idea to wrap the exterior with moving blankets.

Step 4: Measure and clear the path

This is a vital step to the overall moving process. Please don’t forget to measure your fridge and all doorways in your path before you attempt to move your fridge. Create a moving plan and remove any obstacles that could get in the way.

Step 5: Start moving

You and your helper can now gently move the refrigerator away from the wall and onto the dolly, keeping knees slightly bent and back straight. Your helper should hold the dolly in place and slide it under the fridge as you carefully glide the fridge from side to side and bring it forward. Once it’s placed on the dolly, tightly fasten the fridge using the straps.

Step 6: Keep it moving

Tilt the refrigerator slowly and begin moving it to the truck. Have your helper be on the opposite side of you, guiding you forward and clearing the path. Be extra careful going down steps. Keep the fridge tilted at a 45-degree angle as you gently pull the dolly and have your helper push it gently forward. Please don’t be hasty and go one step at a time. Together, guide the fridge on the platform of the moving truck and place the fridge inside. Do not lay your fridge on its side. If possible, keep the dolly attached to the fridge (this would make it easier for you to move the fridge into its new home).

Step 7: Final precautions

Before plugging it back in, give your fridge a minimum of 3 hours to sit while the fluids flow back into its compressor. Check your owner’s manual for specifications on how long it will take for your fridge to get back to its normal temperature. Some fridges can take several days, so be sure to plan accordingly.