How to Move a Refrigerator to Clean Behind It

Paradise Appliance
July 8, 2024
Refrigerator Repair

If you’re deep cleaning your kitchen, behind your refrigerator is often one of the dirtiest places. Thanks to the increased airflow from the fans and the constant heating and cooling of the coils, this area is a magnet for dust and grime. It’s also often neglected because refrigerators are heavy and difficult to move, so excess dust tends to accumulate in the long stretches between cleans. If it’s been a few months (or years!) since you last cleaned behind your refrigerator, don’t worry. We’ve got everything you need to know, ranging from moving techniques to cleaning methods. Let’s get started. 

Why Is It So Dusty Behind the Refrigerator?

Does it seem like it gets incredibly dusty behind your refrigerator? You’re not imagining it—fridges really do accumulate more dust behind them than other appliances. It’s all down to the refrigerator coils and the constant heating and cooling that goes on to ensure your refrigerator maintains its temperature. 

Refrigerator coils are usually located at the bottom rear of your refrigerator and their job is to release heat. This creates airflow, which stirs up tiny dust particles. The coils are also charged with static electricity, which attracts the dust particles and compounds the issue. 

Why Is Cleaning Behind Your Refrigerator Important?

Cleaning behind your refrigerator is essential for ensuring it operates optimally. The coils need to be able to release heat in order to cool the interior of your fridge and freezer. If too much dust is allowed to build up, it will insulate the coils, meaning they can’t release the heat efficiently. This causes increased electric bills and higher energy consumption. You may also notice your fridge sounds noisier than it used to and that your food isn’t being kept as cold as it should be. 

When you keep the area behind your fridge clean, there’s less dust available to stick to the coils, helping to ensure your fridge can cool efficiently. This cuts your electric bill and even extends the lifespan of your refrigerator!

How Can You Safely Move Your Refrigerator?

The biggest concerns when moving your fridge are avoiding injuring yourself and avoiding damaging the appliance. Refrigerators can weigh between 200 and 400 pounds—and that’s before they’re filled with food! Although that may sound daunting, it’s actually not that hard, especially when you plan ahead and follow these tips. 

Empty your refrigerator

Although this isn’t 100% necessary, it definitely makes your fridge lighter. It also removes the risk of food items sliding around while you move your fridge, potentially spilling. We recommend moving your fridge to clean behind it at the same time as doing a deep interior clean. That way you can tick off two tasks at the same time. Remove all food items, as well as any loose interior parts like shelves and crisper drawers. Make sure you also unplug your refrigerator before attempting to move it. 

Use a furniture dolly

Use a dolly to move your refrigerator away from the wall. Slide the dolly under your fridge and then ask someone to help you tilt it so that it’s balanced on the dolly. To prevent the front of your fridge from getting scratched, drape an old towel or blanket over the dolly for protection. Once the fridge is safely on the dolly, move it away from the wall, ensuring you move it far enough out that you can clean underneath it. Always keep your refrigerator upright, even when not plugged in, as otherwise the internal components can become damaged. 

What Are the Techniques for Cleaning Behind Your Refrigerator

Once your fridge is away from the wall, it’s time to start cleaning. Here are some of our top tips for a thorough and effective cleaning:

Clean the coils first

The refrigerator coils are usually the dustiest part of the back of the refrigerator, so it makes sense to clean these first. They’re usually located either at the back of the refrigerator or at the bottom rear of the fridge, behind a grille. Consult your manual if you’re not sure of the location of your model.

To thoroughly clean the coils, use a brush to loosen all the dust on the coils and surrounding components, then vacuum up the loose dust using the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner. 

Vacuum the surrounding area

Once the coils are clean, thoroughly vacuum the area beneath and behind where your fridge was, ensuring everything is completely free of dust. This will prevent any lingering dust from immediately sticking to your refrigerator coils again once you plug your fridge back in. 

Wipe down the floor and walls

Use a mild detergent solution and a soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel, to wipe down the floor and walls behind your dishwasher. Pay close attention to any spills or stains to ensure it’s perfectly clean. 

Wipe down the back of the fridge

Use a clean cloth to wipe down the back of your fridge. Make sure your cloth is only slightly damp, not dripping wet, before using it in order to prevent electrical problems. Thoroughly wipe the entire back of your refrigerator, removing all visible dust. 

Put the fridge back

Replace any parts that were removed while cleaning the coils, then put the refrigerator back on the dolly and move it back into place. Make sure you allow one or two inches of clearance between your fridge and the wall to allow optimal airflow.

How Do You Keep the Back of Your Refrigerator Clean?

While you do need to move your fridge to clean behind it a couple of times a year, your fridge will get less dust buildup behind it if you follow these rules:

  • Clean your kitchen regularly: Keeping your kitchen floor clean will help prevent dust from building up behind your refrigerator. 
  • Keep pets out of the kitchen: If possible, keep pets out of the kitchen, as pet hair is a common cause of dust. 
  • Ensure adequate airflow: Your refrigerator should ideally have one inch of space on each side and two inches on the back. Adequate airflow means dust is less likely to become trapped behind the refrigerator.

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