If you're going to pay to store your appliances in a self-storage unit, then you want to make sure they're still in usable condition when they emerge. How your appliances look and work when they come out of storage will depend on the steps you take when putting them in storage. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare your various appliances for storage.


Many a refrigerator has grown mold and developed unfathomable odors in storage. To keep yours from suffering the same fate, follow these steps:

  1. After emptying the refrigerator of food, unplug it and disconnect any water lines. Do this several days before you plan to put the fridge in storage so that the water lines have time to drain.
  2. Remove all of the shelves and drawers from the fridge, and wash them with dish soap and water. Let them dry completely.
  3. Wipe the entire interior of the fridge out with a mild bleach and water solution. (1 tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water will do!)  If you encounter any caked-on grime, scrub it off with a toothbrush and a little baking soda.
  4. Once the fridge is completely dry, place an open box of baking soda inside (this will absorb any odors and residual moisture.) Shove an old towel in the door to keep it propped open slightly, and then duct tape the door into place.


Grime and crumbs left to linger in the bottom of the oven can attract rodents, who may leave behind contaminating droppings and also chew cords. Follow these steps to prevent these and other issues:

  1. Run the self-cleaning cycle on the oven. Then, use an oven cleaner, according to the instructions on the package, to remove any grime that's left behind. Often, there is grime left on the door after the cleaning cycle -- this should be removed with the oven cleaner.
  2. Tape all of the knobs in place. This will keep them from getting knocked off.
  3. If your oven is gas-powered, disconnect the gas hoses and store them separately. These hoses are typically made from soft materials that rodents like to chew, so leaving them hanging off the back of the stove is not wise.

Microwave and Toaster Oven

Removing grime and food particles from these appliances can be tough, since it tends to get caked-on. However, doing so is essential in order to prevent smelly odors from developing in storage. An easy way to go about this is:

  1. Fill a microwave (or toaster oven) -safe bowl with water, and add a few sliced lemons. Microwave the bowl for 5 minutes, or place it in the toaster oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Take a soft cloth, and use it to wipe the grime off the inside of the appliance. It should come away easily, since the lemon water will have loosened it.
  3. Let the appliance dry completely, and then tape it shut to keep rodents out.

Clothes Washer

You'd be surprised how much gunk builds up around the barrel of your washing machine. Leaving this gunk in place during storage will allow it to harden, making it next to impossible to remove. Luckily, you can prevent such issues by running a cycle with a washing machine cleaner before putting your washer into storage. These cleaners are typically sold in home goods stores; they strip the gunk off the inside of your washer. Make sure you do this a few days before you plan to put your washer in storage, and then leave it open for a few days to dry.

In addition to following the tips above, you can increase the chance of your appliances staying in good shape by choosing the right storage unit. Look for one that offers climate control and that undertakes regular pest control measures such as placing traps and repellents.

For more about this topic and more information about storage facilities, talk with a professional storage company in your area.