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Tips for Moving Your Appliances (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by This Old House Reviews Team Updated 03/13/2024

Moving appliances requires careful planning, the right supplies, and several safety precautions. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to prepare and move both large and small appliances. Whether you’re handling a heavy washing machine or a high-tech coffee maker, our tips for moving your appliances will ensure each item arrives at your new home in perfect condition.


Supplies and Equipment

Start by gathering the packing materials and moving equipment you need. You have four options for large appliances:

  • Appliance dolly
  • Forearm forklift
  • Furniture dolly
  • Hand truck

You’ll need furniture blankets or bubble wrap, stretch wrap, and straps to secure the appliances in the moving truck. We also recommend having furniture sliders, disassembled cardboard boxes, or protective sheeting to cover your floor during the moving process.

For each smaller appliance, you’ll need the original packaging or a heavy-duty box that fits it snugly. You’ll also need packing tape, packing paper or bubble wrap, permanent markers, and labels.


Preparing Your Appliances

A little extra work on the front end will reduce the risk of damage to your home and appliances. Follow these steps to prepare your appliances for a successful move:

  1. Clean your appliances. Defrost your refrigerators and freezer, wipe down all surfaces, and dry everything thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew. Run your washer and dishwasher on a cleaning cycle, and clean out the lint screen in your dryer. Remove grease and food residue from your oven and stove.
  2. Disconnect from the power source. Unplug electric appliances, coil the power cords, and secure them with zip ties or rubber bands. Turn off gas dryers or stoves safely and disconnect the gas lines to prevent leaks. We recommend hiring a qualified technician to handle this step. Disconnect and drain any water lines, too.
  3. Detach loose or removable parts. Most appliances have components that should be removed and packed separately. This includes the shelves and bins in refrigerators, dishwasher racks, removable knobs, and external hoses. Store small parts, such as bolts and screws, in a Ziploc bag taped to the appliance to avoid misplacing them.
  4. Secure cords, doors, and drawers. Tie down or tape any movable parts that cannot be easily removed. Examples include the door of your washing machine or microwave or the warming drawer beneath your oven. Tape cords and hoses to the backs of appliances. Use strong tape that won’t damage the finish, such as masking tape.
  5. Wrap and protect your appliances. Once your appliances have been properly cleaned and disassembled, wrap them in moving blankets or bubble wrap for protection. Ensure that all sides are covered and cushioned, then secure the wrapping with packing tape or stretch wrap.

Safety

A safety-first mindset will help you prevent injuries and protect your home and belongings from damage. Start by following the steps in the last section. Remove or secure loose parts, including doors and cords. Consult the user manual for each appliance and follow any instructions related to cleaning, moving, or storage.

Next, protect your floors and walls. Use furniture sliders under heavy appliances so they can smoothly glide across the floor. Floor protection is particularly important for hardwood floors. If you need to navigate tight spaces, cover edges and corners with foam, bubble wrap, or moving blankets. Plan your route in advance to avoid unexpected bumps and collisions.

Prevent strain or injury by using proper lifting techniques. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees so you lift with your knees, not your back. Don’t attempt to lift heavy appliances alone. Instead, use an appliance dolly or enlist a second person to help. Ensure that appliances are well-balanced and secured with straps to prevent them from tipping over.

If you have small children, take extra precautions with refrigerators and freezers. Keep these appliances securely fastened until they’re moved out so that children don’t become trapped inside. Supervise children diligently and, if possible, keep them in a safe area away from moving activities.


Large Appliances

Start preparing your major appliances at least 24 hours before the move. Consult the user manuals for disconnection and transportation instructions. Below are a few specific steps for laundry and kitchen appliances:

Defrost your refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours before moving. Remove all perishables, then clean and dry the interior. Vacuum off the compressor or condenser. Empty, clean, and dry the evaporator pan. Disconnect and drain the water supply line if your refrigerator has an ice maker or water dispenser.

Disconnect the water supply from your washing machine and drain any remaining water. Lock the drum in place using the manufacturer-provided shipping bolts to prevent internal damage. Remove the lint trap from your dryer and secure the door.

Clean the stove and oven thoroughly. Secure all removable parts, such as knobs and racks, and tape the door shut.

Clean and dry the dishwasher, disconnect it from the water supply, and drain the hoses. Secure the door and tape any cords or hoses to the body. Consider packing removable racks separately.


Small Appliances

Clean each small appliance. Empty the crumb tray in your toaster, wipe down your toaster oven, and remove any leftover coffee grounds from your coffee maker.

Once each appliance is clean and dry, disassemble them as much as possible. Pack removable parts separately to prevent damage, then wrap the main body of the appliance in bubble wrap. If you don’t have the original box, find a sturdy box that is slightly larger than the appliance. Fill any extra space with bubble wrap or crumpled packing paper.

Secure boxes with high-quality packing tape and clearly label each box with the contents. Use “FRAGILE” or “Handle With Care” stickers to mark boxes that contain breakable items.


Our Conclusion

Moving your household appliances requires careful preparation and packing, but it’s possible to DIY this job. We recommend starting at least 24 hours in advance and reviewing user manuals and lifting techniques for safety.
If you aren’t comfortable disconnecting, disassembling, packing, moving, or installing household appliances yourself, consider hiring professional movers or installers to help. Alternatively, you can choose to leave these heavy items behind and purchase new appliances for your new house.


FAQ About Moving Appliances

What are the best ways to move appliances?

The best ways to move appliances are with an appliance dolly or forearm forklift straps. You may also be able to use a furniture dolly or hand truck.

How do I protect my appliances when moving?

You can protect your appliances when moving by wrapping them in furniture blankets or bubble wrap, securing loose parts with tape or stretch wrap, and using floor protectors.

How can I safely transport appliances?

You can safely transport appliances by renting a moving truck or hiring professional movers. Secure doors and removable parts, wrap appliances in furniture blankets or bubble wrap, and secure them inside the truck with straps. Use a dolly or partner for heavy items and ensure proper lifting techniques.

What can I use to move heavy appliances?

You can use a hand truck, furniture dolly, appliance dolly, or forearm forklift to move heavy appliances.

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