preparing appliances for moving

Moving with Appliances: Preparation of Major Appliances

Cleaning is Important
Thorough cleaning and drying of appliances, particularly the refrigerator, freezer and range, are necessary. This is especially important if they will be in storage for any length of time.

Grease left on a range will turn rancid and gummy, catch dust and dirt, and leave spots on any items that touch it.

In addition, the slightest bit of moisture in a warm, enclosed space is enough to cause the growth of mold and mildew, resulting in a musty odor and stains that may be impossible to remove. Holman Moving Systems is not liable for damage caused by mold and mildew.

Cleaning instructions are included in the owner's manual which accompanies new appliances. If no instructions are available, use a mild detergent solution. Or, use a solution of three tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in a quart of warm water to which one tablespoon of vinegar has been added. Do not use harsh abrasives that will scratch or mar finishes. A soft cloth or vacuum cleaner will remove excess dust. Soft rags make excellent drying and polishing cloths.

The following are general guidelines for cleaning and servicing specific major appliances. If your owner's manual provides other directions, please follow them:

Moving a Dishwasher

In many cases, dishwashers are built in and are sold with the house. However, if you will be moving your dishwasher with you, follow these helpful cleaning and servicing tips.

Wipe off the control panel with a dampened cloth. An appliance polishing wax can be lightly applied to the cabinet finish. The interior normally does not need cleaning unless you see a buildup of food or soap. Leave the door open for several hours to ensure that the appliance is thoroughly dry.

When moving a portable dishwasher, disconnect and drain the hoses. Then wrap dry hoses with towels or packing paper, and place inside the dishwasher. You should protect the appliance from freezing. You can do this yourself or contact the manufacturer’s service technician.

The servicing procedure should include:

  • Shutting off the electric and water supplies.
  • Disconnecting and draining the water inlet line and water valve.
  • Sponging any remaining water from the bottom of the dishwasher (if applicable, removing any pump cover inside the appliance and wiping dry).

Moving a Washing Machine

Use a soft cloth and appliance cleaner to wipe off the interior. On the inside, clean lint filter and tub with a soft dry cloth. Leave the lid open so that any moisture will evaporate.

Turn off water faucets, disconnect and drain hoses. Wrap the metal connector ends of hoses in a towel and place inside the washer.

To safely move your washing machine, it should be serviced to prevent swaying of the tub. Ask your moving counselor about inserting a "washer kit" or supplying you with one. A washing machine moving kit is a plastic foam brace which is placed on top of the agitator. The cost is nominal, especially for the protection it provides to your washer. Another alternative for securing the tub is tightening the appropriate hardware underneath the washer. If this method is used, remember to reverse it at destination in order to operate the washer. Check your owner's manual or with the manufacturer.

Regardless of the time of year you move, all water should be drained from the tub because shipments can travel through a variety of climates and terrain. After your move, be sure to have the washer connected by a qualified installer. The washing machine must be connected to the drain hose, as well as to the hot and cold water faucets. To compensate for varying water pressure and as a preventive maintenance measure, replace your water supply hoses before connecting the washing machine at destination.

Moving a Dryer

Remove any debris from the lint screen with your fingers or a dry paper towel. Do not use water on the screen. Wipe off the exterior with an appliance cleaner and soft damp cloth. Before cleaning the interior, unplug the dryer or turn off the electrical power to the appliance. You can remove dust with a damp sponge. If the dryer drum is discolored, try a mild liquid household cleaner or a paste of laundry detergent and warm water. Rub the area until the discoloration is removed. Wipe thoroughly, then reconnect to electricity and operate the dryer with a load of old rags to remove any soap residue and to thoroughly dry the drum. Remove the rags when finished.

Disconnect the electrical supply to the appliance. For a gas dryer, the appliance should be disconnected and the gas line capped off before moving day by a qualified service technician. At destination, use a qualified installer who is familiar with requirements for gas and/or electricity, as well as the exhaust system.


Moving a Stove

Wipe off the outer surface of the stove with a mild detergent. Detach and wash in hot soapy water any removable parts such as knobs, drip pans, grates, broiler pan and oven racks. Plug-in coils for an electric stove should not be immersed in water; spills on these units normally burn away as heated. If your stove top can be raised, clean the area underneath with hot soapy water. Clean all removable items before packing day so they can be wrapped and placed in a carton or any storage compartment on the stove. Before placing any chemicals inside your oven, determine if it is self-cleaning. Be sure to follow guidelines listed in your owner's manual, or call the appliance manufacturer for information on your specific model.

For a gas stove, you should have it disconnected prior to moving day by a qualified service technician. At destination, you will need a qualified installer to check your gas supply, connect the range to the gas fine, seal any openings, light the pilot and handle any other hook-up procedures. For an electric stove, generally no servicing at origin is required. However, when you reach destination, have your power supply checked for the correct electrical requirements. Certain stoves, such as those with air-ventilated grills, vary on the voltage they require.

Moving a Refrigerator and Freezer

Use a cloth and mild detergent to wipe off the exterior finish. Before cleaning the interior, dispose of perishables and unplug the power cord. Wash removable parts such as shelves and drawers with a mild detergent or in a solution of warm water and baking soda (about one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water). Ice trays and ice storage bins should be washed in lukewarm water only.

Wash the interior walls and any non-removable parts with a mild detergent or baking soda solution; leave the door open for at least 24 hours, allowing all moisture to evaporate. If your refrigerator is not a frost-free model, allow extra time to complete defrosting and drying. Secure all loose plastic parts. Glass shelves should be removed, cleaned, and carefully packed in a carton for protection in transit. At the bottom of the refrigerator, remove the base covering and vacuum the condenser or compressor. Empty and clean the evaporator pan; allow time for it to dry.

Double-check the butter and egg compartments to be sure the appliance is totally empty and clean. A refrigerator that is not cleaned before transit can develop an unpleasant, permanent odor, making the appliance unusable at destination. After cleaning, place some Reefer Sweet®, an odor and mildew preventative, in your refrigerator. Your mover may be able to provide you with this item.

Before moving, turn off the water and disconnect the water line if you have a cold water dispenser or automatic ice maker. You should also empty the water reservoir. If your refrigerator is an older model, you may need to have the motor or compressor bolted down. However, the majority of refrigerators now are sealed units which do not require this service.

At destination, do not operate the refrigerator for at least 24 hours after delivery. This allows the oil time to settle, preventing possible damage to the compressor. Before using, ice makers and water dispensers must be connected to a water line. Installation service or parts can be obtained from an authorized dealer for your appliance. Copper tubing, a shut-off valve and fittings may be required. Once your ice maker is in service, dispose of the first few batches of ice because of possible impurities from opening a water line.

Freezer and Frozen Foods
Most moving companies, including Holman, will not take a freezer that has not been cleaned and emptied. Here is why:

  • Home freezers were not designed to be used as shipping containers. The weight of food during the move can crack plastic shelves or the molding inside the freezer.
  • Frozen foods are highly perishable. There is no way to ensure that the freezer temperature will remain at a safe level during transit.
  • Vans have no electric power to keep freezers running, nor can a van operator stop along the route to connect a freezer power source.
  • Regardless of the precautions taken, frozen foods will almost certainly deteriorate on a loaded household goods moving van.
  • The lining and insulation of the freezer can absorb bad odors from spoiled food which may be impossible to eliminate and render the freezer unusable.

Tariff Regulations
It is strongly recommended that frozen food not be included in your shipment. If frozen foods are to be included, tariff rules permit limited acceptance of frozen foods only when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The food is contained in a home freezer which is at normal frozen food temperature (zero degrees Fahrenheit or below) at the time of loading on the van.
  • The shipment is to be transported less than 150 miles and delivered within 24 hours from loading time.
  • Storage of the shipment is not required.
  • Use of electricity is not required.

For more information return to the appliance moving guide.