How to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly [Detailed Guide]

Whether you’re moving a new unit from your doorstep on delivery into your house or moving homes, moving a refrigerator is a delicate process. This is because refrigerators are heavy, and no matter how tough the casing may be, refrigerators are somewhat fragile. This is why if you don’t have a dolly, knowing how to move a refrigerator without a dolly is important.

How to Move a Fridge without a dolly

Rest assured, however, that though difficult, moving refrigerator without a dolly is very possible with some careful planning and assistance.

Read on to know how to move a refrigerator without a dolly.

How to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly – Preparing for the Move

You really can’t just up and move your refrigerator without adequate preparations.

The following steps will, however, prepare you for the move. Check them out!

1. Empty Your Refrigerator

It is important that you empty the contents of your fridge before attempting to move it. This reduces the weight, especially as you won’t be using a dolly.

You wouldn’t want to break your back now, would you? Emptying also prevents creating a mess from the contents thawing out and spilling over while moving.

So, plan your move ahead. So that you would have used up the perishables, made arrangements to give them away, or store them in a suitable cooler.

2. Unplug the Appliance

Switch off the power supply and unplug the refrigerator from the socket.

Then wrap and tuck the cord away carefully to avoid it dangling or trailing out as it could get damaged or even trip someone over.

A rope, tape, or suitable cable management tool would be useful here.

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3. Defrost the Refrigerator

You can use a hairdryer, place a bowl of hot water in the unit, or leave the unit door open overnight to make defrosting easier and faster.

Also, have a mop handy to clean up all the water from the defrosting.

4. Clean and Let Dry

Moving your fridge into a new apartment? You might as well bring a fresh and clean unit into your new home.

After defrosting, seize the opportunity to clean the refrigerator thoroughly and leave to dry to prevent water from dripping all over while moving.

Also, leave the doors open to let out old food smells.

By the way, baking soda and activated charcoal are known to absorb smells.

So, you can place a container of either in the refrigerator to get rid of damp smells.

5. Remove Shelves And Accessories

Wrap and place them carefully into well-labeled moving boxes. If you don’t want to remove them, another option is to secure them in place with strong adhesive tape.

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Removing or taping prevents them from rattling, moving around, or breaking while moving.

6. Secure Doors and Wrap Up

Use a cord or rope to secure the refrigerator doors to prevent them from opening mid-move.

You may also want to put some level of protection in place by wrapping your fridge with soft blankets and securing with ropes or tape to prevent scratches.

Be careful not to tie too tightly to avoid making marks on the body.

How to Move a Fridge without a dolly

How To Move A Refrigerator Without A Dolly – The Actual Move

Now that your refrigerator is set, it’s time for the move!

1. Enlist Help:

Moving a fridge is no easy task and helpers will make the process easier and faster, especially around tough spots such as over the stairs.

You might need up to 3 or 4 persons.

Time your movements and lift simultaneously to move.

If you need to take a break after moving a distance, communicate it to others, and set down the refrigerator carefully.

What if you are not able to get more than one person to help and you still want to be able to move your refrigerator without a regular dolly? You can use moving straps like the Shoulder Dolly Lifting Straps for Two People.

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2. Attach Furniture Sliders Or Wheels

Also known as gliders, furniture sliders are pieces of hardened plastic or rubber that can be attached to the feet of your refrigerator or furniture pieces. They help to prevent friction and damage to your floor while enabling you to slide or glide the refrigerator across.

To attach, move the refrigerator away from the wall or cabinet. This takes a lot of caution, and you would need a helping hand.

Have a friend that can support as you lift the fridge carefully at each corner and attach the sliders or wheels.

If you don’t have gliders or sliders yet and can spare some bucks for your comfort, then you may want to consider the SuperSliders Reusable Furniture Sliders for Hardwood Floors. These heavy-duty furniture sliders come in a pack of 4 and are affordable and highly-rated for their durability and ease of use.

Alternatively, if you want more for only a few more bucks, then the 8-Pack X-Protector Felt Furniture Sliders for Hard Surfaces may be your best bet.

3. Clear The Path

Remove all obstacles like furniture from the path to ensure easy movement.

Open doors wide to enable you to pass through with the unit without banging edges, tripping over, or having to squeeze through as this can cause damage to the unit or lead to injury for you and others.

4. Walk It Forward

If lifting is not possible at any point, or you have to navigate a tight corner or door, it might help to walk the refrigerator forward carefully.

To do this, stand behind the refrigerator, lift a bit, and rock gently from side to side while lifting the feet to walk it forward – just like teaching a toddler how to walk.

5. Set Up A Ramp

To move it up the back of the moving truck, you can lift it across or set up a sturdy ramp. With the gliders or wheels attached, roll/glide it carefully up the ramp. Have someone stand in front and behind it to guide it carefully into place.

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When you get to your destination, repeat the process backward, setting down gently from the truck, moving carefully across, and setting it into place properly.

Ross is a moving expert at and he offers moving tips that will make your move easy. Check them out in the video below:

Best Practices

Ensure that the Refrigerator Is Upright as much as is within your power. Under no circumstance should the refrigerator be laid on its side or back. If you have to tilt back, do so only slightly at not more than 45 degrees. Otherwise, the compressor oil will run up the cooling tubes and they might not settle back properly which affects the refrigerator’s operation.

On getting to your destination and setting up, leave the fridge to settle for at least 2 to 6 hours before switching it on again. You can refer to our post on “How to Install a Refrigerator” to learn how to get the job done at your new place. It also always helps to refer to the user’s manual for guidance.

Meanwhile, remember that it is a lot easier to move a fridge with a dolly than without one.

In the video below, Keith Anderson, a Factory Technician at Appliance and Mattress Kingdom, shares useful tips on how to move a refrigerator with a dolly. Check it out!


Check out these other in-depth articles/reviews…

How to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly – Quick Recap

Moving a refrigerator without a dolly is quite difficult but not impossible.

Plan and prepare well ahead for the move and enlist the help of friends to make it easier.

Use furniture sliders or wheels where possible to aid moving across floors without damaging them.

Also, lift carefully with friends and/or walk the unit forward carefully.

It may help to set up a ramp to move it into the back of the moving truck.

In all you do, do not place the refrigerator on its side or back.

Ensure that the highest tilting angle is around 45 degrees.

Also, leave the fridge to settle down properly after setting it up in its new home before switching it on.

All the best with your move!

How to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly – Related FAQs

1. What Do I Need to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly?

Here are some materials you may need to move a refrigerator without a dolly:

  • Cleaning supplies to clean the refrigerator with.
  • Rope or tape for wrapping the refrigerator plug after unplugging.
  • Hairdryer or bowl of hot water for faster defrosting.
  • Mop to clean up all the water from defrosting.
  • Baking soda (optional). To absorb old food smells.
  • Rope or cord to secure the refrigerator tightly.
  • Shoulder Dolly lifting straps (optional). If you have just one person to help you move your refrigerator.
  • Furniture sliders to prevent friction and damage to the floor as you move your refrigerator.

Preparing to move a refrigerator is as important as moving the refrigerator. Hence, the need to get all your materials ready to aid the moving.

2. How Do You Move a Refrigerator That Hasn’t Been Defrosted?

To move a refrigerator that hasn’t been defrosted:

  • Keep the food contents in the freezer. This will help the temperature in the refrigerator to remain cool as the refrigerator has already been unplugged. If you have any meats, put them at the bottom of the freezer so they do not taint other foods if defrosting occurs.
  • Place towels inside the refrigerator and under the freezer.
  • Unplug and pack up the refrigerator. 
  • Seal the refrigerator tightly and load it into the truck.
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Defrosting a refrigerator is a necessary step to take before moving. However, if you’re making a short-distance move (no more than 30 minutes), and you do not want to go through the trouble of defrosting a refrigerator, then you can follow the steps listed above.

3. Do Refrigerators Need to Be Defrosted Before Moving?

If your moving trip is going to be more than a 30-minute drive, it is necessary to defrost the refrigerator. Otherwise, the built-up ice inside the refrigerator will melt and leak out, making a mess in the pickup truck.

Of course, it’s very understandable if your move is constrained by time and needs to be quick. In that case, you can take the quick but necessary steps before you make the move. Note that emptying the refrigerator before moving it is a standard procedure to take.

4. How Can I Speed Up Defrosting My Refrigerator?

Here’s how you can speed up defrosting your refrigerator:

  • Put a bowl of hot water inside the refrigerator and close the doors. You can also place a towel down to protect the shelf from the heat. Replace the water every ten minutes.
  • Use a hairdryer to melt the ice in the refrigerator. But be careful not to touch the hairdryer to the ice and the melted water.
  • If the temperature in the house is warm, use a fan to spread the air in the refrigerator.

So, next time you remember 5 minutes before the movers arrive that you haven’t defrosted your refrigerator you can take these steps to make things tidy and quick.

5. How Do I Plan a Moving Route When Moving a Refrigerator?

Here are a few steps to take to plan a moving route when moving a refrigerator:

Step 1: Measure the refrigerator (height, width, and depth).

Step 2: Measure the height and width of all the doors you’ll go through during the moving, from the kitchen door (or wherever your refrigerator is located) to the door at the exit.

Step 3: Compare your refrigerator measurements to the door measurements. If your refrigerator is still too wide to pass through the doors, consider removing the doors from the hinges.

Step 4: Remove any blocks on your route, like boxes, and pieces of furniture to ensure that the path from your refrigerator to the pickup truck is free.

6. How Do You Move a Refrigerator Without Scratching the Floor?

Use furniture sliders to move a refrigerator without scratching the floor. Furniture sliders are pieces of hardened plastics or rubber that can be attached to the feet of your refrigerator or furniture pieces. They help to prevent friction and damage to the floor as you move your refrigerator.

Here are a few steps to follow to move your refrigerator with furniture sliders:

Step 1: Get someone to help tilt the refrigerator to one side.

Step 2: Position a slider under each foot of the refrigerator.

Step 3: Drag the refrigerator slowly till you reach your preferred location for the fridge.

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7. Can I Lay a Refrigerator Down to Move It?

You shouldn’t lay a refrigerator down to move it because it is not safe.

Refrigerators might have this ‘unbreakable’ look, but big appliances like these are rather sensitive and fragile. If you lay a refrigerator down while moving it, it can cause damage to the cooling mechanism.

Laying it on its side can cause the oil in the compressor unit to go into the cooling lines, thereby damaging the cooling mechanism of the refrigerator.

So, if you must tilt it at all, try as much as possible to keep your refrigerator at an angle not less than 45 degrees all through the move.

You can also see this article on how to move a refrigerator in a pickup truck.

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