The Fridge Door Suction Is Too Strong

April 21, 2022
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How to Open that Stuck Refrigerator Door

It can be extremely frustrating when you can’t open that fridge door!

Kitchen appliances are a nightmare when they don’t work right and none more so than the refrigerator.

If your fridge or freezer door has been getting stuck, making it difficult to open, then it’s time you set the issue right.

Dealing with a Stuck Freezer Drawer in an LG Refrigerator / Freezer

Here you can learn why the door might be getting stuck, possible ways to fix it, what to do if you have the opposite problem, and answers to some related questions. Let’s start with the whys.

Why Do Fridge Doors Become Stuck

The refrigerator door gasket, or the seal that runs around the fridge and freezer door, is responsible for keeping the cold air in the warm air out. Without a proper seal, refrigerators wouldn’t be terribly effective.

However, refrigerators are not exempt from the laws of thermodynamics. When you mix cold air and warm air, you’re left with a pressure difference.

In this case, when you open the refrigerator door, the warm and cold air is allowed to mix before the door is shut, and the fridge works to bring the air inside back down to the set temperature.

When hot or warm air gets trapped in a refrigerator or freezer, it compresses as it cools. As you’ve no doubt guessed, when this air compresses inside an immovable, finite space, it creates a vacuum.

Sometimes the seal is just too strong

The larger the temperature difference between the inside and outside air, the greater the pressure of the vacuum. This is why freezer doors usually feel harder to open and why fridge and freezer doors are hardest to open when they have already been opened recently.

Possible Solutions

If you want to get into the refrigerator or freezer right away, here are some quick solutions.

Pry It Open

If you can get to the door gasket, then you should be able to break the fridge door seal by simply jamming your fingers under the rubber and prying the door open.

It’s like when you want to remove a suction cup; you don’t pull from the center but rather pry up the edges.

Please don’t try to pry the door open with tools, as you may end up scratching the door or slicing the rubber seal. This can result in a very costly repair - so be very gentle.

If you think you're about to break the seal or the door - stop and consider other methods to try to open the door.

Unplug the Appliance

If, for some reason, you urgently need to get into the fridge or freezer but can’t manage to pry the door open with your hands, then try unplugging it.

This will still take some time as it requires the refrigerator to heat up to closer to room temperature, but it may alleviate the vacuum seal. This of course comes with the risk of food spoilage.

While the above solutions work as immediate fixes, performing them repeatedly is bothersome, time-consuming, and might damage the fridge seal over time. Instead, try these solutions to prevent or alleviate the problem.


The simplest solution, especially if you’ve recently opened the fridge, is to be patient. The compressed warm air will eventually be dispelled as the refrigerator circulates cold air, releasing the pressure.

Turn Up the Temperature

As mentioned previously, the more significant the difference between the outside and inside temperatures, the greater the pressure on the seal will be. So if your fridge door suction is too good, you may be running your fridge and freezer unnecessarily cold.

A refrigerator’s ideal temperature is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (about 2 to 4 degrees Celsius), and a freezer should be kept between 0 and -4 Fahrenheit (about -18 to -20 Celsius).

You may be able to get into your refrigerator after unplugging the appliance or raising the temperature

Lubricate the Gasket

Adding a thin coating of lubricant to the gasket may help to prevent sticking. Keep in mind that not all lubricants work on all refrigerator seals.

Silicone spray and petroleum jelly are the two most common lubricants, but be sure to consult the manual or ask a professional beforehand to prevent the seal from degrading.

Level the Fridge

While this won’t help with the vacuum, a common cause of difficult-to-open doors is that the refrigerator is tipped back too far.

Leveling the fridge will take some of the weight off the door and may make it easier to open.

Contact the Manufacturer

If you've recently purchased the refrigerator (especially if it is still under warranty), you may wish to call the manufacturer's customer service department. They may be able to fix the issue at no cost (or low cost) to you.

As a last resort, contacting the manufacturer or calling an appliance repair company may restore your access to your refrigerator

Call In a Pro

When all else fails, you should consult a professional because there is likely something more at play preventing your fridge from opening. For example, it might be the hinges, or perhaps it was assembled incorrectly. Whatever the cause, calling in a pro is your best bet.

What if the Reverse Happens?

If you’ve done any of the above and are now experiencing the opposite problem where the door won’t stay closed, then here are some likely causes and solutions to deal with it.

Too Much Weight

If the fridge door swings open, there might simply be too much in the door. As strong as refrigerators are, even they have their limits.

Try lessening the load on the door and see if it stays shut.

Fridge Isn’t Level

Similar to when the door is stuck, gravity might be pulling the door open if you overcorrect, and the fridge now leans too far forward. Make sure the fridge is perfectly level.

A woman struggling to open a refrigerator door due to strong suction.

A Refrigerator that Isn't Level May Result in Problems with the Door Staying Open or Being Harder to Open

Hinges are Misaligned

Similarly, excessive weight, years of use, too much strain, and wear can offset the hinges enough to prevent the door from staying closed. Adjust or replace the hinges.

Dirty Seal

Seals only work when they have full and proper contact. If there is a lot of dirt, grit, food, or hair in the gasket, it could be causing gaps that prevent the door from sealing. Wipe it down with a wet rag, and then work on any tough spots with a basic cleaning solution.

A woman wearing yellow gloves struggling with the strong suction of a refrigerator door.

Make Cleaning the Seal Part of Your Refrigerator Cleaning Ritual

Cracked, Worn, or Old Seal

An old refrigerator gasket might simply be at the end of its life. If you see cracks or obvious signs of wear, try replacing it with a new seal.

Related Questions

Here are some of the common questions about the refrigerator door.

How do I stop my refrigerator door from sticking?

If the door isn't stuck due to a vacuum, then the problem is likely that the fridge door gasket is dirty or degrading. Try cleaning the gasket or replacing it if you think you need to. You can also add a coat of paraffin wax after cleaning it.

How do you lubricate a refrigerator door?

There are two parts of such kitchen appliances that might require lubrication: the door seal and the hinges. As mentioned above, petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, or silicone spray can help with the seal, and penetrating lubricant for refrigerators will work for the hinges.

These lubricants have long nozzles or syringes to help get into the hinges.

Why is the fridge door always hard to open?

If you have tried all the above fixes, but don’t want to call in a technician just yet, then it’s worthwhile to check out the refrigerator door seal. There may be a gap, crack, or hole in the seal that causes warm air to leak in, creating a constant pressure vacuum.

If this is the cause, you can either try to find the leak and patch it or get a new seal and start over. Just make sure you attach the new seal properly, or you’ll have the same problem.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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