Why is My Fridge Seal Not Sticking?

April 27, 2022
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Troubleshooting a Refrigerator Door with a Weak - or no - Seal

The refrigerator is amongst the most essential appliances in your home. Not having a place to store your food isn't only an inconvenience, but it is also a food safety issue.

A faulty seal may allow warm air into the refrigerator. Your refrigerator will have to work overtime to try to maintain an appropriate temperature - resulting in excess energy (and money) being spent.

Examining a Refrigerator Seal

Take a close look at your refrigerator door seal to attempt to identify any problems

This situation also creates a breeding ground for bacteria when temperatures go above 40 degrees in the fridge. This is referred to as the "danger zone" by the USDA. This can result in food spoilage and increases the potential for food poisoning.

It's not uncommon that the door refuses to close from time to time. It might not seal at all, or either you have to do it a few times to get it to catch. Either way, it can be a huge problem that you'll want to resolve immediately.

If you have a faulty refrigerator door seal and want to know how to fix it, I'll tell you the most common reasons your seal won't stick, as well as some proven solutions.

Why is the Refrigerator Not Sealing Properly?

The first thing that you should do is make sure that the problem is in fact the door seal. Before investigating any potential problems, check inside your refrigerator to ensure no misaligned shelves, food containers, or crisper drawers impede the door and keep it from closing.

Additionally, make sure that your doors are aligned properly and that your refrigerator is level and not tilting in any direction.

This Video from LG explains why your refrigerator may not be closing properly

Rearrange the items in your fridge or remove some things that are expendable to create more room for the door to close properly. If after, the door still doesn't close, check the fridge gasket as this is the next best reason for such a development.

Tips to Fix a Broken Refrigerator Door Seal

These quick and easy solutions may do the trick if it seems like your fridge door won't stay closed.

Door Gasket Needs Cleaning

Most of the time, having problems with the refrigerator door boils down to the gasket. The door gasket is the rubber seal that outlines the border of the freezer and fridge doors.

If this rubber gasket becomes warped, detached, hardened due to age, or even dirty, these factors can compromise the refrigerator gasket seal, preventing it from creating a tight seal that is required to keep the door closed firmly.

Old Refrigerator Seal that No Longer Works

An older refrigerator seal that doesn’t work will need to be replaced

The easiest way to fix this problem is to simply begin with cleaning the seal. It may have built up a layer of grit and grime over time which is now interfering with the refrigerator seal.

Get a damp washcloth or sponge and wipe the gasket clean in its entirety on all sides.

Additionally, if the grime is tough, you can use some mild dish soap or white vinegar to help penetrate the grime for an easier clean. Lacing the gasket with a thin layer of petroleum jelly provides restorative properties to the seal and can revitalize an older seal.

Gasket Reattachment

Older refrigerators or those you have been using heavily may wear down and become compromised or detached in sections. This will most assuredly cause your fridge to stop sealing completely.

If your refrigerator door gasket has become compromised through twisting or detached, there's a chance that you can repair it without being forced to buy a new gasket.

The way to go about reattaching your gasket will depend mostly on your refrigerator model. Some fridges have gaskets that use gasket cement-a kind of glue for refrigerator door gaskets and connected with adhesive tape.

An Appliance Repair Tech Replacing a Refrigerator Door Gasket

Seal Replacement

You might have to replace a refrigerator gasket that has considerable damage perhaps you have an old seal that is beyond its useful life. Check the make and model of your refrigerator to choose the right replacement method before beginning.

Use the refrigerator manual to correctly and carefully remove the old gasket. Next, clean the groove of the gasket on the fridge before moving on with the installation.

Replace the gasket and test the new door seal to ensure it functions correctly.

Photo of a Failing Refrigerator Seal

Refrigerator Seal that is no longer working properly

Try Balancing the Feet

You may notice that your fridge seal doesn't work because the door hangs unevenly, which prevents the gasket from aligning correctly. The reason behind the imbalance could be a result of the floor being uneven or the feet of the refrigerator.

You might have to adjust the refrigerator accordingly if it's already propped up by a box underneath or anything that makes it level with the floor.

If the floor isn't the problem, make sure nothing is stuck beneath the feet of the fridge that's throwing off the alignment. All feet should be the same height.

A yellow level on a white background.

Check Your Refrigerator with a Level to Make Sure it is Balanced Properly

Tighten the Hinges

The fridge door gets weighed down easily with items like milk, gallons of juice, and so on as you open and close it throughout the day. The constant movement can take a toll on the door hinges. You might even notice slight sagging because of the weight.

This issue is a quick fix if your hinges are sturdy overall. It won't require much more than a tightening, generally near the top of the door where there's a lot of stress.

To be safe, tighten the hinges at the bottom as well because you want to ensure that the door stays balanced.

You start by taking the plastic cover off of the door hinge and moving it around to see if it seems loose. If you examine it and it doesn't seem as tight, check your refrigerator manual in the correct way to tighten and realign the door.

If your door seal still isn't functioning as it should and the hinges are tight, there could just be too many products on the refrigerator door.

Troubleshooting a stainless steel refrigerator door seal.

Inspect the Hinges on Your Refrigerator

Replacement Hinges

If your hinges are beyond repair and the refrigerator door seal won't stick, you will have to replace the hinges altogether to prevent cold air from seeping out.

Sometimes the door can take too much punishment, and the hinges get bent, or maybe you've had the refrigerator for a while, and the hinges have rusted.

These are common problems, but it doesn't require you to buy a brand new Samsung refrigerator to remedy the problem.

A new set of hinges can screw into the same place as the old ones, and it'll hold your door up better and possibly help the seal stick better.

Remagnetize the Fridge Door

A man troubleshooting a refrigerator seal using tools.

You're Going to Need to Hire an Appliance Repair Tech if You Need Any Complicated Fixes - Like Remagnetizing a Refrigerator

If your freezer door or refrigerator door requires magnetization to stay closed, maybe the original magnetic power isn't as strong as it was previously. In this case, you'll have to call an appliance repair company to come out and remagnetize the freezer or refrigerator.

Replace the Door

One of the worst-case scenarios is that the entire door needs to get replaced. It might never close again if there's too much damage to the hinges, the seal, or the door shape has completely changed.

In this case, you might want to buy a new fridge altogether, depending on your financial situation.

You don't have to get something as fancy as the latest SubZero refrigerator, but you don't want your food to go to waste because of a faulty door and seal. It may be costly to replace the door as well, so you'll have to weigh the benefits.

Freezer Door Seal Issues?

The troubleshooting steps for a freezer door seal will be very similar to what is required to ensure your fridge door gasket is intact. Make sure the seal around the freezer compartment is clean, and not decaying. Clean or replace the gasket seal if necessary.

Wrap up

Seals on refrigerators and freezers can become less effective over time. It may be possible to reposition food items or clean the seal to fix the problem. In extreme cases, you’ll likely have to replace the refrigerator seal.

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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