Troubleshooting Refrigerator Door Issues

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Whether it's the break room fridge that fails to shut or the vital appliance in your home kitchen that's refusing to close, a refrigerator door that won't seal properly is a serious problem. If the door doesn't close completely, all the work that the refrigerator does all day is for naught. Figuring out how to fix a failing door is a relatively simple task that can normally bring the big workhorse back to its closing-door glory in a short amount of time.

Troubleshooting Refrigerator Door Issues
Image Credit: TARIK KIZILKAYA/E+/GettyImages

Seal Issues and Doors

When you approach the fridge and the door swings open with the greatest of ease, worry can begin to settle in. How long has this been going on? If the food is still cold to the touch, you haven't lost any products inside the fridge. Still, don't lose any time in confronting the non-closing situation going on with the fridge door. It could be a gasket issue. Gaskets that rim the refrigerator door need to be cleaned often. Spilled milk, crumbs and condiments can sneak into the folds of the thick rubber gasket and cause the seal to be disrupted. If a mild solution of rubbing alcohol, liquid soap and vinegar doesn't get the gasket back up to its sealing glory, you may have to dig deeper to find the issue. If the gasket is old, a coat of petroleum jelly applied in a thin layer can breathe new life into the aging seal.

Hinge-Worthy Efforts

If the door has just been moved into place or recently delivered, the door hinges may be off. Remove any plastic trim that covers the hinges. A flathead screwdriver placed under the rim of the trim should pop it right off. Tighten or loosen the hinge screws that hold the metal piece in place. Don't tighten too hard or the door could suffer cracks that will exacerbate the closing issue. If the screws get too loose, the heavy door could come down at an angle and hurt flooring or feet, whichever surface it finds first.

Freeze a Crowd

It may not always be the hulking appliance's fault. The doors to the refrigerator and/or freezer can be overloaded with packages and condiments. Each time the door is opened or closed, the bottles of mustards and salad dressings jiggle in their plastic pockets and the packages of peas and carrots shift in the freezer compartments. Shift large, bulky items from the doors to the cavity of the refrigerator and give the bag of frozen fruits and veggies a rest on the freezer shelves.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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