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How to Clean Your Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding glass doors are a great way to extend your living space to include the outdoors. They increase natural light and add a level of circulation that’s tough to get with just windows. If your home has sliding glass doors, you know what an asset they can be, but they also require maintenance. Setting aside time monthly or bi-monthly to thoroughly clean the doors and tracks will allow them to last.

Clean the glass

Glass is the most quickly dirtied, but also the most easily cleaned, part of your sliding glass doors. As often as needed, use glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints, grime, and general build-up. Being sure to regularly clean the glass doesn’t just make your home look cleaner. It can also slow down debris build-up in the tracks and frame.

Wipe the frame

Cleaning the door frame is another way to keep your home looking dust-free, but there are many benefits to keeping this feature washed. Regularly cleaning the frame inside and outside can help keep the weathering seal from being damaged and needing replacement. It can also prevent additional dirt from building up in unseen places, causing the door to stick. When you’re ready to clean the frame, first lightly dust, then wipe with warm soapy water. Avoid any harsh chemicals that may damage the frame or weathering seal. If your door has a wooden frame, also consider re-varnishing the wood once the original varnish has worn away.

Scrub the tracks

Door tracks may take the worst beating of all. Between dirt from shoes, crumbs, and pet hair, anything could be hiding in those crevices. The track is also exposed to extreme temperatures and any debris blown in from outside. It’s a good idea to clean the tracks and rollers monthly, but using a brush vacuum attachment on them any time you vacuum can help keep things clean. After vacuuming, use warm soapy water to wipe off visible dirt. Once that’s done, it’s time to dig in. A small tool like a butter knife or screwdriver can help to get in hard-to-reach grooves. An old toothbrush can also get fine dirt out. 

Lubricate the tracks

Sliding glass doors can stick as they age, and no one wants to deal with a sticky door. Lubricating the bottom tracks will help prevent sticking and keep your doors moving smoothly. Make sure to clear dust and hair before lubricating. If your door has been sticking for a long time or is particularly dirty, you may need to remove the doors entirely to clean and lubricate the whole track. This step may be unnecessary, however, if your tracks are aluminum. If this is the case, do not lubricate them, just keep them clean to maintain a smooth sliding door.

Check the weatherstripping

Weatherstripping tends to become brittle and crack over time. Broken strips won’t protect your home well from cold temperatures, so consider replacing them if they have become brittle. Once you remove the old strips, clean the surface before installing any new ones. Make sure to align the new strips properly and follow all of the package instructions.

Replace old rollers

Unlike weatherstripping, rollers shouldn’t need replacing if they are well-maintained. However, if your doors are particularly stubborn and sticky, it may be time to check the rollers. Remove and thoroughly examine them. If they are dirty, take time to clean, lubricate, and reinstall them. If the rollers are damaged they will need to be replaced. Align the new rollers correctly and work with the adjustment screws until your door slides smoothly again.

Check the alignment

If your doors are still sticking and everything has been checked, they may be misaligned. Misalignment can be caused by everything from a settling foundation to consistent door slamming. This issue may require removing the door itself and reinstalling correctly from top to bottom. 

Caring for your sliding door properly can mean a long life for this feature of your home. Keep your door moving smoothly with these simple steps.