How to Clean and Lubricate a Sliding Glass Door Track

Fatima Buzdar

October 17, 2023

A close-up view of a sliding glass door with a metal frame, meticulously installed by a professional locksmith. The door leads out to an exterior area with a brick floor. The frame appears to be gray, and part of the floor inside is covered with white protective material.

If your sliding patio door is making grating noises as it slides along the track, or has become difficult to open and close, or worse, it’s become almost non—functional, then it’s likely in need of lubrication!

Over time, the sliding door accumulates dryness and element build—up, which causes friction and impedes the smooth movements of the door. By upkeeping regular sliding door maintenance and lubricating sliding glass door tracks, you can ensure a constant smooth functioning of the door.

If this is neglected, then your door can even get damaged and cost you expensive repairs. By doing some simple sliding door maintenance regularly, you can avoid such troubles!

We’re going to delve into the step—by—step process and help you choose the best lubricant for sliding glass doors.

What’s the Best Lubricant to Use for a Sliding Door

  • Silicone—based lubricant: Silicone spray lubricants are deemed the best lubricant for sliding glass doors. They’re highly effective at reducing friction, repelling moisture, and preventing corrosion, as well as not leaving a sticky residue behind. They’re also resistant to weather conditions.

  • White lithium grease: Available in aerosol form, white lithium grease excellently resolves sticky doors. Its ability to repel water helps ward off corrosion. In addition, white lithium grease is good at firmly adhering to applied surfaces, even in harsh conditions.

  • Graphite lubricant: Available in both liquid and powder forms, graphite lubricants, classified as dry lubricants, exhibit exceptional resilience against adverse weather conditions and offer long—lasting protection. They excel at reducing friction and preventing the accumulation of elements.

  • Teflon—based lubricants: Teflon—based lubricants create a smooth, friction—reducing coating on hinge surfaces, delivering lasting performance and resistance to moisture.

  • WD—40: While WD—40 is a popular choice for lubrication, it may not be the best long—term option for sliding doors. Although it’s highly effective for general use, it can develop stickiness over time, which attracts dirt and dust, which gums up the door. This can lead to problems down the line, even if it initially seems to work well. It’s advisable to avoid other oil—based lubricants as they can present similar issues. 

A person removing screws from a sliding door with a screwdriver

How to Lubricate Your Sliding Door Tracks: Step—By—Step

Step 1. Take the Door Off the Tracks (Optional)

For thoroughly lubricating a sliding glass door, it’s recommended to remove the door. This should especially be considered if the sliding door is heavily stuck. However, of course, you can choose to clean and lubricate the door without this step.

It’s very important to note that if you’re not experienced and sure with the process, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the door, which has fragile parts yet is heavy. It can be trickier than you think!

Here are the general steps, but remember that the process can vary depending on the model of the sliding door.

  • Step 1. Prepare for the process: Before you begin, prepare everything you’ll need, such as a flathead screwdriver, an electric screwdriver, and a person to assist you. Ensure that you have a helper holding the door throughout the whole process so that the door doesn’t fall over. Remember that the door is heavy and fragile, and can injure you!

  • Step 2. Remove the roller screws: Remove the roller adjustment screws for holding the wheel with a flathead screwdriver. These can be found at the bottom of the door. By doing so, you can loosen up the door to take it off. Once you’re able to slightly lift the door, you may proceed to the next step.

  • Step 3. Unscrew the top: Slide the door fully open and unscrew the head stop screw located on the top corner. It may be good to use an electric screwdriver here, as the screw may be tight. The door would get very unstable at this stage, so you should have someone continue carefully holding onto the door.

  • Step 4. Pull the door out: With someone’s help, pull the door upwards and then towards yourself. Do so gently and slowly. It should slide out smoothly.

Step 2. Inspect the Door Components

Before diving into the lubrication process, ensure to check the conditions. For example, check the rollers and ensure they’re not damaged. If your sliding door isn’t sliding properly, the problem may often lie in their damage and they should be promptly repaired by a professional.

Step 3. Clean the Door

Prior to lubricating the door, make sure you clean the track and other components thoroughly! This is a crucial part of sliding door maintenance. If this is skipped, the lubricant may trap the dirt and grime under itself. This would result in gunk, gumming up the door.

You can begin by using a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt and debris. Then dampen a rag and wipe the tracks, rollers, etc. Regular water may clean up the tracks sufficiently, but if you notice persistent buildup, then use warm soapy water dampened on a rag or a stiff brush.

Step 4. Apply the Lubricant

Apply the chosen lubricant directly on the top of the tracks and then on the bottom tracks. Make sure to apply only a small amount! Excessive lubricant will cause issues. Wipe off any excess lubricant with a clean cloth to prevent a sticky residue.

Step 5. Reinstall the Door

Position the door on the bottom and tilt it upwards to attach it to the head stop. Pop the bottom into the wheels. Keep someone holding the door as you re—screw the head stop and roller screws.

A person removing the screws at the bottom of a sliding door

Get in Touch With Us for Expert Sliding Glass Door Repairs

Lubricating sliding glass doors is an important part of regular sliding door maintenance, which ensures the smooth operation of the doors. Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate, leading to increased friction and difficulty in opening and closing the door.

While taking the door off the tracks for thorough lubrication is an option, it’s important to exercise caution and, if necessary, seek professional assistance to avoid damage or injury. After thoroughly cleaning the door, you can lubricate the tracks with silicone—based lubricants, white lithium grease, graphite lubricants, and Teflon—based lubricants are recommended options.

If your door is still not functioning smoothly, then chances are that the problem lies in damaged door components, such as the rollers. This should be promptly repaired to prevent the issue from festering. 

Our experts are at your service. With a wealth of experience and a commitment to ensuring your utmost satisfaction, we’re ready to take care of all your sliding door needs. We’re fully equipped to address all your sliding door needs, including repairs and lubrication, ensuring your door functions as smoothly as brand new. Get in touch today!

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