A refrigerator is designed to contain cold very efficiently. Cold air circulates through the refrigerator and freezer compartments, but the air has to stay inside for the refrigerator to stay cold. To do this, the door seals tightly when it is closed. You may have noticed the soft rubber gasket seal around the edge and how snugly a refrigerator door can close. A good fridge seal takes a serious pull to open the fridge after the door has settled closed.
However, if your refrigerator door is loose and not sealing, then you have problems. The fridge can’t hold cold and it may take extra effort to close the fridge door every time. There are five primary causes of a loose fridge door. We’ll explore them all along with the quick at-home solutions to each.
- Cabinet Obstructions
- Grimy Gasket Seal
- Door is Too Heavy
- Loose Door Hinges
- Fridge is Not Level
1) Check for Obstructions
The first thing to check for is whether anything inside your refrigerator is blocking the door from closing. This can happen to anyone and is not always obvious how the door is being blocked. Check the crisper drawers, as sometimes they can be off-set and somehow block the door. Check for large items or boxes of soda in the fridge. Check for things near the hinges that might push against the fridge plastic frame interior.
If you’re totally stumped but the door seems blocked, take everything out of the fridge and try closing the door. If the door then closes firmly, carefully reload the fridge so that the door isn’t obstructed. If the door closes badly when the fridge is empty, look for another cause of the problem to fix.
2) Clean the Gasket
The next thing to check is your refrigerator door gasket. The gasket seal is a strip of shaped rubber that rings the inner edge of the door itself. This gasket bonds with the smooth surface of the refrigerator cabinet’s door pocket. As you might imagine, if there is anything wrong with the seal, then your fridge door won’t suction closed and hold the cold air in. It may well feel loose when the seal doesn’t take.
Inspect your seal. Clean it with a damp, warm sponge and vinegar or light detergent. Make sure there is no grime along the entire length of the seal, all the way around. From there, look for damage. If the seal is ripped or twisted, then you will need to install a new refrigerator seal.
If the seal seems hard and dried-out, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly along the gasket surface. This adds back a little moisture and helps form a temporarily tighter seal when the door closes. With an old seal, you will likely need to replace it soon.
3) Lighten the Door Weight
There’s a chance you’re dragging the fridge door down from its intended alignment with heavy items in the door. If you fill your fridge door with juice, spreads, and gallons of milk, that door can get overloaded. When the fridge door is too heavy, it can hang lop-sided and therefore not close and seal correctly. Many different ways to fill a fridge can cause the fridge door to droop, fail to seal, and then leak cold air.
To test this, remove the heaviest items from your fridge door and try to close it. Remove everything from the fridge door and test it again. See how much the door sags when it’s full and consider re-allocating how you place your cold groceries. Place the milk on the lowest shelf instead of in the door, for example. If necessary, readjust the fridge shelves to accommodate your new beverage storage location.
4) Adjust Your Hinges
If nothing else worked and your fridge doesn’t close tightly when completely empty, the problem is very likely to be the fridge door hinges. If the hinges are loose, then the door won’t hang at the right angle no matter how you pack it or close it or treat the seal. Fortunately, this is an easier repair than you might think. Grab a friend, a bubble level, and a screwdriver.
Open your fridge door and remove the hinge covers on the inside. Place the bubble level on the fridge door and lift the outside edge until the bubble is in the center. Then tighten the top screws of the hinge to secure the door in the new position. Now test opening and closing the door to see if it seals correctly. Then place a few items in the door and test it again.
When you’re done, return the hinge covers to the inside of the door hinges.
5) Level the Fridge
The last trick you can try is to level the fridge itself. Sometimes, a door with a not-very-strong gasket seal will fall open because the fridge tilts forward or tips down on one corner. To fix this, you’ll need to adjust the leveling legs under the fridge. Grab your bubble level and test the fridge from each direction. Test the front, back, and both sides of the fridge to find how it is not level.
Then twist the fridge’s feet so they extend or retract to make the fridge level. Twisting clockwise will extend the legs while counter-clockwise will retract them. When the fridge is level in all directions, your task is done and you can test the door again.
Put Your Fridge Back Together
When you think you have completed your door repairs, put everything back into your fridge, and test the door. If it hangs straight and closes firmly, your repairs have been a success. If you’re still having trouble, please look into replacing your refrigerator door gasket seal or call for professional appliance repair services. You need your refrigerator to seal correctly in order to keep your groceries safely cold and keep the power bill at a reasonable rate. We would be happy to help you both remotely and as on-site technicians. Contact us today for more DIY appliance repair guides or to schedule a service for your refrigerator.