Help! My Refrigerator Door Won’t Stay Shut

Fred's Appliance
March 4, 2014

Refrigerators are designed to create an air-tight seal when the door closes. This is necessary to keep the cold air inside and the hot (or room temperature) air outside. When the door no longer creates this seal, thermal energy is able to leak from the refrigerator, leaving the food and beverages stored inside susceptible to spoilage. But what exactly causes a refrigerator door to no longer seal properly when shut? And how can you fix problems such as this? To learn the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

Perform The ‘Dollar Bill’ Test

 The dollar bill test is used to identify door sealing problems in refrigerators. Just as the name suggests, it involves the use of a single one-dollar bill. To perform the test, open your refrigerator door and place a dollar bill halfway inside. Now close the refrigerator door and try to pull it out. If the dollar bill pulls out without much effort, your refrigerator isn’t sealing properly.

Ideally, the dollar bill should be stuck inside without any wiggle room. This is a sign that the door is creating a strong, air-tight seal. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for refrigerator doors to lose their the ability to create an effective seal over time, which leads to higher energy costs while increasing the chance of spoiled food.

Clean The Gasket

If your refrigerator failed the dollar bill test, you should first clean the rubber-like sealing strip (known as the gasket). Mold, mildew, food particles and even moisture can linger on the gasket, making it difficult to seal properly. And to make matters worse, few people ever take the time to clean this part of their refrigerator.

Cleaning the gasket on a refrigerator is a quick and easy project that should only take a couple of minutes. Start by creating a solution of half white vinegar (filtered not organic) and half water. Open your refrigerator door and wipe the exposed gasket down with a towel that’s lightly damp with the diluted vinegar. Don’t worry about the odor, as it goes away once the vinegar has dried.

Move Items To The Back of Your Refrigerator

Another tip that’s helpful to creating a stronger door seal is to move items towards the back of your refrigerator. If you habitually place food and beverages in the door of your refrigerator and/or freezer, the extra weight could force it to open. Moving items from the door to the actual shelves, however, may be the solution to your problem.

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