An Easy Way to Make Your Fridge More Efficient.

You know that rubber seal around your refrigerator door?  Yeah, you’re supposed to check and change it once a year or so. If you aren’t doing that, chances are you’re losing money. 

Restaurant style glass door refrigerator by True Residential, in a country kitchen.

You have a refrigerator don’t you? You just look like the kind of person who appreciates the finer things in life like meat that isn’t writhing in salmonella and maggots. When’s the last time you checked and replaced the rubber gasket on your fridge?

Yeah. Never. I knew that’s what you were going to say.

For that one person who said yes, you’re a freak.  Impressive!  But a freak.  Checking your fridge gasket isn’t on the short-list of home maintenance chores for most people.  There’s clean or replace the filter in your furnace, turn your outdoor water tap off before it freezes in the winter and replace your smoke detector batteries twice a year.

But replacing your refrigerator door gasket is the easiest way to make sure the fridge is keeping your food at the proper temperature and working most efficiently.  Do this right  now … go and inspect the gasket on your fridge door.

If it’s dried out, warped or torn you should replace your fridge gasket.

Go on, do it right now or you’ll forget about it.  I’ll wait here. If you already know how to replace a refrigerator door gasket you can go read this post on how to mend a broken fingernail. You’ll like it.

So was it ripped, torn or dried out?  If it didn’t show any of those symptoms it still might not be sealing very well.  Here are a few other ways to check how well your refrigerator door gasket is working.

How to Check Your Fridge Door Gasket for Leaks.

  • Run your hand around the perimeter of the door while it’s closed. If you feel any shots of cold, the gasket is leaking.
  • Even better, if you have an infrared thermometer for checking drafts, use that to see if there’s a leak.
  • Close a piece of paper in the door and try to pull it out. If there’s no resistance you need to change your gasket.

O.K., so you’ve determined your refrigerator gasket is in A-Okay condition.  Good job!  Now keep reading because one day it won’t be and you’ll need to replace it.

You should check your refrigerator door gasket once a year if it fails any of the tests, replace it.

How to Replace Your Refrigerator Door Gasket.

Wearing a blue denim shirt, Karen Bertelsen holds out a new door gasket for her True Residential refrigerator.
  1. You’ll need to order the right gasket for your fridge.  They’re all different. The easiest way to do this is to write down the make, model and/or serial number of your refrigerator and call or email your fridge manufacturer.  They’ll have a parts department and they can look up what part you need.  Then you can either order that part from your fridge manufacturer (that’s what I did) or you can buy it online from any number of parts suppliers.
True Residential stacking refrigerator with glass door and pull out drawers about to get a new gasket.

2. Open your fridge door and clean the whole area where the gasket touches the fridge.

Cleaning the edge of a stainless refrigerator where the gasket hits it, contents of the fridge like butter, milk and avocados visible.

You can see the huge TEAR in my fridge gasket. I suspect dripping lemonade was the culprit to making my gasket dry enough that it would tear.

The ripped gasket on a worn refrigerator door seal prior to replacing it.

3. Remove your old gasket.  In some refrigerators the gasket is just pushed into a channel around the door.  That’s how mine was. Other refrigerators might have a few screws holding the gasket into place with a plate.  Just lift your gasket lip and search until you can see screws.  Remove the screws and then pull the gasket out.

Karen Bertelsen gently pulling away an old refrigerator door gasket to replace it with a new one.

You can see the channel that the gasket sticks into below.  Pay attention to how your gasket is positioned in the door and whether or not part of it it slips under any flashing. You’ll be installing your new gasket in the exact same way the old one was in so make note of anything you have to remember.  My gasket was a simple pull it out, push it in.

A good, close up view of the gasket holding channel and old gasket in a refrigerator door.

4. Thoroughly wash the gasket channel and surrounding area.

Blonde woman in denim shirt, thoroughly wiping the channel that holds the door gasket.

5.  Now you just push your new gasket into the channel. This is easier if your gasket is a bit soft so make sure it’s pliable. If it’s in a warm house it should be.  If it isn’t just put it in a sink with warm water for a while before replacing it. This will also help straighten out the gasket if it arrived to you all crinkly and bent.

Pushing a new door gasket into a glass front refrigerator door.

6. Push the gasket into the channel all around the fridge door, paying special attention to the corners.  If you aren’t sure if the gasket is fully inserted all the way around the door, look at it from the side.

Making sure a new refrigerator door gasket is full pushed in around the entire perimeter of the door.

It’s much easier to see where the gasket hasn’t been pushed in properly when you look at it from the side.

Checking the sides of a new refrigerator door gasket to make sure it's pushed in all the way around.

7.  If your door had screws, replace the screws.  Tada. You’re done.

The total time invested in this will be about 10 minutes.  And that’s allowing time for you to stand there nervously looking at the door, a little bit afraid to do the job.

Removing a bowl of cherry tomatoes in a black bowl from a fridge with a brand new gasket just installed.

COST:

The cost of this depends on the type of refrigerator you have but my door gasket was $80 US and that’s pretty typical.

$80 and about 10 minutes doesn’t seem too bad for someone as fancy as you. Someone so refined they don’t want to drink curdled milk.

How to Replace a Fridge Gasket!

How to Replace a Fridge Gasket!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Materials

  • New rubber gasket

Tools

  • Screwdriver (in some cases)

Instructions

  1. Order a new rubber gasket by contacting your fridge manufacturer's parts department. They'll need the model and/or serial number of your fridge which you can usually find inside the door.
  2. When your new gasket arrives if it's crinkly and bent, soak it in warm water to make it pliable and smooth it out.
  3. Remove your old door gasket by pulling it out of the channel it's in. Some gaskets are also held on with screws that you'll find under the lip of the gasket. If that's the case, remove those screws and then pull out the gasket.
  4. Thoroughly clean the surface of the fridge where the gasket hits it and the channel area that your old gasket came out of and your new gasket will go into. Make sure there's no debris.
  5. Starting with a corner, press your new gasket into the channel. Work your way all the way around until it's completely pushed in and secure all the way around. Looking at it from the side makes it easier to see if there are area's that aren't fully secured in the channel.
  6. Close your fridge door, the job is done.

I know some of you didn’t go and check your refrigerator gasket when I told you to, so go do it now by the way.


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39 Comments

  1. Robyn says:

    Hello! Just love that you include the time it takes to stand there, nervous about starting the job. Finally, true time estimates. x

  2. Luanne says:

    I’m curious how many of us went to learn about nail repair?

  3. Heather says:

    I’ve been looking at a torn gasket on my fridge for a couple of weeks. Now, thanks to you, I can fix it. Also, thanks to you, my garden looks like I spent $10,000 fixing it up when all I spent was $100 on 80 bags of mulch (big garden!) and many hours spreading it around. Where would I be without The Art of Doing Stuff? Your “life hacks,” as the kids say, are making my life much easier. And tidier! Thanks! : )

  4. L says:

    Major points for having a glass fridge door. I just purchased a new, slimline fridge. While I am a bit OCD, my fridge tends too look like a bomb went off. Please tell me you store your eggs, cheese, butter, condiments, etc. elsewhere? Then again, maybe I am storing items in the fridge that don’t need to be there. Perhaps a new article idea – ‘Food Storage for the Paranoid.’

    • Karen says:

      The two lower drawers of the fridge are also fridge. I have an entire DRAWER of condiments and sauces, lol. The cheese is in the enamel box on the top shelf of the glass portion and I keep my eggs (fresh from my chickens) on the counter. Unwashed, fresh eggs don’t need to be refrigerated). ~ karen!

      • Leah says:

        I have a serious case of fridge envy. Condiments in drawers so they don’t topple out or go askew every time you open the door. Be still my heart! Aspirational Fridge Goals.

  5. Ron says:

    Another easy way to increase your refrigerator efficiency is to plan ahead by removing frozen items from the freezer a couple of days in advance and let them thaw in the refrigerator before using.

  6. Denise Potter says:

    Just replaced a refrigerator that we’d used for 25 years. Ran fine and did the job. Sometimes it was hard to open the seal was so tight. Then the door starting making this clicking/chunking sound when we opened it and after hubs tried ordering parts and fixing it (with no success in ridding us of the obnoxious click/chunking sound) we got a new one. However, I’m always happy to learn that the seal is important. The service guys who delivered it said we’d never get 25 years out of the new one. They just make them more cheaply. And so it goes …

  7. Christine Hilton says:

    Love the longer hair! It looks very high end…like your frig.

  8. Cottontail Farm says:

    10 minutes to do the gasket job and another 3 hours to make the contents of my refrigerator look as nice and neat and beautiful as yours.

    • Karen says:

      I fully admit to cleaning my fridge before taking these photos. Although, the bottom two drawers are also fridge, so that allows for general neatness in the upper portion thankfully. ~ karen!

  9. Joe says:

    Our fridge is ten years old. Did the air test around the perimeter of the door and all was good. Don’t know if this works but , we lubricate our door seals with a rubber lubricant. Check to see if Vaseline is the right product as it can deteriorate the rubber. Never use Vaseline on “O” rings for an example.

  10. TONI CLORAN says:

    STORING TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE …… NOOOOOOO !!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Toni! I know. That’s what people think, lol. But here’s the deal. If you have the choice between tomatoes going rotten on the counter or keeping them viable by putting them in the fridge, then putting them in the fridge is the right choice. I actually keep meaning to do a post on that. Everyone now thinks you should never put tomatoes in the fridge, but if they’re going to go rotten otherwise, of course you should put them in the fridge. ~ karen!

    • Carol says:

      Ha ha! I noticed that as well…. so I just thought, Oh, maybe I was wrong about the tomatoes! SHE would know better than I 😉

    • Bryonna says:

      Tomatoes in fridge … YESSSSSS
      I bring them out a couple of hours before needed so they’re at room temp and juicy. And I don’t have to bother about fruit flies

  11. Gail Lawlor says:

    I have taught home energy efficiency (all aspects of the home) for over 35 years and I have never heard of replacing fridge gaskets EVERY year. Cleaning and checking it regularly but not replacing it every year. A torn, worn or dried out gasket is a rare occurrence. Washing the gasket regularly keeps the gasket supple and clean. It is super easy to do – while cleaning the counters simply open the fridge and run your damp cloth around the gasket and the fridge surface where the gasket closes to. Easy Peasy, done in a second and your gasket will stick around for the life of the fridge (and do the freezer gasket too). Now the tough part is figuring out what to spend your saved $80 USD on – buy more mulch !! And BTW, was that a fancy plate of avocados in your fridge ???? Big No No to refrigerate avocados (and the tomatoes that Toni mentioned)
    Improve refrigerator efficiency by allowing space between items, an overfilled fridge is less efficient. On the other hand, a freezer works better when full. So if you don’t have enough food in the freezer put in some plastic jugs of water to take up space – when frozen they help the freezer hold its temperature without having to work as hard. Reducing the number of times the fridge and freezer doors are opened makes a difference too.

    • Ella says:

      For those of us who live alone, some things do need to be refrigerated or they spoil before we can eat them. The trick with avocados is to keep unripened ones in the fridge and then take out just one or two to ripen on the counter. The unripened ones will not ripen while in the fridge which gives you time to get through the bag without having any spoil. Less waste! Similarly, if you have too many ripe avocados, put some in the fridge and you’ll get a few extra days to consume them before they go over the edge.

    • Alberta Karen says:

      Wow! That’s a lot of info! Good stuff.

    • Amy says:

      I keep avocados in the fridge, too! I’ll buy 2 dozen at a time when they go on sale, making sure I get unripe ones, stick them in the fridge, then take them out about 2 days before I eat them to let them ripen. It works! I eat an avocado almost every day so this way I don’t have to keep running to the store to get them.

  12. Jenny Durling says:

    what I noticed was avocados on a cake plate! Is this seriously how your fridge normally looks or did you stage it for the photos? There is NO way I could have a glass door fridge. It would be like a glass door hall closet and too embarrassing to look at. LOL! OH, and a tomato can handle up to 3 days in the fridge but more than that and they lose taste. I just can’t make myself put them in the fridge so if they are start to get yucky, the ducks and chickens get a treat.

  13. PMMK says:

    Again, you’ve blessed us with info we never knew we needed. And you have a really nifty fridge too. I like how it lines up with the counter depth instead of usurping all the available kitchen space like a rotund relative trying to help.

    I checked my fridge seals, all three of them, and checked them again. More out of curiosity than obedience. They seem to be holding their own and this contraption, while nowhere near as nice as yours, is still doing the job after nearly 20 years. Lucky thing too because I could only find two of the parts from different suppliers and I would be out over $300 US before shipping, duty and taxes and still be missing the gasket for the main compartment. Most parts for my model are discontinued and the suppliers say there is no replacement part. I probably couldn’t get $50 for this fridge on Kijiji if I wanted to sell it.

    I have a point here. Another lucky-for-me thing is the gaskets on my fridge are white and every bit of dirt or mold shows. I can wipe off anything that shouldn’t be there as soon as I notice. Vinegar is my friend. It’s a good cleanser and, although it is not an antiseptic, its low pH is inhospitable to mold and bacteria.

    Some of the part suppliers advise us to not use petroleum distillates when cleaning first gaskets or on any other fridge parts for that matter yet others suggest putting Vaseline on the gasket to keep it soft. Isn’t Vaseline also called petroleum jelly? I think I will continue to skip that step and just keep it clean.

    Off the check my freezer … or maybe I’ll just fix one of my nails.

  14. PMMK says:

    Again, you’ve blessed us with info we never knew we needed. And you have a really nifty fridge too. I like how it lines up with the counter depth instead of usurping all the available kitchen space like a rotund relative trying to help.

    I checked my fridge door seals, all three of them, and then I checked them again. Honest, I did. More out of curiosity than obedience. They seem to be holding their own and this contraption, while nowhere near as nice as yours, is still doing the job after nearly 20 years. Lucky thing too because I could only find two of the parts, from different suppliers no less, and I would be out over $300 US before shipping, duty and taxes and still be missing the gasket for the main compartment. Most parts for my model are discontinued and the suppliers say there is no replacement part. I could try to McGuyver something out of a universal kit or a storm door seal but I probably couldn’t get $50 for this fridge on Kijiji if I wanted to sell it. Would it even be worth the trouble?

    I have a point here. Another lucky-for-me thing is the gaskets on my fridge are white and every bit of dirt or mold shows. I can wipe off anything that shouldn’t be there as soon as I notice. Vinegar is my friend. It’s a good cleanser and, although it is not an antiseptic, its low pH is inhospitable to mold and bacteria. Keeping spills and other mishaps cleaned up must be paying off. Clean stuff lasts longer.

    Some of the part suppliers advise us to not use petroleum distillates when cleaning the gaskets or on any other fridge parts for that matter yet others suggest putting Vaseline on the gasket to keep it soft. Isn’t Vaseline also called petroleum jelly? I think I will continue to skip that step and just keep the gaskets clean. And periodically check for leaks now that I know how.

    Thanks for this post, Karen. I’ll know what to do if things do go wrong.

    Off to check my freezer … or maybe I’ll just fix one of my nails.

    Actively avoiding more pressing but less interesting tasks.

  15. Audrey says:

    Did I really see tomatoes in your fridge?

    • Karen says:

      I knew people were going to lose their minds over that, lol. Like I told another commenter, when given the choice of having your tomatoes go rotten sitting on the counter, or keeping them fresh(ish) in the fridge, the right choice is to refrigerate them. 🙂 I had so many of them there was no way I was going to be able to eat them all before they rotted on me. So into the fridge they went. ~ karen!

  16. Kara says:

    Where did you find your sleek milk and cream holders?

  17. Annette says:

    I should probably be asking a question about the gasket repair, but I’m really just interested in your denim shirt. What brand is it and where did you find it?

  18. Megan says:

    What kind of fridge do you own? I’ve never seen one like that and I love it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Megan. It’s a True Professional Series (for the home). But really what I should have said was, it’s an expensive fridge. Pretty much my whole kitchen renovation budget went towards it. I’ve wanted a glass door fridge since I was little. ~ karen!

  19. Marna says:

    My fridge is on it’s last legs, 28 years old GE, so won’t bother to replace the gasket again, only did it once because it tore in a spot. I would love one like yours! I am looking around now.

  20. MartiJ says:

    K, I bought my first home in December, so I can finally read your blog with more cred, right?
    As it turns out, I have been thinking that I needed to clean and wipe down the fridge door gasket because the previous owners appear to have “home maintenance skills” that consisted of “close front door before going to bed because… URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD.”

    True. I swear.

    So here’s my Q: the house is under warranty. I want anything possible to break down in the first year, so that the warranty will replace it. I might have to extend to the second year. Since I have such lofty goals for my home/appliances, could you tell me a) how much this gasket cost and b) what kind of knuckleheads don’t know to close the new windows all the way in the dead of winter? (This last may be a trick question based on their demographic.) Very excited to spot all the great homeowner advice now that I am.. you know. .. a home OWNER. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Congratulations! That’s exciting. You’re settling down just like a grown up! Any room for tomatoes in the front or backyard? O.K., the gasket was about $100. I can’t remember exactly. You only need to replace yours if it’s torn or brittle or not working though. So you might be fine to leave it. Maybe leaving the windows open was their way of allowing dust to escape the house. Sort of a passive aggressive cleaning plan. ~ karen!

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